Skip to comments.Driving and your aging parents
Posted on 04/29/2010 11:32:37 AM PDT by Patriot1259
Driving is a major issue for seniors and frequently referred to as the nuclear warhead of caregiving. For many, driving is the last bastion of independence and the prospect of giving it up is tantamount to stepping into the grave. Some seniors refuse to acknowledge their limitations, although many have forgotten the rules of the road they learned decades ago. In such cases, family members spend countless hours worrying. Stop the inner turmoil and look for solutions. If you reach the point where you have to lay out the issue firmly, have some ideas or solutions for transportation needs already in place.
Having alternate plans is an essential element when encouraging seniors to hang up the keys. If they see no other way to get where they want or need to go, then theyll be reluctant to let go of the keychain. Look into local transportation systems, and as a caregiver, your own ability to help. It may be easier to shop for Moms groceries, but delivering bags to her door doesnt meet the psychological need to get out of the house occasionally. Try role reversal here to gain perspective.
(Excerpt) Read more at thecypresstimes.com ...
Been going through this with my mom. She was not giving up her keys no matter what. We tried to set up something with her church. Her church is large and has a great senior program, with lots of free help and paid help at reasonable costs. We tried other things, nothing worked, my mothers very independent and stubborn. After trying to get her not to drive for the past couple of years she’s finally given it up. Only because she’s become so feeble and now she’s blind in one eye and losing vision in the other. There has to be a better way. I can see how it would be hard to give up driving but, I can also see how some seniors could become a real menace.
How about surreptitiously switching her car keys with some others that don't match her car?
Seriously: This is an important topic and should be investigated more thoroughly.
Questions which come to mind are:
1) How can one objectively determine if one's parent is no longer competent to drive a vehicle? Must one wait until the number of "fender benders" increases? Or until a major accident occurs?
2) What if he or she is "competent enough" to drive under "normal" conditions, but not under adverse conditions (heavy rain, darkness, etc.)?
Also, once you figure out she/he isn’t competent to drive anymore how do you handle it? Especially if you live 1800 miles away :( My sister lives close by but, she’s getting stuck doing everything and she works full time. I can’t help out that much. I have a learning disabled child who lives at home and when I’m gone my hubby has to juggle everything around her. It’s doable but for only about 2 weeks.
My father, who is 90 years old, wanted to continue driving some years ago.
This, after two strokes, and obvious infirmities, convinced me to take action.
I contacted the Mich. Secretary of State with a letter explaining the situation, and they responded with a letter demanding re-examination of his driving skills.
That did the trick (pardon the pun).
I think I saved someone alot of grief.
Many people with physical disabilities drive vehicles. They may have to be selective about what types of vehicles suit them.
Most seniors who are sound of mind can decide for themselves when they are no longer confident, comfortable, or competent driving under certain conditions and in certain circumstances.
I’ll tell you that I am less concerned about most seniors driving on the roads at safe speeds than I am about youngsters who are “multi-tasking”, with stereo blasting, and texting away, or talking on cellphones, as they speed along the with their minds on anything/everything but driving.
You probably did and it’s probably the best way to do it. My mother won’t be driving anymore. She knows she can’t now and finally relented. This was a 2 year battle with her though. Between friends, family, taxi’s and church she has a ride when she needs one. This just happened over the past couple of months.
My father only stopped driving, at the age of 92, because here you have to sign your license in front of the DMV clerk and his eyesight was so bad that he couldn’t do it.
But until then, and a few times afterward when no one was immediately available to take him somewhere, his lack of eyesight didn’t stop him from driving. And, he wouldn’t allow anyone else to drive. How he didn’t get killed or kill someone was just by the grace of God.
Did give me a chance for a little revenge. When I got my license at 16, he always pointed out every newspaper story about teen drivers having accidents. So, when he hit his 90’s, I started to point out every news story where the driver was over 70!! (hee - hee, but I was seriously terrified of him driving)
Unfortunately, my father had a penchant for clapped-out Suburbans, of seriously dubious mechanical integrity.
The thought of a sight and reflex impaired 85 year old hurtling down the highway scared the cr@p out of me, as it should anyone.
I think your solution of having him tested was the way it should be handled. That goes for anyone of any age depending upon the circumstances.
Everyone is different, of course. I know my daddy’s doctor told us, after he had recovered from his stroke, that it would be ok for him to drive back and forth to their place in the country from their place in town, which was about 15 miles, or so, over rural roads.
He didn’t drive on the highways, or into other towns. My sister didn’t think he should even drive as much as the doctor said he could. I did, because I had ridden with him as he began driving again after rehab, and I knew that he was careful and responsible.
I realize that some older people are less capable, or responsible, than others for any number of reasons, just as is the case with some teenagers.
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