Change is difficult. When it comes to giving up some form of independence, it is even more difficult.
Although the older adult may have years of good driving experience to his or her credit, there are factors that may indicate it’s time to give up the keys. A natural decline in physical abilities or perception, along with the dependence on certain medications that may impair driving skills, is the leading cause of auto accidents among seniors.
The following are several red flags that may indicate it is no longer safe to drive:
- slow reaction to sudden occurrences
- distracted driving
- less sureness when behind the wheel
- problem getting into or staying in appropriate traffic lanes
- bumping the curb while backing up or turning right
- causing scratches or dents on the vehicle, garage or roadside mailbox
- repeated near-misses
- driving over or under the speed limit
Broaching the Subject of Giving Up the Keys
Preparing to tell the older adult about stopping to drive will help you sound convincing.
- Make a list of dangerous driving practices you have observed that you can present.
- Speak with diplomacy and sensitivity, while being respectful and understanding of how hard it is to give up driving.
- Suggest other ways your loved one can get around and maintain independence besides driving. These may include scheduling rides with other family members and friends, calling Uber, Lyft and other such taxi services, using public transportation services, accepting rides from senior center volunteer drivers.
- Help implement this major change in life by proposing gradual adjustments: first only driving during daytime hours and for short durations so that full cessation will not be as sudden.
- Offer other ideas of how to enrich your senior loved one’s life.
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Summary: As a senior gets older, his or her ability to drive may be impacted. Prime Insurance offers these tips on how to convince your older loved one how to give up the keys.