Driving is a wonderful source of freedom. From the ability to quickly run errands, visit family, or feel the wind blowing in our hair, there’s good reason 93 percent of households report owning at least one vehicle. But though we place a great cultural emphasis on sitting in the driver’s seat, every person’s driving career must one day come to an end. As we get older, we sometimes need to ask ourselves whether it’s still safe to remain behind the wheel. Or, whether it might be time to stop driving altogether.
Sitting down with a parent or grandparent to tell them you don’t think they should drive anymore can be difficult. But at the end of the day, keeping our roads safe is paramount. There are many ways seniors can keep themselves safe on the road before the time comes to pass off the keys. However, eventually these safety precautions are not enough.
In our series for Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, we’ve covered how seniors are more likely to be seriously injured in a crash. We also discussed the challenges seniors face as they get older and continue to drive. Now, we’re discussing how we can all do our part to make our roadways a safe place for all drivers.
Open the Discussion With At-Risk Seniors
Most seniors want to keep driving as long as possible. However, there comes a time for most people when it is no longer safe to do so. When aging symptoms get in the way of road safety, seniors need to develop another plan. Sometimes it falls to the friends and loved ones in a senior’s life to talk to them about putting away the keys. It’s usually difficult for an older person to hear that it might not be safe to drive themselves, making these conversations even harder.
It’s crucial not to wait. Broach these topics early and make them a discussion, not an ultimatum. Talking to a senior about their post-driving plan before they need to stop driving helps lay the groundwork for an easier transition. It also reduces the risk of a loved one getting in a severe or even fatal car accident. Because seniors are more at risk of suffering a grievous injury in a crash, the stakes on deciding when to stop driving are high. Emphasizing safety to a senior in your life is another good way to convince them to turn over the keys.
When navigating these discussions, calling in backup can be helpful. Talking to other people in a senior’s life, from children to a spouse or friend, can help build a persuasive case. Bringing a senior’s doctor into the conversation is also an excellent idea. With a combination of evidence and concern, you should be able to make the senior in your life understand why they should stop driving. At the end of the day, you know your loved ones best. So, tailor your approach to them, and you’re bound to have success.
Seniors Can Find Alternatives to Driving
The key is to treat the issue with sensitivity, no matter what approach you take. After all, asking a senior to give up their car can feel like asking them to give up a large part of their life. Many seniors are afraid that losing the ability to drive themselves will mean losing their independence entirely.
A caregiver can help assuage these fears. In-home caregivers provide transportation for seniors who can’t drive anymore. This allows them to maintain a driving lifestyle without running the risk of a dangerous accident. And of course, the physical changes that restrict driving have negative impacts on other parts of life. A common concern for seniors is taking a nasty fall and not having anyone in the house to discover them. Caregivers can help seniors with any daily tasks that have become more difficult than before, from meal preparation to helping out around the house. And of course, giving up your car isn’t all bad. Seniors can save a lot of money on car payments, insurance and maintenance when they no longer have a vehicle. Though old age involves making some big changes, in-home caregivers give seniors the tools they need to live life on their own terms.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.