How do I ask my elderly parent to stop driving? Talking about transportation concerns does not have to be difficult. Arrive to the discussion prepared and with a desire to help your parent make the right decision. Although these are big changes, they can be positive ones.
Identify The Changes First
Your parent may have already shown signs made that their driving skills are not once what they were. Ask yourself:
- Do they not take the highway?
- Only travel to nearby and familiar places?
- Have they stopped driving at night or in inclement weather?
They have most likely come to accept these limitations and live within them, even if the adjustment can initially be difficult.
Initiating the Conversation
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington, D.C., found in an earlier study that “when it came to families discussing driving behaviors with older members, 83 percent reported they had never had a conversation.”
Have a conversation that is honest, open, and respectful. Their transportation represents independence and a sense of freedom for your parent. Here a few things to consider when discussing transportation concerns:
- Would they be more receptive to hear these concerns from another sibling, a peer, or professional?
- Refrain from becoming frustrated with initial negative reactions.
- Ask your parent about how they feel about no longer driving.
Explore Transportation Options
Identifying alternatives to no longer driving will be an important part of the conversation. If you are unfamiliar with senior services in your community, local offices of your state’s Department on Aging is a good place to start.
- If you are in Milwaukee County, contact the Department on Aging or Interfaith Older Adult Programs.
- Waukesha residents should contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center or Interfaith Senior Programs and may be referred to partner agencies within The Caregiver Connection.
If your loved one is a risk to others and does not respond to constructive conversation, action is necessary. If an individual is showing early signs of dementia, they may lack the ability to respond to normal road conditions. Learn more about different tools to use when talking with someone who has dementia.
Transportation at a Senior Community
One of the benefits of transportation at a senior community is you have peace of mind knowing your loved one is not putting themselves in harms way. Senior community shuttles:
- allow easy mobility to favorite local restaurants, parks, and more
- come in extra hand during the winter months
- encourage socialization and mobility
Another benefit of a senior community is there are full calendars of a wide range of activities and social opportunities on site. This can help diminish the desire to own and maintain a vehicle over time.
In wanting to discuss a parent’s ability to drive, you are acting out of love and concern. Your parents are undergoing a transition in life that can be emotionally challenging and frightening. Just know that it is possible to have a loving and honoring conversation about these transitions.