Taking the Keys Away From a Parent

Telling a parent that they need to stop driving is a conversation most of us put off as long as possible. The truth is, it is better to have these conversations as soon as possible.

Discuss with Mom or Dad how to plan for a day when driving may not be an option. This should be done several times if possible, and before drastic measures need to be taken.

What Can I Do?

  • Have a frank but calm discussion. Several if possible.
  • Talk to Mom or Dads doctor. (ask the doctor to recommend a driving evaluation)
  • Ask Mom or Dad to commit to doing whatever the driving evaluation results recommend.
  • Dismantle the car engine so it will no longer run. For example, disconnect the battery or remove the distributer cap.
  • Hide or take away the car keys.
  • Contact the DMV to report unsafe driving.
  • Find Mom and Dad several alternative means of transportation BEFORE taking the car away. Examples: friends, family, taxi, bus, local senior transportation services such as Home Helpers.

Your parent may feel they will have fewer trips outside the home, increased dependency on others, fewer social outings and the fear of being a burden to others.

What to Say

Don’t just say ”you need to stop driving” or ”you shouldn’t be driving anymore”. Instead talk about safety. “I worry about you” or “It would be awful if you were in an accident and hurt yourself or someone else”. Calmly bring up any medical conditions, medications for pain that may cause dizziness, vision problems and hearing loss. Talk about solutions and alternatives to getting around, family, friends, senior transportation services like Home Helpers and most of all, tell them you love them.

Be sensitive. This is a big blow to their freedom and independence. The transition can be difficult and take some time. Be patient and diligent. It will get better with time.

For questions, call Ketan at (408)-259-5930 or contact us