DRIVING OFFERS freedom and self-sufficiency to us all, but there could come a time when your senior loved one should give up driving for good. Unfortunately, not every elderly driver is able to admit that he or she should hang up the car keys. It may be up to you to talk to your loved one and convince them to stop driving for safety’s sake. Find some tips on discussing senior driving safety with your loved one below:
• Explain your concerns with respect and understanding. Giving up driving could equate to giving up freedom and self-sufficiency, and you must understand that a conversation that ends with giving up driving could be difficult and upsetting.
• Be specific rather than general. Explain your exact concerns, such as any recent fender benders, running red lights, instances of getting lost or worsening eyesight, and slower reflexes.
• Enlist help. Get the help of additional family members when discussing your concerns about your senior loved one’s driving. The advice of a driving specialist may also help to appeal to your senior loved one’s reasoning.
• Find alternatives to driving. Ensure your senior loved one that she or he will still retain some freedoms when it comes to transportation. Explore public transportation options and get firm commitments from family members as to when they can offer rides. Additionally, check with your caregivers; Comfort Keepers offers transportation as part of our services, getting your elderly loved one safely to and from appointments, outings, errands, and more.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR SENIOR DRIVER WON’T HANG UP THE KEYS
Not every elderly driver will agree to give up driving, even if they are driving in an unsafe manner. You have some options if you honestly feel your senior loved one is no longer safe behind the wheel. Start by going to dmvflorida.org/senior-drivers.shtml to learn more about these options. If concern warrants further action, speaking with your elderly loved ones’ physician can also be another option for soliciting help in the safety of your senior loved one.
This column is sponsored by Comfort Keepers of Polk County.
column by TRACY KELLEY
BIO: Tracy Kelley is the owner/operator of Comfort Keepers of Polk County. For over 14 years, she has been leading professional and extensively trained caregivers to help seniors of Central Florida maintain their quality of life. Her motto — and that of Comfort Keepers of Polk County — is “We get to help the hands that built America.” For more information about Comfort Keepers, visit lakeland-381.comfortkeepers.com or call (863) 701-9100.