Discussing Giving Up Driving With Seniors


Posted by: Andrea Fanz on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

The rate involving drivers over 75 is about the same as teenage drivers. Seniors have a higher risk of being involved in an accident for every mile they drive.

For most Seniors or Elderly individuals, giving up driving means a tremendous loss of independence and freedom. To a person losing their health, it’s a time where we are adding yet more restrictions and limitations on them.

For some, giving up driving can be one of the most difficult things to come to terms with. Especially when your loved one experiences a disease such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, where the signs that it’s time to give up driving may occur slowly and intermittently.

The time to begin to discuss the issue of driving is as early as possible. Start discussions when you begin to notice things such as Hitting curbs when turning, Forgetting where one is going, Getting in accidents or “fender benders”, Missing exists or turns, Changing lanes without signaling, Moving among lanes without fully scoping out surrounding traffic, Going through stop signs without stopping or forgetting directions to a commonly-known place.
Some tips for discussing the topic with a loved one that is approaching the time that driving is not safe:

  1. Be prepared to have multiple conversations. Ongoing and candid conversations are recommended in order to establish a pattern of open dialogue.
  2. Always display patience and understanding. Keep their perspective in mind at all times. It is more effective to begin by talking about the importance of safety and health, the dangers of certain road conditions, etc.
  3. Involve them in the decision. Try – first and foremost – to not make the decision for them.  It may come to a point where you have to take charge; when you have to hide the keys and move the car to another location. Offer alternatives. Giving up driving will not nearly be as difficult if there is an appealing alternative. For example, perhaps family members could take turns of fatalities
  4. weekly driving a relative somewhere they wish to go or need to go.

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