Taking privileges away from your senior parent is never something you want to do. In fact, bringing up your loved one’s driving might make you feel like you’re overstepping your boundaries. The truth is you need to bring up anything your loved one does that seems unsafe, and many seniors eventually reach the point where they need to hand over their car keys. You’ll feel better about having this discussion when you use these strategies to approach the subject with your parent.
1. Know When to Intervene
The ideal time to intervene is when a senior is starting to face challenges with driving but hasn’t had a serious accident. You might need to intervene if your loved one has recently had several minor fender benders, even if it’s just hitting the home’s garage or a nearby mailbox. Getting frequent traffic tickets is another warning sign. Seniors who get lost or suddenly seem confused about their surroundings might also need to stop driving. Taking note of why you think your parent’s driving is unsafe can give you confidence as you bring up the topic.
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 Fort Myers seniors can depend on.
2. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Seniors can quickly get defensive when they think they’re being accused of being bad drivers. Asking open-ended questions ensures you don’t come across as accusing your loved one of anything. For example, you can ask your loved one if heavy traffic makes him or her nervous, or you might ask how he or she feels about driving at night. These questions can help you gauge your parent’s potential response.
3. Attribute Your Concern to a Health Condition
Seniors often experience rapid changes in their driving abilities after their health changes. You can ask your loved one how his or her recent vision exam went. If your parent mentions needing new hearing aids, you might ask if he or she can hear well while driving. Citing a health condition as the primary reason for your concern removes blame from your parent when he or she is sensitive about his or her driving skills.
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 in-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.
4. Suggest a Driving Assessment
If your parent refuses to admit his or her driving is no longer safe, encourage him or her to work with a neutral party to assess his or her skills. Some seniors will consent to driving assessments out of the desire to prove they’re still safe drivers or due to secret concerns their loved ones might be right. A professional assessment is much like a driving exam, and your loved one can get immediate feedback about his or her ability to keep driving.
5. Provide a List of Transportation Alternatives
You’ll want to act quickly if your loved one accepts the need for transportation assistance. This can prevent your loved one from changing his or her mind or having a dangerous accident. Create a list of options you can share with your loved one. Planning for transportation alternatives as soon as possible helps your parent begin to increase his or her safety and continue to get where he or she wants to go each day.
Even if your loved one has to give up driving, he or she can still enjoy a high level of independence. Fort Myers 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. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (239) 449-4701 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.