The discussion about transitioning away from senior driving is one of the most challenging conversations you must have with aging parents and loved ones. There’s no hard and fast rule about when elderly should stop driving, so it can be hard to determine when it’s the right time to encourage your loved one to hang up their car keys. It’s even harder figuring out how to get an elderly parent to stop driving without making them feel bad. While most caretakers of elderly parents would prefer to avoid this conversation altogether, having these tough conversations about senior driving is important to the health and well-being of your loved one.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to have a loving and understanding conversation about giving up the car keys in favor of GoGoGrandparent’s driving services for seniors.
When to know if and when an older adult should stop driving
There’s no set average age seniors stop driving. Every person has their own unique situation, so you’ll have to use your best judgment to determine when and how to get an elderly parent to stop driving..
Here are some clues that might help you figure out when should people stop driving:
- The senior driver gets lost on familiar routes.
- Your loved one recently had an accident that seemed out of the ordinary for them.
- You notice new and frequent dents or scratches in their car.
- They are getting more driving violations.
- You notice they drive too quickly or too slowly.
- They are ignoring road signs or basic traffic rules.
- They have a chronic health issue that has worsened or impacted their ability to drive safely.
- They are taking medications that may affect driving safety.
Keep in mind that, according to a 2002 study, older drivers have a three-fold increased risk of crashing per mile driven than middle-aged drivers. Having the conversation about how to get an elderly parent to stop driving is often the most loving thing you can do to protect your loved one.
Determine if the senior driver can drive part-time.
You don’t necessarily have to think about how to get an elderly parent to stop driving altogether. For a lot of older adults, the transition away from driving may happen slowly. For example, maybe an older adult has trouble seeing at night, so you encourage them only to drive during daylight hours. Or perhaps they can still drive safely on back roads with a speed limit of 25 mph, but you’re concerned about them hitting higher speeds on the highway. Depending on your parent’s unique situation, you may determine that there are some instances where self-driving is okay and other instances where they might want to instead utilize driving services for seniors like GoGo’s Rides.
Understand that it’s an emotional time.
Think back to when you were a teenager just learning to drive. You were so excited for a little bit of freedom, but your parents gave you curfews, restrictions about who could go in your car, times of day you weren’t allowed to drive, or other rules.
Now, the roles are reversed, and your parent might be feeling similar feelings about the loss of independence, freedom, and autonomy. By approaching the conversation from a place of empathy, you and your loved one should be able to come to a fair and reasonable compromise regarding their senior driving.
Follow this framework for the conversation.
- Explain the situation.
- Offer a solution, like driving services for seniors.
- Provide senior driving resources.
Explain the situation.
Don’t start the conversation with your loved one by saying, “You can’t drive anymore. Give me your keys.” Instead, kindly explain to your parent or loved one why you are concerned about them driving. For example, if they have recently started a new pain medication, you might say, “I’m concerned that your new medication might make you drowsy or have other side effects while you are driving.” Or if they were recently in an accident, you might say, “I noticed a dent in your car. I know accidents happen. Can you explain what happened?”
Having an upfront, two-sided conversation that comes from a place of compassion is the best way to handle the conversation.
Offer a solution.
After explaining why you are concerned, offer a solution that maintains their current freedom and autonomy as best as possible. For example, popular alternatives are driving services for seniors like GoGoGrandparent. GoGo rides offer reliable, professional drivers who can offer rides tailored to those who may have chronic illnesses or physical impairments. GoGoGrandparent offers rides anywhere, anytime, so your loved ones can still have the freedom of movement that they desire.
Best yet, you can feel confident knowing our GoGoGuardians are monitoring requests to ensure your loved one’s needs are met from pickup to drop off. We interview drivers, screen vehicles, ensure accessibility, and so much more. Click here to learn what makes our drivers for elderly parents safer, more reliable, and preferential to other senior driving alternatives.
Thirdly, provide your loved ones with the resources to take these next steps for senior driving. Don’t have the conversation and then hope that they will take action. Immediately following the conversation, help them take the next step by registering your loved ones with GoGoGrandparent. In just a few short steps, you can have monitored on-demand driving services for seniors that will offer all the benefits of driving a car – without all the drawbacks.
Along with drivers for elderly adults, GoGo also offers other services that can help assist with other aspects of daily life like prescription drop-off, grocery delivery, meal planning, and scheduling home services. Register your loved one right now to give them the tools they need to take on this next phase of life.