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When to say “When” – Seniors & Driving

When to say “When” – Seniors and Driving

by Andrea Leavitt

One of the most difficult decisions in a senior’s life is deciding when it is time to stop driving.  Some find this decision easy, while others struggle and resist, grieving the loss of independence.

Driving is a common worry for adults with elder parents.  They want their parent to have the freedoms they have always enjoyed, but worry when they see the car parked oddly or notice scraps on the bumper.  Here are some topics to guide the decision of when to say “when” to driving.

  1. Speak about it early and often.
    Make this topic a common one in the family.  Use experiences of others as conversation starters.  Ask the senior how they will decide when it is safer for others to do the driving.  Brainstorm alternative options for transportation with them and try them.
  2. Consult a physician/geriatrician and get a medical opinion.
    The perspective of this professional can make it easier on the family.  One physician suggested the Grandchild Test.  He said, “Would you trust your parent to drive the grandkids?  If the answer is “no”, then it’s time for them to stop driving.”
  3. Educate yourself on the Department of Motor Vehicles processes in your state.
    Learn about the laws and renewal requirements for seniors.   If you have concerns about your parent’s driving and they are resistant to considering other options, consider making an anonymous report to the DMV.  They will send a letter that requires the senior to come in for an assessment.
  4. Research driving evaluation programs.
    There are well qualified professionals at some rehabilitation facilities who specifically assess a senior’s ability to drive safely.  This is accomplished thru a battery of tests which address physical abilities and cognition.  AARP also offers less intensive safe driver program.
  5. Enlist support and Get Creative.
    Attend support groups and learn how others manage this topic.  Professional support can be the answer.  Care Managers have knowledge and experiences that can benefit your loved one.

 

This video from the Aging Life Care Association provides a very creative approach on this difficult subject.

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“AgeWise staff have been a delight to work with for a number of years. They have been integral team members in caring for four senior adults in my family. They have dealt with difficult situations with intelligence and sensitivity. We know we can count on them to assess needs ranging from Alzheimer's care to end of life issues and help provide compassionate solutions. AgeWise staff have gone above and beyond to assist my family.”
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“AgeWise was a godsend. They are very knowledgeable and skilled in working with people with mental health issues. She did a super job holding my family member's and my hand throughout the process. She was very sensitive to managing the cost of her services and at the same time delivered excellent value. AgeWise exceeded my expectations.”
“Again, I am so impressed with the services you are offering and the way you impact lives. You have a calming, caring, confident, and very real spirit that makes the difficult conversations easier. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
2015-08-30T22:44:59+00:00
“Again, I am so impressed with the services you are offering and the way you impact lives. You have a calming, caring, confident, and very real spirit that makes the difficult conversations easier. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
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“I highly respect her for her kindness, diligence, intelligence, resourcefulness, courage, and just plain hard work. I do not know where I would be without her. I would recommend AgeWise with high honors.”
“Thanks for the input, it was great. I really appreciated what you had to share and I believe we all found it valuable. It got us going in the right direction.”
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“Thanks for the input, it was great. I really appreciated what you had to share and I believe we all found it valuable. It got us going in the right direction.”
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“I’ve worked closely with the AgeWise team in my role as private duty care manager/Apartment nurse at a retirement community. Because of the competent and compassionate service they provide, I highly recommend them to you and would personally use them if my family member needed care management.”
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“AgeWise has the gift of striking just the correct and proper balance between caring, being your client's advocate, and yet effecting change in a professional manner for the children who live at a distance.“