Often, family members are concerned about their loved ones as they age and their ability to drive safely. This can be a concern for the loved one himself/herself or for the other people on the road.
Dependent upon the dynamics in the relationship you have with your aging family member, you might choose one of a few options to address driving safety and whether your loved one needs to continue to drive.
- You may choose to tell them outright that you believe it’s unsafe and that they’re no longer going to drive. You might take the keys, or in some instances, family members might disable the car. Sometimes this works and sometimes this angers your loved one, but if your relationship allows it and you can stay firm in your decision because you believe it is for the best, it’s often the best path.
- You might enlist the doctor to tell your loved one that he or she cannot drive and explain to them why that is the case. Often, they should not be driving because of poor vision, hearing loss and/or mobility issues. Sometimes, it’s because they have dementia, and they cannot make a good judgment call or might get lost. The doctor will typically write a letter, and then you can share that letter with your loved one. This becomes evidence that the doctor has ordered no driving. It can work in some cases because older persons in our society frequently believe that what the doctor says goes no matter what. You can also utilize the services of the doctor and ask him or her to write a letter to the Department of Motor Vehicles, informing the organization that he or she believes your loved one is unsafe to drive (if the doctor does truly believe that). This will begin a series of events in which your loved one will have to prove they are safe to drive.
- You can also suggest to your loved one that you believe there is a safety factor involved, and you would like them to have some testing done to determine if they should continue to drive. If they agree, you can find such testing at your large, local medical centers either through their physical therapy or occupational therapy departments. There might be in-lab testing, and there might also be behind-the-wheel driving assessments.
No matter your approach, the goal is to keep your parent/loved one safe.
For the last decade, Amy Hane has been committed to serving the CSRA community by guiding those going through mental, physical and social issues related to caring for an aging or disabled loved one. She assists families with transitions to higher quality care for the safety and wellbeing of all involved.
Amy holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, is a licensed Master Social Worker in South Carolina and Georgia, an Advanced Professional Aging Life Care Manager and also a Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager.