5 Tips for Talking to Your Loved One About Stopping Driving
Talking with your senior loved one about no longer driving is never an easy thing. Even if your loved one realizes it’s time for them to stop getting behind the wheel, there is so much cultural significance tied up with being able to drive that they may resist.
Whether you’re looking at needing to take the keys due to poor eyesight, frequently getting lost, or a medical condition that causes them to drive dangerously, it’s important to realize that no conversation where you take the car keys is going to be a quick or easy one.
To help make this conversation a little easier for everyone involved, here are 5 tips:
Gather Outside Evidence
Sometimes, your loved one may not feel as if those little “accidents” are that big of a deal or a reason for them to stop driving.
However, as an outside observer, you may feel differently.
If your loved one has had accidents, gotten lost, or is otherwise engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, keep a list of any recorded incidents. You may also want to take a drive with your loved one to observe how they operate behind the wheel, making mental notes of any times they put themselves or others in danger during your trip.
While evidence alone isn’t likely to fully change a stubborn senior’s mind, having a list of problems in front of them may make it a little easier to convince them of the necessity of the transportation change.
Have Alternatives Readily Available
Driving means independence and the ability to go wherever you want without having to rely on others. No longer having the car keys means your loved one has to rely on family, friends, and public transportation to get groceries, go to doctor appointments, and meet up with friends.
Before you broach the topic of your loved one stopping driving, work with local family and friends to come up with an alternative transportation plan for them.
This may mean creating a schedule of days and times when each person is “on call” to transport the senior, or purchasing a public transportation pass. You may even want to look into setting up a rideshare account for your loved one and showing them how to use the app so they can get rides when someone isn’t available.
Giving up driving isn’t easy, even when the senior knows its a necessary step. Your loved one may get angry and defensive when you have this conversation. Resist turning it into an argument.
Instead, sit down where it’s quiet and there are no distractions. Allow your loved one to express their feelings, and acknowledge that this conversation and this decision is a difficult one for them.
Reiterate your concern for their safety if they continue driving. Be sure to tell them that you’re not accusing them of being a bad driver, but that you’re simply concerned for their health and safety.
Get Professionals Involved
Having an outside opinion on your loved one’s conditions, such as their primary care doctor or their eye doctor, can be helpful in adding weight to your conversation.
If necessary, broach the topic of taking the keys while in your loved one’s doctor’s office. The doctor can help you have this difficult conversation, and they can provide actual evidence from their medical record to back themselves up.
Your loved one may even be less likely to become angry if their doctor is present, making the conversation easier for you.
Give Them Time
The conversation about giving up driving may take more than one session. That’s OK, and it’s important to give your loved one the space to process their feelings and thoughts.
Don’t plan to take the keys right after your first conversation unless it’s an emergency. Instead, begin the conversation early and prepare to have more than one talk.
If your loved one becomes angry or refuses to talk, tell them you will have this discussion at another time and leave them alone. Don’t try to force them to talk if they don’t want to. Leave and let them think through what was said, then bring up the topic again at a later date.
Senior Transportation Services in Central Maryland
It’s never easy to give up the privilege and responsibility of driving. At Advanced Nursing + Home Support, we hope to make the transition a little easier for families thanks to our Let’s Go! service.
Our drivers get your loved one to social events, appointments, out shopping, or any other places they need to go safely, taking the burden off you. Call today to see what our Let’s Go! Service can do for your family!