We’re a society that’s always on the go, and being able to get out wherever and whenever on a whim is one of the most pleasurable liberties we enjoy as adults. However, as we grow older, driving commonly becomes risky for a number of reasons, and the time inevitably presents itself when the daunting conversation must be held to encourage a senior to give up the car keys. Not surprisingly, many seniors are unwilling to give up driving and the self-reliance it represents.
- Step 1: Think Ahead. Get started with the conversation well in advance of any driving issues, to plant the seed that a decision will need to be made at some time down the road about when and how to give up the keys. In this stage, you can receive input from the older person about the warning indicators he or she thinks should signal the need to stop driving. It is worthwhile to take notes on the conversation to save and pull out again when the need develops.
- Step 2: Keep an Eye Out for Changes. When you begin to notice your senior loved one becoming overly cautious, seeming to be distracted or confused, experiencing delayed response times in driving, or any similar problems, it’s an appropriate time to pick back up the conversation you had with the older adult previously to bring the issue back to the surface. A senior driving refresher course is often helpful in this stage.
- Step 3: Increased Concerns. As driving problems begin to intensify, a visit with the doctor is justified to get his or her insight on the person’s need to give up driving. It could be that the older adult has a physical problem that can be corrected, such as with the senior’s vision, which might allow the senior to safely continue to drive.
- Step 4: It’s Time. When a senior’s physical, mental, or visual health, and/or reaction time are compromised, it becomes a matter of life and death. For the senior’s safety as well as that of other drivers and pedestrians, it is vital to move ahead with the strategy for the senior to give up driving.
- Step 5: Enable Independence. Usually, older adults feel quite a sense of loss when they’re no longer able to drive, and it will be essential to have a plan in place to make it possible for them to maintain as much freedom as possible.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, our St. Louis home care team helps seniors continue to be independent by supplying safe, dependable escorted transportation per each individual’s desired schedule. If the senior has a regular hair appointment every Wednesday morning, lunch at the corner café every Friday, and a book club meeting on Saturdays, all of these activities can seamlessly continue, regardless of his or her ability to drive. Contact us at 314-432-4312 to learn more about our professional St. Louis home care services to enhance independence, safety and quality of life for your senior loved one.