Recognizing The Need to Have A Discussion About Elderly Driving Is The First Step.
Have you noticed that your aging parent is struggling with driving safely? Perhaps there have been a few minor accidents while driving this year. Maybe you have observed a few new dents in their car. For most older adults, losing the ability to drive is cause for serious concern. Most times the elderly driving is proportional to their independence. Taking the car keys away from a senior may cause them to feel depressed or angry if driving is no longer an option. Often, elderly care issues increase when seniors stop driving. Research indicates that when seniors stop driving, their mental and physical well-being may decline.
However, the consequences of unsafe driving are also significant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 6,000 older adults were killed in vehicle accidents in 2015. Further, more than 260,000 older adults were treated in emergency rooms from injuries due to vehicle accidents in the same year.
Suggestions On How To Approach The Elderly Driving Topic
If you believe it is unsafe for your loved one to continue driving, you are probably dreading talking about it. Here are just a few tips you can consider when approaching the subject of seniors driving:
- Talk to the Doctor – First things first, consult your loved one’s geriatrician or primary care physician. The doctor not only knows a detailed medical history but can also provide you with statistics and recommendations for you to use during your conversation. Remember, many older adults have chronic pain or mobility issues that are a danger while driving.
- Go in with Empathy – Losing driving ability has a similar feeling to losing the family home for seniors, so go into your conversation with a lot of empathy. This approach can help you to soften your tone while still being firm with your concerns.
- Approach and Reapproach – The first conversation may have your older loved one on the defensive. If this happens, stop the discussion and return to it another time. You would rather be able to express your concerns and have your loved one listen instead of ending the conversation in an argument or fractured relationship.
- Have Specifics – Instead of using general phrases like, “you are not safe to drive,” instead use specific examples of times you have been concerned. For example, try saying “You have been in three fender benders in the past six months and it makes me nervous when I know you will be driving.” If it helps you to remember your observations, jot them down on a piece of paper before the meeting. This way, you can recall particular accidents or dangerous situations, and their repercussions.
Most Important Is Having Replacement Ideas To Elderly Driving Ready
When you are having the conversation with your loved one, do not forget to provide solutions to their transportation worries. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways and resources that support senior transportation.
- Public Transportation – Explore this option of transit in the vicinity. Busses and trains provide accessible transportation throughout town. Many senior specific transportation services are offered through large and more rural areas. Just be aware that these services can only get seniors to and from the desired location. Most times, they do not provide assistance once at the destination. Depending on your loved one’s needs and mobility issues, you may find this to be a concern.
- Ride Sharing – Another option for transportation includes ride sharing. You may be able to find carpool options for specific activities, like a Bible Study or exercise group.
- Uber Health – Read about a new service launched by Uber called Uber Health. They provide transportation on demand or on schedule to assure your loved one can get to and from medical appointments. Typically less expensive than using a taxi, Uber Health is also HIPAA compliant and respects privacy. It allows the ride to be requested by anyone, and riders do not need an account, a phone or to be tech-savvy.
Consider Home Care Services
Finally, if your loved one needs some assistance in getting to a destination, as well as companionship or support during their time there, home care services are a great option. A professional caregiver will assist your loved one into the vehicle. Also, they will be with them for the duration of the appointment or trip. This option is excellent for seniors who may have some mobility or cognitive issues, or for a senior who can benefit from some additional companionship and conversation.
If you choose to work with a home care agency, assure they do background screening on their caregivers. Also, make sure the agency has insurance on their caregivers while driving the family car. These extra precautions can give you peace of mind and increase the safety of your loved one.
At Hibernian Home Care, our services include providing transportation to a variety of clients throughout the Monmouth and Ocean Counties of New Jersey area. We can take your loved one to a doctor appointment, a favorite social gathering or the grocery store. Our caregivers undergo a thorough background and driving check and are fully insured. Please reach out to us at 732-481-1148 or by filling out our Contact Us form so that you can discover transportation solutions before having this challenging conversation about elderly driving with your loved one. Hibernian Home Care would consider it an honor and a privilege to be a part of your loved one’s safety solution.