Driving gets to be a problem because there’s so much wrapped up in it for aging family members and even for caregivers. Your senior sees her ability to drive as something that reflects her own independence and being told she can’t drive can be a difficult fact to digest. Here are some things you can do.
Set up an Appointment with Her Doctor
Your senior’s doctor can help both of you to understand exactly how her health affects her ability to drive. Your elderly family member may not be as close to hanging up her keys as either of you might worry. Having the information, you need from her doctor helps you to face the situation head on.
Consider a Driving Evaluation
Evaluations from a professional allow you and your elderly family member to see exactly how her skills are doing right now. A driving evaluator has no skin in the game, so there’s no subjectivity going on. Your senior might worry that you’re trying to keep her from driving just to have control, but a driving evaluator doesn’t work that way. You’re going to get an honest answer.
Have Some Conversations with Friends and Family
It might be a good idea to talk to friends and family about what they’ve seen, too. They could have observed some things about your senior’s driving and maybe weren’t sure whether they should mention it or not. If you ask them, they may be able to share with you something that you haven’t seen yourself.
Keep the Car in Good Working Order
Regardless of how this conversation plays out ultimately, it’s urgent that your senior is as safe as possible. That means that maintaining the car is a high priority task. Make sure that any regular maintenance is handled and talk to your senior about filling the car up for her along with other tasks. This gives you a chance to keep an eye on the car itself, both mechanically and physically. If you’re noticing new dings and scratches often, that might point to problems.
Make Sure She’s Got Other Transportation Options
It’s also important that if your senior decides on a specific day that she doesn’t feel like driving that day, she needs other options. Her life doesn’t just stop because she’s not driving. Having home care providers to rely on when driving doesn’t feel safe for her can be the key to having her accept that driving might not be the safest idea right now. This lets her know it’s okay to rely on someone else.
You want to keep these conversations open and honest, but also loving and compassionate. This is not easy for your family member at all because it’s a big change she’s facing.
Excerpt: Driving is a big concern, both for you and for your senior.
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