We are a mobile society. The ability to get out at any time, to any place on a whim is one of the most satisfying freedoms we delight in as adults. However, as we age, driving commonly becomes unsafe for a variety of causes, and the time inevitably emerges when a conversation must be has regarding an older adult giving up the car keys. Needless to say, many older adults are unwilling to relinquish driving and the self-reliance it signifies.
- Step 1: Be Proactive. Get started with the dialogue in advance of any driving problems, to plant the seed that a plan will need to be made at some time down the road about when and how the older adult will need to give up the keys. At this stage, you can get input from the older person about the warning flags he or she thinks should indicate the need to stop driving. It is advantageous to take notes on the discussion to save and take out again when the need arises.
- Step 2: Watch Out for Changes. As you begin to notice your elderly loved one growing overly cautious, seeming to become distracted or confused, or experiencing delayed response time in driving, or any other concerns, it’s the right time to review the conversation you had with the person previously to bring the issue back to the surface. A driving refresher course for older adults is often helpful at this stage.
- Step 3: Concerns Increase. As driving difficulties begin to intensify, a visit with the doctor is needed to get his or her advice on the person’s need to give up driving. It might be that the older adult is experiencing a physical problem that can be dealt with, such as with his or her vision, which might allow the elder to safely continue to drive.
- Step 4: It’s Time. When an older adult’s mental, physical, visual health, and/or reaction time are affected, it becomes a matter of life and death. For the older adult’s safety as well as that of other drivers and pedestrians, it is crucial to move forward with the strategy for the senior to give up driving.
- Step 5: Foster Independence. Generally, older adults feel quite a sense of loss when they’re no longer able to drive, and it will be important to have a plan in place to permit them to keep as much independence as possible.
At Absolute Companion Care, our professional caregivers help older adults continue to be independent by supplying safe, dependable transportation and accompaniment according to each individual’s preferred schedule. If the individual has a standing hair appointment every Thursday morning, lunch at the corner restaurant every Friday, and a painting class on Saturday mornings, all of these activities can seamlessly continue, regardless of his or her ability to drive. Contact us at 410-357-9640 to learn more about our home care services in Towson and the surrounding areas that are designed to enhance independence, safety and quality of life for your elder loved one.