Mom and Dad want life to be the way it's always been. The seniors you love want to age in place and this may include continuing to drive to doctors' appointments, get groceries, pick up prescriptions, attend social and spiritual events, get and return library books, go to barbers and beauty salons, etc. The last thing you and your seniors want is for them to be immobilized or isolated from the world.
At the same time, no one wants a car accident. Loss of acuity in hearing and vision, quick decision-making, and slower reflexes may make driving unsafe for a person in advanced years.
Caregivers and seniors may be in a state of denial about this. For adult children of aged parents, it is difficult to imagine Mom or Dad reaching a helpless state. A parent has always been the strong one, the mainstay, the adult who took care of life's responsibilities. The seniors themselves find it hard to admit that their faculties simply are not what they used to be. The senior may want the privilege and freedom of driving and feel a strong need for it. They may deny or hide evidence that it is time to surrender the road to others.
The Warning Signs
Here are 12 warning signs showing it may be time to talk with a senior about working toward alternatives to driving. If many of these signs are true of your senior, it may be time to corral Mom's or Dad's car keys before tragedy occurs.
Every individual is different and, just as people age differently and die at different ages, no one can predict the exact date that a senior should surrender his or her car keys. Understanding your own and your senior's possible denial of a developing handicap or situation is a first step. Keeping the 12 warning signs in mind will also help determine whether or not Mom or Dad should still be on the road.
Tips for Caregivers: When Driving Should Stop. June 1, 2002. National Institute on Aging. Available online at https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/features/tips-caregivers-when-driving-should-stop
When It's Time for Older Drivers to Give Up the Car Keys. Consumer Reports. August 30, 2012. Available online at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/08/when-it-s-time-for-older-drivers-to-give-up-the-car-keys/index.htm.