Age alone is never reason enough to take away a person’s freedom to drive. As people get older, though, they develop a greater risk for mental and physical illnesses that could have a negative effect on their ability to operate a vehicle. If you know a loved one whose driving performance has declined, it may be time to talk to them about giving up the car keys. Here are a few things to consider before having that conversation:
A Life-Changing Decision
Losing the ability to drive and the freedom that comes with it can be a traumatic experience. It means you can no longer go to church, to medical appointments, to the store, or to any other place spontaneously. Understandably, this can be a difficult thing for aging loved ones to accept.
Having a candid discussion with them about why you are concerned for their safety — and giving them a voice in the conversation — may help make the decision to give up the keys a little bit easier.
Your Loved One’s Doctor is a Resource — and a Respected External Opinion
Also, if your loved one holds a certain doctor in high regard, consider talking to them about addressing the issue during their next scheduled appointment. Sometimes, just hearing it from another person they trust outside the family is enough. Also, the doctor may agree to complete a medical status report for you that you can take to your State Department of Motor Vehicles. This may lead them to request further testing of your loved one to determine whether they can drive safely.
Remember That There Are Alternatives
Of course, family can help with transportation when they have time. They are generally the first option for a senior who can no longer drive themselves, although not the only one.
Public and Community Transportation
Public transportation like taxi cabs and buses, ride share programs, paratransit services, and hitching a ride with a friend are all viable alternatives to driving. If your loved one lives in a more rural setting where public transportation opportunities do not exist, options for travel are often limited to whatever family and friends can provide.
Scheduled Transportation at Assisted Living Communities
Of course, if your loved one is already dealing with health-related issues that are preventing them from driving, there is a good chance that those same issues could be causing challenges in other areas of their life as well. All of our assisted living communities at Primrose include free, scheduled transportation for residents who cannot drive while also providing them with a customized plan of care that addresses their unique health needs.
If you have additional questions, we would be honored to assist you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more information.