How do you know when it’s time for mom or dad to limit or stop driving? It’s a tough subject for most families, but it’s a serious matter. Can you recognize the signs? Will you be able to tell the person who taught you to drive they need to stop? How do you bring up the subject? Here are a few facts:
Aging adults especially those who are older than 75 have a higher risk of being involved in a collision when they get behind the wheel. Because older drivers are less able to withstand the physical trauma resulting from serious crashes, their rate of fatalities is higher, regardless of fault.
Giving up or limiting driving can be a great loss. Often older drivers who need to limit or stop driving may feel depressed, angry, frustrated or isolated, even if they voluntarily make the decision. In order to have successful conversations, you need to understand and validate these feelings.
In a national survey of older drivers, nearly 25% of the respondents reported feeling sad or depressed after having conversations about their driving.
How to assess your parents driving skills and start that conversation
So as you can see this is a delicate but important subject. Now there’s help to help you recognize if mom or day needs to limit or stop driving; and how to broach the subject. AARP offers a free online seminar called We Need to Talk that will help you determine how to assess your parents driving skills and provide tools to help you have this important conversation. And since it’s online, you can set your own pace. The seminar consists of three modules:
1. The meaning of Driving
The first section helps you understand what driving means to older adults and how older drivers cope with the loss of freedom and independence that can accompany the decision to stop driving
2. Observing Driving Skills
In the second section you’ll learn how to observe changes in an older driver’s behavior and determine if driving will become a problem. It also teaches you how to use observations to help voice your concerns while reducing hurt feelings and increasing the success of your conversations.
3. Planning Conversations
The last section will teach what kind of conversations are appropriate in a given situation and what components make a conversation successful. Here you’ll learn how to use your initial information-gathering conversations and your observations to plan conversations with older drivers. You will also gain skills to start both casual and serious conversations with older adults about driving safety and know how to respond when their driving becomes a risk.
Take a look at We Need to Talk. Even if you don’t need to start the conversation right now, you may need to in years to come.
Be sure to read more from The 50 Something Man about Taking Care of Mom and Dad