One of the most heart-wrenching conversations to have with an elderly loved one happens when you say that in your opinion, they should not be driving anymore. Physical or mental impairments such as poor eyesight, lack of coordination, other physical limitations or the onset of dementia may make this person a hazard to themselves and other vehicles on the road.
There are additional considerations that may also affect an older person’s ability to drive capably. These include memory, hearing and reaction times.
Driving and leading an independent life are almost interchangeable to a senior citizen. Surrendering the car keys is something that most older people don’t voluntarily want to do. It means that doing things like going to the movies, shopping and having a social life will now be more complicated because someone else will have to provide the transportation.
Yet you, as a caring, responsible adult, have a responsibility to both your loved one as well as to other drivers who might be potentially endangered by him or her being behind the wheel.
Tips for discussing giving up driving with your elderly loved one
This is not usually an easy topic to bring up, but with some thought and planning beforehand, it can be done with tact and without flaring tempers.
- Be understanding and diplomatic. Let the person know that their input is important. No decisions will be finalized without their viewpoint being heard and taken into consideration.
- Talk about other methods they can use to get around. These can include local public transportation, ridesharing or being driven by friends or neighbors.
- Review the reasons why you feel the person should not be driving.
- Emphasize that you are bringing this subject up because you are worried and not just trying to be critical.
There are older drivers on the road in Pennsylvania and elsewhere who have physical or mental conditions that impede their ability to drive safely. If you were in a collision that you believe was caused by such a driver, you may decide to seek compensation for your injuries.