Driving a car is something we all tend to take for granted. It represents freedom, independence, and autonomy. That feeling does not change as we age. When your aging parent’s safety is at issue, however, it becomes a dire situation. How do you talk to your aging parents about driving concerns?
This can be a difficult conversation to have and we want to give you some insight that can help you be prepared for this conversation. Initiating the dialogue is never easy. Your parents might become angry or distressed. To ease the situation, here are five tips to help you prepare:
1. Introduce the Topic Gently. Avoid ultimatums, and do not be confrontational. Be loving and supportive, and the conversation will be much more productive.
2. Let Them Know That It Is Not About Them. Frame the conversation as a concern for their health and safety. Remind them that if they are injured in an accident, it may take them longer to recover because of their advanced age. You might also express concern for loved ones, or suggest that a grandchild could use the car for college.
3. Offer Alternatives. Be sure you are prepared to pick up the slack. Stress that giving up driving will not impact their daily life. Learn their schedule so you can make the necessary adjustments.
4. Be Patient and Know When to Table the Conversation. There may come a point where further conversation is unproductive. If it seems like you are not getting through to mom or dad, stop the discussion and pick it up another day.
5. When To Enlist Help. If you are having trouble getting through to your parents, solicit the help of their doctor. Often, a senior who will not listen to their family will heed their physician, especially if it is presented as a medical concern.
While these conversations can be difficult, we want you to know that we are always here to support you. Do not hesitate to reach out to our office for advice on this topic and other elder care issues. We look forward to connecting with you now, or in the future.