How to Talk to Your Aging Loved One About Driving
As teenagers, most people dream about the day that they can get their driver's license. This day represents a big step towards freedom and adulthood. For elderly individuals, keeping their driver's license is a representation of their freedom and autonomy. Although, safety should always be a concern when it comes to elderly loved ones and driving.
Is my loved one safe while driving?
If you find yourself thinking about the question above, think about your loved one's driving history. Have they recently been in a car accident or had a "close call?" Have they received any traffic violations recently such as a ticket, running a red light, or have issues following the speed limit?
Other factors to think about include their medications, vision, and hearing. Some medications require that an individual does not drive while taking them. Their vision and hearing screenings should be up to date before they get behind the wheel. Lastly, think about any existing conditions such as Alzheimer's or diabetes that may put them in danger while driving.
How do I start the Conversation?
Starting the conversation with a loved one about giving up their driver's license is not easy. It is important to think about who is the best person to have this conversation with your loved one. That person maybe you, but be open to the fact that this news may come better from someone else.
Additionally, it is important to think about when you (or the person who has been chosen to have the conversation) are going to bring this up to your loved one. This should not be an entire family conversation and should be when your loved one feels comfortable and relaxed. Remember to keep a calm demeanor and do not use an accusatory tone.
Be Prepared with Evidence
While it is important not to accuse a loved one of bad driving, it is also important to have evidence to back up your claim. Try using questions instead of making statements about your loved one's driving. Some questions to use may include "What changes have you noticed with your driving?" or "Have you visited the eye doctor recently? What were the results of that test?". This is a great way to get this difficult conversation started.