5 Tips for Discussing Unsafe Driving with an Aging Adult

5 Ways to Discuss Unsafe Driving with an Elderly Relative

By 8  am On

Taking privileges away from your senior parent is never something you want to do. In fact, bringing up your loved one’s driving might make you feel like you’re overstepping your boundaries. The truth is you need to bring up anything your loved one does that seems unsafe, and many seniors eventually reach the point where they need to hand over their car keys. You’ll feel better about having this discussion when you use these strategies to approach the subject with your parent.

1. Know When to Intervene

The ideal time to intervene is when a senior is starting to face challenges with driving but hasn’t had a serious accident. You might need to intervene if your loved one has recently had several minor fender benders, even if it’s just hitting the home’s garage or a nearby mailbox. 

Getting frequent traffic tickets is another warning sign. Seniors who get lost or suddenly seem confused about their surroundings might also need to stop driving. Taking note of why you think your parent’s driving is unsafe can give you confidence as you bring up the topic.

If your loved one is getting confused or forgetting important details with increasing frequency, these may be early signs of a cognitive issue such as dementia. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Columbia families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions 

Seniors can quickly get defensive when they think they’re being accused of being bad drivers. Asking open-ended questions ensures you don’t come across as accusing your loved one of anything. For example, you can ask your loved one if heavy traffic makes him or her nervous, or you might ask how he or she feels about driving at night. These questions can help you gauge your parent’s potential response.

3. Attribute Your Concern to a Health Condition

Seniors often experience rapid changes in their driving abilities after their health changes. You can ask your loved one how his or her recent vision exam went. If your parent mentions needing new hearing aids, you might ask if he or she can hear well while driving. Some seniors are sensitive about their driving skills, but citing a health condition as the primary reason for your concern removes blame from your parent.

Driving may not be the only safety concern you have about your parent, so you may find extra peace of mind by hiring a professional caregiver. Families looking for top-rated at-home care providers can reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

4. Suggest a Driving Assessment

If your parent refuses to admit he or she can no longer drive safely, encourage working with a neutral party to assess your loved one’s skills. Some seniors will consent to driving assessments out of the desire to prove they’re still safe drivers or due to secret concerns their loved ones might be right. A professional assessment is much like a driving exam, and your parent can get immediate feedback about his or her ability to keep driving.

5. Provide a List of Transportation Alternatives 

You’ll want to act quickly if your loved one accepts the need for transportation assistance. This can prevent your loved one from changing his or her mind or having a dangerous accident. Create a list of options you can share with your loved one. Planning for transportation alternatives as soon as possible helps your parent increase his or her safety and continue to get where he or she wants to go each day.

Even if your loved one has to give up driving, he or she can still enjoy a high level of independence. Columbia home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Reach out to us at Assisting Hands Home Care if you need compassionate professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 443-233-1245 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.