If you’re noticing signs your senior loved one is no longer able to drive safely, it can be challenging to bring up this subject, since many seniors equate driving with independence. This is understandable, but there could come a time when it’s not possible to put off this discussion anymore because of valid and serious concerns. If this is where you’re at now, here are five tips to keep in mind as you prepare to discuss unsafe driving with your loved one.
1. Find the Right Time
You’ll be fighting an uphill battle if you attempt to start a discussion about driving safety concerns when your loved one is clearly in a bad or disagreeable mood. Instead, look for moments when your parent is in a more calm and relaxed state. Also, avoid busier times of the day when you may not have his or her full attention.
2. Avoid Starting Off on a Negative Note
Saying, “You really shouldn’t be driving anymore” is an example of how not to start the discussion about unsafe driving. A more productive approach is to mention some of the things your loved one likes about driving. Using this tactic could also provide a subtle hint about where you’re going without actually saying it just yet. You may then be able to ease into your concerns about unsafe driving in a way that doesn’t leave both of you frustrated and defensive.
3. Offer Reasonable Solutions
You’ll be more likely to get pushback if you only mention your list of concerns about your loved one’s driving abilities during your discussion. Make the possibility of having to cut back on driving or stopping altogether less of an emotional blow by suggesting possible solutions. Options include:
• Using local transportation or rideshare services
• Setting reasonable limits on driving (e.g., local drives are fine, but longer trips should be made with someone else driving)
• Riding with your loved one when he or she drives so you can offer an extra set of eyes
• Recommending driver safety courses designed specifically for seniors
Even if your loved one has to give up driving, he or she can still enjoy a high level of independence. Oshkosh senior 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.
4. Provide Clear Examples
Instead of saying “You’ve had a lot of close calls and serious incidents lately while driving that concern me,” give specific examples. What this does is allow your loved one to better understand why you’re concerned. Plus, your parent may not realize how serious the situation has gotten until you start providing some examples he or she can identify with.
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 home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. 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.
5. Get Some Backup
If your loved one is your parent, he or she may not like the idea of a “child” talking to him or her about unsafe driving. If you know this will be an obstacle, get some assistance from other family members or friends your loved one respects and trusts. It can also be helpful to bring your loved one’s doctor into the conversation. This can be especially beneficial if medical issues are responsible for the inability to drive safely anymore.
Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Oshkosh seniors can depend on. Call one of our Care Managers at (920) 573-6295 to learn about our customized in-home care plans.