We’re a very mobile society, and being able to pick up and go whenever and wherever we’d like is one of the greatest freedoms we enjoy as adults. However, as we grow older, driving often becomes unsafe for a variety of reasons, and the time ultimately arises when the difficult conversation must be held to recommend giving up the car keys. Needless to say, many older adults are reluctant to relinquish driving and the independence it represents.
- Step 1: Be Proactive. Begin the conversation well in advance of any driving concerns, to plant the seed that a decision will need to be made at some point down the road about how and when to give up the car keys. At this stage, you can receive input from the senior about the warning signs he or she believes should trigger the need to stop driving. It can be helpful to take notes on the conversation to save and pull out again when the need arises.
- Step 2: Watch for Changes. If you begin to notice your senior loved one becoming overly cautious, seeming to become distracted or confused, or experiencing delayed reaction times in driving, or any other concerns, it’s a good time to review the conversation you had with the person earlier to bring the issue back to the surface. A senior driving refresher course is often helpful at this stage.
- Step 3: Concerns Increase. As driving concerns begin to intensify, a visit with the physician is warranted to get his or her input on the senior’s need to give up driving. It may be that there’s a physical problem that can be corrected, such as with the senior’s vision, enabling the senior to safely continue to drive.
- Step 4: It’s Time. When a senior’s mental, physical, or visual health, and/or reaction time are compromised, it becomes a matter of life and death. For the senior’s safety as well as that of other drivers and pedestrians, it’s essential to move forward with the plan for the senior to stop driving.
- Step 5: Enable Independence. Typically, seniors feel quite a sense of grief when they’re no longer able to drive, and it will be important to have a plan in place to enable them to maintain as much freedom as possible.
At Live Free Home Health Care, our expert New Hampton, NH senior care professionals help older adults with maintaining independence by providing safe, reliable transportation and accompaniment according to each person’s preferred schedule. If the senior has a standing hair appointment every Wednesday afternoon, lunch at the corner café every Friday, and a garden club meeting on Saturday mornings, all of these activities can seamlessly continue, regardless of his or her ability to drive. Contact us at 603-217-0149 to learn more about our premier New Hampton, NH senior care solutions to maximize independence, safety and quality of life for your senior loved one.