Community Blog

Winning the Driving War with Your Elderly Loved One

By Michael Hagman, RN, BSN

Elderly Care in Helena MT

Often health, whether that's because of declining vision or even dementia, dictates when it's time for your elderly loved one to stop driving. But what happens when your loved one isn't ready to give driving up? You can provide her with other options, such as elderly care providers who can drive her anywhere, but if she doesn't want to avail herself of those options, she won't. So what can you do?

Bring Her Doctor into the Discussion

As soon as you suspect that driving isn't a good thing for your loved one to be doing, bring in the reinforcements. Have your loved one's doctor sit down with her and explain the problems that driving can cause for her. Your loved one may try to rationalize her stubbornness by saying that you're simply trying to tie her down, but if her doctor is involved in the conversation, she may be more inclined to pay attention to the bottom line.

Remember What Driving Can Symbolize

Think back to your teenaged years when learning to drive meant freedom and being able to go places without your parents looking over your shoulder. Driving and having a vehicle means the same thing now for your elderly loved one. Being forced to give that freedom up, even if it's a freedom she doesn't exercise much at the moment, can be agonizing for your elderly loved one.

Think about Your Phrasing

It's not unusual to have an elderly loved one who seems to be quite on the contrary side. No matter what you ask her not to do, that's the only thing that she wants to do. If that's the case in other situations, don't expect it to be any different when it comes to asking her to give up driving. Before the conversation, think carefully about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Write down your talking points if that helps.

Don't Hem and Haw

Sometimes caregivers and other family members are quick to give into elderly loved ones at the first sign of any pushing back about restricting anything. Once you commit to this course of action, you have to stick with it. You can't go back in another few days or even weeks and let your loved one think it's okay to start driving again because you'll be back in the same dilemma that you're facing now. Ask yourself if you would want your elderly loved one driving with any of your other loved ones as a passenger. If the answer is no, you need to stick to your guns.

It's always tricky knowing when it's time to ask your loved one to hang up the car keys.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care in Helena, MT, contact the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (406) 438 - 2231.