Did you know that most seniors age 70 and older will outlive their ability to drive safely by at least 7 to 10 years? As seniors age, it is often very difficult for them to give up some of the privileges they have had all their life. In many cases, families are put in the hard place of confronting their loved one with concerns for their safety. I just want to offer some tips and encouragement for those of you who are currently in this situation or who may enter a similar situation in the future.
1. Safety is Paramount
When dealing with an issue such as driving privileges with a senior, it is important to speak with compassion and love. Communicate to them that, out of love, you are concerned for their safety. Make sure that they know that you want the best for them and that you want to have them around for as long as possible. Let them know that you value their independence, but that safety is most important to you.
2. Learn the Warning Signs
It is important to learn the warning signs of dangerous driving. Confronting the issue too early might add unneeded tension…confronting the issue too late might leave a chance for an accident. Here are some of the warning signs of unsafe driving for the elderly.
-confusing the brake and gas pedals
-trouble navigating turns, hitting curbs
-having delayed responses, being easily distracted
-getting lost in familiar places
-having dents and scratches on the car
3. Assure Them They Will Not Lose Their Independence
Losing driving privileges may not be your loved one’s deepest fear. However, they may see it as one step closer to losing their independence and dignity, something that probably is their greatest fear. Make sure they know that losing their driving privileges is not equal with losing their independence and dignity. At Preferred Care at Home, we can provide your loved ones with reliable and compassionate caregivers that can aid with transportation around town. We can take your loved one to the salon, barber, grocery store, library or civic club, allowing your loved one the chance to truly celebrate life once again.
Losing one’s driving privileges does not mean losing hope. Communicate the truth to your loved one that safety is of the utmost importance…but be sure to communicate, just as strongly, that hope, life and independence is theirs for the taking.
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