For most of us, driving offers independence, and no matter the age, a loss of this privilege can be devastating. However, this is a necessary decision when a loved one’s driving poses a risk for themselves and others on the road. Age alone should not determine driving capabilities, but consideration must be given for health conditions that may affect decision-making, reaction time, memory, sight and hearing abilities, and any other skills needed for driving. The safety of your loved one and others on the road is at stake.
While making this decision is difficult, communicating this to your loved one can be even more unpleasant. The loss of driving capabilities can be a traumatic experience for some, causing depression, a loss of independence, and a reliance on others. This can be a big adjustment. You want your loved one to be on board, but you may worry that having this discussion will do anything but that. It’s normal to hesitate and avoid having this talk, but doing so can be disastrous. Here at Deano’s Senior Transit, we have tips to help you communicate your concerns effectively and assist your loved one during this transition.
Talk About It Early
Since this change can be dramatic, talking about it with them when the warning signs are mild will ease into this adjustment. They will not feel blindsided after continued discussions about health issues and the coming day when they should give up driving. With the onset of warning signs, start talking with them immediately. This will allow both of you to ease into the process by discussing it frequently and making minor changes along the way. For example, a recent diagnosis may limit some of their driving abilities; therefore, asking them to agree not to drive at night or during inclement weather is a small step in the right direction. This also allows them to get used to the limitations before operating capabilities are eliminated.
Don’t Negotiate with Their Safety
If, however, you’ve reached the point where your loved one’s driving is jeopardizing the safety of themselves and others, then you have to be stern. This may make you feel like the bad guy. It might even feel like you are betraying them, but you are protecting them. Taking on the responsibility for their anger today is more manageable than feeling responsible for an accident later.
Discuss the Risks
Your loved one most likely knows the risks, but they do not want to think about them. Discussing the risks forces them to do so. They must understand how an accident could physically, mentally, monetarily, and even morally affect them if someone else were severely injured or killed.
Be sure to emphasize that this is not solely about them; their family and loved ones would be affected if they were hurt. And if they injure another person, their family and loved ones are impacted. This decision is not just about what your loved one wants; the consequences of an accident are extensive.
Allow Them to Take the Test
The decision to take away your loved one’s driving capabilities is not always black and white; it genuinely can be challenging to know whether it is the right time. If you are in doubt, or if your loved one insists they are OK to drive and needs some convincing from someone other than yourself, take them to the DMV. They can handle both driving and vision tests, and the decision will be out of your hands. Your loved one will have to accept the results, but so will you. They may pass the tests, and even if you witness them making dangerous driving mistakes, this can lead to an even more difficult discussion between you and your loved one.
Come Up with Alternatives
A more straightforward approach may be providing alternative transportation options for your loved one. For some, this may mean you and other family members will have to pick up the slack and offer rides for them. However, allowing them to maintain their independence does not have to be sacrificed for them or their family.
Why Deano’s Senior Transit?
At Deano’s Senior Transit, we have made it our mission to deliver first-class service to our senior clients. We understand that getting your loved one to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, or other events can be challenging. That’s where we come in. Our number one priority is keeping seniors safe and comfortable during transportation with on-time arrival and short wait time for returns. Our experienced, courteous drivers can transport your loved one in a clean, cared-for vehicle. Learn about our program and payment options, and contact us to request your ride today.