It’s something that people joke about all time: senior citizens are a hazard to the roads. Of course, this isn’t true; there are plenty of older individuals who are sharp and alert enough to operate a vehicle well into old age, so to generalize would be unfair. That being said however, there are certainly individualized cases where it is simply unsafe to the senior and the people around them for them to be on the road.
Regardless of whether it’s due to an illness, they cannot see or they simply do not have the strength to push on the gas or brake anymore, we hardly find that a senior is willing to admit that they cannot drive anymore. As an adult child of one of these seniors, you may be nervous about approaching the topic, unaware of whether it’s actually necessary or what you should say if it is. To make things a bit easier, try these great tips:
Know the Warning Signs – Unless you visit with your senior parent often, you may not even be aware of how bad their situation has gotten. On the occasions that you do make it over to their home, be on the lookout for things like no dents or scratches on the car, the mailbox or even the garage. Additionally, keep in mind that if they mention instances about near-accidents that “weren’t their fault,” they may have in fact been their fault. Finally, if your parent has been getting more traffic tickets than normal lately, it may be due to the fact that they are having a hard time seeing signs and stop lights.
Don’t be Hesitant – This is not an easy conversation, but it is a necessary one. It’s better for your parents to hear this from you rather than some room driver on the road who goes out of their way to tell them – or even yell at them – that they should get off the road. It’s also much better than getting a notice from the DMV after multiple incidents. At least you know how to handle the situation with love and compassion.
Approach it Delicately – The last thing that you want to do is to come across like a parent taking a toy away from a child. Sit down with your parent and make a conscious effort to discuss the issue with them on an adult-to-adult level. Keep any sign of accusation out of your voice and simply address your concerns and feelings. You’re more likely to generate a better response this way.
It may also be a good idea to mention to your senior parent that just because they cannot drive anymore doesn’t mean that they have to lose their freedom and be stuck in the house all day. Here at Your Own Home LLC, our transportation services will get your parent wherever they want to go. Call us today for more information!