Best Life: Talking to aging parents about the decision to stop driving

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:16 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, FLA. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – According to statistics from the national highway traffic safety administration, there are more than 30 million senior drivers in the U.S. Many adult children worry about their aging parent’s safety and the safety of others. But talking to a parent about driving can be emotional.

Driving isn’t just a way to get around. For many seniors, it’s a sign of independence and giving it up isn’t easy.

Phyllis Bouck, 98, says she doesn’t get on the highway and drive slowly.

“It was not my choice,” said 89-year-old Patricia Gamier. “A young lady slammed her car into mine and demolished my car and put me in the hospital.”

In a recent survey, nearly 40% of people said the single hardest conversation they have with their aging parents was about handing over the car keys.

“Families and children would rather talk about funeral plans and selling a house before they would talk about taking away the keys from their adult drivers,” said David Bernstein, MD.

But the conversation does need to happen.

Experts recommend talking to your parent early on about their driving before you even get concerned, so you can agree on a plan. If you think your loved one is putting themselves at risk, give specific examples of incidents that occurred. Avoid being confrontational and listen to what they have to say.

Lastly, present practical alternatives. You might suggest a taxi or ride-share services like Lyft or Go-Go Grandparent. Or, have family members come up with a schedule to drive your parent to important appointments.

County transportation services may also provide free or low-cost rides. And set up a grocery or food delivery service, so they won’t have to worry about the essentials.

Statistics show drivers 65 years of age and older are 16% more likely than adult drivers to cause an accident.

Contributor(s) to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

Copyright 2022 WMC. All rights reserved.

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