One of the most challenging conversations you can have with an aging parent is when the time comes to take away their car keys. Eventually, everyone loses physical or cognitive function, to the point where they are no longer safe behind the wheel. If your parents should no longer drive, then it is your responsibility to step in. Not only is their safety at stake, but they could be putting others in danger as well.
What to Do When Parents Should No Longer Drive
If you need to address this topic with a parent, then it is important to be delicate about your approach. Here are a few tips to help:
- Ease into It: Instead of springing the conversation on your parent unexpectedly, start talking about this topic when the signs are mild. For example, you might point out small issues you’ve noticed in their driving or discuss how a recent diagnosis could impact their safety behind the wheel. This dialogue can set the stage for the time in the future when a boundary needs to be drawn.
- Take the Test: If the time to renew their license is drawing near, allow them to take the DMV test. Failing the vision test or driving test will eliminate your decision because the state regulations will decide the results.
- Talk About Options: Handing over the keys doesn’t mean the person needs to be homebound. Provide alternative suggestions, such as the local bus system, rideshare options, grocery delivery, Uber, or loved ones who are willing to donate driving time.
- Discuss Risks: Help the person understand the potential consequences if an accident occurs while they are on the road. A wreck can affect them physically, financially, and mentally, which could have a domino effect on other areas of life. Additionally, talk about the potential danger to other people.
- Hold the Line: Sometimes, you need to be firm in the decision. Keep in mind that this decision isn’t a negotiation. Even though they will be angry today, you will be grateful for their safety in the future.
Your aging parents should have the necessary resources to support a healthy, safe lifestyle. If you are looking for local resources, then our team at Windward Life Care is here to help. Contact us to learn about available services.