A 73-year-old widow wrecks her car. Her adult son, realizing it is no longer safe, insists she stop driving. His stubborn mother argues she’s perfectly capable and doesn’t need a chauffeur. It takes a long time before she grudgingly admits he was right.
That’s the plot of the Academy Award-winning film “Driving Miss Daisy.” It’s also a scene that’s played out in the lives of senior citizens across the country. As we age, changes in our vision and hearing, some medications, and diminishing judgement can drastically impact our driving skills. And like Miss Daisy, most people don’t want to admit it's happening.
So, once you realize your elderly parents shouldn’t drive anymore, how do you get them to stop?
Talk to them right away. It may take many conversations to convince them, and as time passes, their driving might get worse.
Acknowledge their feelings. “Dad, I know you don’t like to have to rely on other people to get around.” “Mom, we’ll find a way to get you to your weekly bingo games.”
Appeal to their sense of responsibility.
Get their doctor involved. They may respond better if a medical professional tells them they need to stop driving – especially if it’s in writing.
Have them take a driving education course for seniors. (AARP and AAA offer them)
If appropriate, start by limiting them to daytime driving in good weather.
You can also help by finding them other means of transportation. SYNERGY Homecare offers Elderly Transportation Assistance and Elderly Errand Assistance to take some of the stress off your family.
Bottom line - be persistent. Eventually, like Miss Daisy, your parents may come to realize they can still enjoy life even though they are no longer in the driver’s seat.