How to Tell If It’s Time for Your Parent to Stop Driving
May 18, 2019
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
One of the most difficult decisions you’ll make is taking away your parent’s keys. Sometimes, you’ll have a doctor saying it’s safer and needs to be done. You may have to take their keys away because they crashed into something due to slowed reaction times.
You may be on the fence. If this is the case, there are driving schools for elders that may help. AAA senior driving is one of the options available in the U.S.
3 Tips to Tell If It’s Time for Your Parent to Stop Driving
If you’re just not sure, here are some tips you can use to help you decide if driving school is enough or if it’s time to stop your parent from driving.
1. Check Their Medication Side Effects
Is your parent taking prescription medications? If the common side effects are dizziness or drowsiness, they shouldn’t drive. You don’t want them driving down the road when they could fall asleep, become dizzy and faint, or are unable to focus on traffic around them.
2. Assess Their Driving Skills
Get in the car with your parent. How are their reaction times? Do they easily get flustered or distracted? Do they come too close to hitting other vehicles or objects? Are they checking their blind spots?
If you find them repeatedly taking chances or experiencing close calls, get them into a driving class for the elderly. An instructor can work on the skills they’re not using. Plus, the instructor will be able to tell you if there’s any improvement or if it’s time to take their keys.
3. Talk With Their Doctors
Your parent’s family doctor and eye doctor are ideal for getting insight into whether they should be driving. If their vision limits what they can see and won’t improve with glasses, it’s a good time to give up the keys. If their general practitioner finds they cannot turn their neck enough to check blind spots, it’s also a good time to stop driving. Ask for their input.
Be gentle when you do discuss the need to enroll your parent in a driving school or to take their keys away. They’ll see this as a loss of freedom. Make sure you emphasize this is for their safety and the safety of others. Promise that you’ll make sure they always have a ride to wherever they need to go.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Care Services
Once you’ve taken their keys, make sure they have transportation available. If you can’t provide it, look into elder care services. Your parent can have a caregiver available for rides to shops, appointments, and social events. Caregivers also provide companionship, so your parent will not become lonely or isolated. Call our elder care agency to discuss transportation and companionship services.