Driving demands quick reaction time and fast decision making. Understanding how aging can affect driving is important. As your aging parents, or other loved ones grow older, eventually they will become unable to drive. Starting a conversation about this, and planning ahead helps to ensure the safety of your loved ones on the road. Learning more about how to recognize and discuss changes in your older loved one’s driving will help ease the transition when its time for them to stop driving. Determining when your aging loved one can no longer safely drive requires careful observation by family members and caregivers. Forgetting how to locate familiar places, Failing to observe traffic signs, making slow or poor decisions in traffic, are all signs to be aware of. Although family and caregivers can watch for signs of unsafe driving, a proactive strategy would be to plan ahead, and start the supportive conversation about driving concerns early. If you think you need to have a conversation with an older driver about his or her driving abilities, remember that many older drivers look at driving as a form of independence. Losing the independence driving provides can be upsetting. It is important to acknowledge a persons feelings and preserve his or her independence while insuring the persons safety and the safety of others. It is never too soon to plan ahead, and help guide them toward transportation options that meet their mobility needs.
- Involve family and close friends in the plan
- Empathize with those who are uncomfortable having the conversation and stress the importance of preparing for the future.
- Plan for your aging loved one to have a periodic driving assessment
- Have a GPS monitoring system for the car
- Reduce the need to drive by having prescription medication, groceries, or meals delivered.
- Transition driving responsibilities to other. Arrange for family members and friends to help with transportation
- Arrange Taxi, Uber, Lyft, or other transportation services
The “car key conversation” is the one that family caregivers dread most. Some people give up driving easily, but for others this transition can be very difficult. Each situation is unique. Consider that a number of older people, when asked, would listen more to their family physician, or other professional than their family. Get the support you need with the assistance of an an Aging Life Care Manager. Because an Aging Life Care Manager has years of experience and training, they know elder care and how to handle challenging behaviors. A Life Care Manager provides support not only to your aging loved one, but to all involved. This gets everyone on the same page, leading to a better care experience.
Aging Life Care Professionals have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of resources in their communities. Aging Life Care Professionals are members of the Aging Life Care Association® (ALCA) who have met stringent education, experience, and certification requirements of the organization, and all members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. To learn more give us a call 504-828-0900.