When Parents Can't Drive Themselves Anymore
Caring for Elderly Parents Who Can No Longer Drive
Sometimes the responsibility to care for your aging parent sneaks up on you. Even if your parent does not live with you or directly rely on you for assistance with daily activities (yet), you may notice that their ability to perform normal tasks is decreasing. At this point, it is important to act and do what is in your parent’s best interest.
Determining Your Parent’s Ability to Drive Safely
Because safe driving often involves awareness, complex cognitive function, and fast reaction time, your parent’s ability to safely transport themselves may decrease with age. It is imperative to their health and safety that you watch for these signs of unsafe driving:
- Dings, dents, and scratches on their car
- Car damage they cannot explain or do not remember
- Multiple traffic tickets
- Uncharacteristically poor parking jobs
- Accidentally running up on curbs, medians, etc.
- Coming dangerously close to colliding with mailboxes, signs, other vehicles, etc.
- Changes in mood or behavior while driving, such as heightened aggression, confusion, and anxiety
- Frequent near-collisions and almost-accidents
- Cancellation of their auto insurance due to multiple traffic infractions
If you have noticed any of the above behaviors, consider the possibility that your parent is no longer a safe driver. It may be a difficult reality to confront, but allowing it to persist could be deadly for your parent and for others on the road. Once you realize your parent cannot safely operate a motor vehicle, you must act.
How to Initiate a Hard Conversation About Driving
It may be completely apparent to you and everyone else that your parent should not be behind the wheel of a car, but you may still have trouble convincing them that this is true. Breaching the subject at all can cause conflict. However, you can set yourself up for a productive, successful discussion by doing a few things in advance:
- Doing several ride-alongs and quietly observing your parent’s driving behaviors
- Planning a date and time to bring it up (Situations in which you will have time and space to be alone with your parent are ideal.)
- Practice phrasing your concerns using “I” statements (i.e. “I am concerned about your safety.”), rather than more accusatory “you” statements (i.e. “You aren’t a safe driver anymore.”).
- Brainstorming and researching alternatives in order to help your parent remain active and able to leave their home
- Garner support from friends and family members in advance, so that you can convince your parent that they have the help they need to remain mobile, active, and safe
Bring a Companion Caregiver on Board
Companion caregivers are an invaluable resource for aging parents and their adult children. Many adults are very resistant to the idea of relinquishing their driving privileges because they fear isolation, boredom, and confinement to the home. By bringing in a compassionate, experienced caretaker, you open up a world of possibility for your parent and allow them to be as mobile, social, and busy as they’d like to be. If a companion is in the cards, your aging family member may be much more likely to consider turning over the keys.
In-Home Care Solutions for Families in Texas
At Home Support is proud to serve families and communities all over the state of Texas. Our mission is to provide comfort, security, and improved quality of life for your loved ones by offering the compassionate service and home care expertise you need. Whether your loved one needs hands-on assistance, private nursing, a companion caregiver, or anything in between, we are here to help.
Call (877) 959-9093 to speak to one of our helpful, friendly staff members today. You can also request care to tell us how we can serve you and your loved one.