The key to being able to keep your aging parent safe behind the wheel is to be able to have open conversations with them on an ongoing basis.
Her Age Isn’t Reason Enough to Take the Keys
It’s tempting once your senior gets to a certain age to just take her keys, but that’s not necessarily the right approach. Just because your elderly parent is getting older, that doesn’t mean that she’s unable to drive. There’s a lot more that goes into that decision and it’s all about keeping her as safe as possible, even if that means finding alternatives to having her driving her car.
Help Your Senior Find Her Limits
The big task here is to learn your loved one’s limits and then to be able to find a plan for proceeding once your she reaches those limits. Some of the limits that might be difficult could include:
- Driving at night or twilight
- Driving in heavy traffic
- Driving in unfamiliar locations
- Driving alone
- Driving in bad weather
When your senior gets to one of these limits, you need to have a backup plan in place for her. Then she knows what to do when one of these situations appears.
Give Other Options without Penalty
One reason that your senior might be reluctant to talk about other options is that she fears that once she agrees to having someone else drive for her, that’s it and you’ll take the keys forever. Make it crystal clear that just because she has the option of calling senior care providers to take her wherever she needs to go, that doesn’t mean that she’s never allowed to drive again. If there’s a penalty, even in terms of an “I told you so,” your senior might be less inclined to ask for help when she hits one of her limits.
Have These Talks in Calm Moments Instead of in the Heat of the Moment
There is a time and a place to have these conversations and you might have figured that out already. If you try to start one of these conversations when your loved one is already frustrated or irritated, it may not go very well. Try to wait until you can both talk about this topic in a calm and loving manner.
Work with your parent to find the right balance with these talks. Once she’s aware that this is all about keeping her safe and that you’re not trying to keep her in one place, she’s more likely to keep an
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Princeton Junction, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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