Children of aging senior citizens are often faced with having difficult conversations with their parents. While it is important for elderly loved ones to remain as independent as possible and keep up with the freedom to do things they enjoy, safety has to come first. When it comes to driving, adult children may find themselves in the position of explaining to their parent that it is time to give up the keys to the car.
Driving and the Aging Population
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, people ages 65 and older are part of the fastest growing demographic in the country. In fact, there are over 30 million drivers in that age group. Statistics show that health conditions and medications affect the ability of aging seniors, especially those over the age of 75, to drive safely. To make matters worse, the older driver may not recognize the decline in their driving ability. Some may recognize the change, but are not willing to admit that they need help.
Having a Talk with an Elderly Driver
Family members often do not know how to handle the situation when they notice that there is a change in their loved one’s driving abilities. To many seniors, having a car is synonymous with independence and freedom, even if there are alternatives like public transportation available nearby. It is important for family members to monitor their aging parent’s driving skills regularly to see if action is required.
Solving the Problem
If there is a driving problem, it must be addressed quickly and discussed openly. When a senior needs to modify his or her driving habits or cease driving altogether, it may be time to contact a home health care agency to enlist the help of a caregiver. A caregiver who has a valid driver’s license and insurance can drive the senior to doctor’s appointments, social engagements, errands and shopping.
Approaching the Issue
A conversation that is likely to result in taking away the keys to the car should be respectful and caring, not confrontational. Take care to demonstrate understanding, and listen to the senior’s point of view. Be sure to answer with examples and observations about the senior’s driving so that he does not become defensive and angry.
Here are some signs that it may be time to hire a caregiver for transportation:
- Your loved one tends to get lost on familiar roads.
- You find damage on the car.
- Your loved one is involved in an accident or a close call.
- He or she receives a warning or a ticket from a police officer.
- The doctor advises that medications may limit driving his or her driving ability.
- The senior tends to drive too slowly, uses poor judgment, or stops the car for no reason.
- Your loved one suffers from a condition that can affect driving, such as Parkinson’s disease, cataracts, dementia, Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, diabetes and arthritis.
- There is a hearing or vision loss.
When it is time for a caregiver to provide transportation and other home health care services, contact us at Home Helpers of South Shore. Owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors, Home Helpers can provide the trained, experienced home health care workers you need.
Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.
We serve the following communities:
Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman