As we grow up, our parents are there for us. They teach us the things we need to live independently and we look to them for help and guidance. This includes learning how to drive. But as the years go by, this role reverses and our parents may begin to rely more on us for help and guidance as their health and physical capabilities begin to decline. Sometimes, however, one or both parents may be unwilling to listen to concerns and advice of loved ones.
One particular subject that tends to be sensitive to many families is when it is time for a loved one to stop driving. Knowing how to stop an elderly parent from driving can be tough. Though it may be important for the aging senior to quit driving due to safety concerns, this will likely be met with a lot of resistance, as there is a certain amount of independence associated with being able to drive.
Here are some helpful hints for approaching the issue:
How to Tell a Loved One it may be Time to Stop Driving
1. Plan Ahead – There are reasons that it is no longer safe for this person to drive. Make a list of those reasons and be willing to have an open discussion about them. Also, work with them to develop a plan for transportation. They will need reassurance that they will still be able to get to the places they need to go such as the doctor’s office and grocery store.
2. Expect Objections – There will likely be a lot of objections so be prepared. First and foremost, listen. Let your loved one get the objections out and then respond thoughtfully and with respect to his/her wishes. Don’t just dictate orders, but work with them to make a plan.
3. Be Considerate – Keep in mind that your parents has been driving most of his/her life. The transition may not be easy for them. When approaching this topic be kind and sensitive to his/her feelings. No one likes to be ordered around and told what they can and cannot do. Find a way to include them in the decision so they do not feel that their independence is being completely taken away. Communicate your concerns for them and the others around them. This is not to take away, but better for everyone.
Transportation Options for Seniors
Most home care agencies offer transportation and help with errands, and most senior communities have scheduled transportation & private rides available. There are some free local senior transportation services in areas. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to find out about your options. And don’t forget Uber & Lyft. Just add the App to your parent’s phone for rides any time at their fingertips!
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