You may already know that your elderly family member really shouldn’t be driving any longer, but that doesn’t mean that she agrees. In fact, she may have a dramatically different interpretation of events. How you and she deal with that disagreement really does matter quite a bit more than you think. As much as you might want to just give her an ultimatum, you may need to tread more gently.
Consider How You’re Talking about Driving
You might not realize that how you talk about your senior and driving can be a bit upsetting for her, which can get you the exact opposite reaction you wanted. If you’re being preachy or too demanding about driving topics, you might find that your elderly family member digs in her heels even more. That’s not the reaction you want, so you may need to change your approach a bit.
Make a Decision and Stick with It
Something else to consider is that if you and other people in your senior’s life have decided that it’s not incredibly safe for her to be driving, you need to stick with that decision. Letting her continue to drive after you’ve shared that decision with her is going to be confusing for her and frustrating for you. You’re going to need to come to a consensus with her and stick with it.
Driving Can Be about More Than Getting Around
Keep in mind that while driving is itself important, sometimes it’s what driving represents that’s more vital to your senior. Yes, being able to drive means that she can go where she wants, when she wants to go there, but it’s more than that. Driving can also represent her identity for your senior, or it can represent her independence. There’s way more wrapped up in driving than it seems.
Consider Talking to Her Doctor
One solution, especially if you and your senior disagree about what needs to happen, can be to talk to your senior’s doctor together. This gives each of you a chance to talk about what you see happening and then you can get her doctor’s view on how her health and current condition either helps or hinders her ability to keep driving. Sometimes hearing from her doctor that she needs to rethink driving can help quite a bit.
Remember that you can’t just take your senior’s keys and leave it at that. She needs to have another option for transportation ready to go so that she’s not left feeling trapped at home. Elderly care providers are an empowering choice because they can handle the driving and also help in other areas for your senior.