It’s not easy to have a conversation with your senior loved one, especially if they have been involved in frequent accidents that required expensive auto body repair. They might be getting lost more often.
It doesn’t matter what the situation is, it can be difficult to talk about your loved one’s driving skills. Many people consider driving a sign of independence. It can be hard for them to let go of that freedom after so many years. Medicare states that even though drivers may drive slowly and use their seatbelts, the chance of being killed in a collision increases with age.
As they age, the elderly are especially vulnerable to injuries that result from collisions. Add to that medical conditions like arthritis and dementia, as well as medication use, the chances of an accident increase even further.
When is it appropriate to have a “conversation”?
Are you noticing a decline in the driving skills of your loved one? If they are:
- Recent car accident and your vehicle required auto repair
- Close call
- They have run a stop sign or red light
- Received a driving violation ticket
- Are they starting to drive slower or faster?
- Are they experiencing memory loss?
- Are they taking medication that can impair their driving such as anti-anxiety drugs or narcotics?
- Are they having trouble seeing or hearing?
A medical condition such as arthritis or Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, muscular degeneration, or sleep apnea.
Sometimes, it is possible to feel that the time is right to have a conversation with your aging parent if you are not comfortable being their passenger. This can be very intimidating for an adult child who is trying to talk to their aging parent. These helpful tips can help make it easier.
Decide who will initiate the conversation
It is important to choose the right person to start the conversation. Research shows that married drivers prefer to talk with their spouses first when it comes to driving concerns. These concerns are more easily discussed with a spouse, their adult children, or a close friend who lives alone.
Avoid awkward situations by not having an intervention with the entire family. They will be on the defensive. Choose a time that they feel most relaxed. Perhaps after lunch, when they have had a great meal. But before the sun sets in the afternoon.
Give them Reasons
You should be prepared to give reasons why they shouldn’t drive anymore. You can cite recent medical conditions, new medications, and sleep problems to explain why driving is difficult.
Be supportive and don’t make them feel criticized or lectured. Tell them that you care about their safety as well as the safety of others.
Other options available
You can offer suggestions to help them keep up with their daily life. You, a sibling or close friend, or a combination thereof, can help them get to and from appointments, coffee with their friends, or church services. To ensure that there are no gaps, you should create a schedule.
You might consider this:
- Avoid driving at night or in bad weather
- Only drive in familiar areas, maybe within a few miles of their home
- Avoid highways and busy main roads
- Limiting distractions
- Request a Driving Test
Everybody must pass a driver’s exam when they turn 16 years old. Why not at 70? It’s logical. To reaffirm your skills, you might suggest that they take a driver’s test. In some states, drivers over 75 years old must pass a road test in order to renew their license. If you do not live in one of these states, then sign your driver up for a skills assessment by a driving instructor. Or an occupational therapist will assess their abilities. This will allow you to establish a baseline and identify possible causes of your driving ability declining.
Regardless of our age, there will be accidents. Call Miller Brothers Transmission Auto Repair and Body Shop if you need auto body repairs.
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