How to Talk to a Parent About Quitting Driving
One of the hardest things that many family caregivers to elderly parents have to do is talk to them about giving up driving. Yet, for many older adults, there comes a time when medical conditions make it unsafe for them to drive. For example, debilitating arthritis might make it hard for them to react quickly to step on the brakes or turn the steering wheel. Or, vision problems may make reading signs or seeing potential hazards a problem. Regardless of the condition that makes driving unsafe, talking to a parent about driving can be so difficult that some family caregivers put it off. If you know you need to discuss quitting driving with your parent and aren’t sure how to go about it, having a home care services provider on hand can help. These suggestions below may also help.
If Possible, Start Talking Early
When a parent has a progressive condition and isn’t quite at the point where they must give up their keys, it can be helpful to begin the conversation early before they put themselves or others in danger. This way, you can talk about it a little at a time. Talk to your parent about symptoms that will indicate the time to stop driving is near.
Adult children who are caregivers to their aging parents sometimes feel like their roles have reversed. However, that doesn’t mean you should speak to your parent like a child. Be respectful and listen when they talk. Resist the urge to make generalizations about senior drivers.
Observe Your Parent’s Driving
If you haven’t ridden with your parent in a while, it may be helpful to take a ride with them. Make note of their skills. Do they drive within the speed limit—neither too fast nor too slow? Are they able to react quickly in traffic? Do they seem confused or lost? Watch for any signs that their driving is unsafe. Then, when you are alone, make a list of the issues. When you speak to your parent, use the list to speak factually.
Offer a Transportation Alternative
One of your parent’s biggest worries about giving up driving may be a loss of independence. You can help to quell this fear by reassuring them that they will not be stuck in the house or have to rely on friends and family for rides. One way to do this is by hiring elder care. Home care providers can come to the house on a regular schedule that works for your parent. While there they can drive your parent where they need to go. So, for example, if your parent always does the grocery shopping on Mondays, a home care provider can visit on Mondays and go grocery shopping with them.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Scottsdale, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Home Care Resources at (602) 443-4700
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