Slowly revoking your loved ones independence is a trialing, emotional task. One of the hardest facets of maintaining their safety while decreasing their independence revolves around the driving question: “When is it no longer safe for my parent to drive?”. Some questions you may not have answers for on this topic include: When is it no longer safe for them to drive? How do I approach the conversation? How do I ensure they remain calm and listen to my worries about their safety? How do I prevent offending them? We have many years of experience on this topic, and we are here to help!
If you believe their motor skills are beginning to decline, start allowing them to drive when you run errands with them. This will allow you to fully observe their driving skills and make a more informed decision as to when the discussion should take place. This will also prevent your loved one from getting as aggravated that you ‘do not know what you are talking about.’ After a few test runs, after the observances have been made and you have decided they are no longer fit to drive, how do you bring up the conversation?
1.) Prepare yourself for the conversation by preparing your mood; remember to stay calm, loving and caring throughout the discussion. Do not raise your voice or attempt to not argue when the conversation gets tough.
2.) Schedule the conversation in advance, in a neutral place, such as a coffee shop. This will help your loved one to be prepared so that they are not caught off guard.
3.) Start the conversation by explaining how dearly you love them, that you are only looking out for their safety, that you understand how important their independence is and that you are only attempting to help maintain their independence by preventing unnecessary injuries via car crashes.
4.) Present them a game plan for how they will be able to transport themselves from point A to point B without their own vehicle. Look into the options Uber provides, check to see if any driving services are available for seniors in your area. Speak with your family members about when they are free and available to help your loved one.
5.) Assure your loved one that they will not become socially isolated at home without their vehicle. Schedule weekly dinners with friends, family and neighbors so that they continue to have engagements to look forward to.
6.) Remember to stay calm and loving throughout the conversation. Put yourself in their shoes by understanding how difficult this conversation must be for them.
These talks will certainly be difficult, preparation is key. Preparation will ensure the conversation goes smoothly, feelings are not hurt, and success is achieved by the end of the difficult talk.