Question: My mother is 91. It has become increasingly noticeable that Mom should not drive any longer. She is a very independent woman and I do not want to hurt her feelings. Is there an easy way to get her to stop driving?
Answer: Giving up the car keys can be one of the most traumatic events in an older person’s life. Not only does it symbolize the loss of autonomy and mobility, troche it can also affect one’s social life, dignity, and self-esteem. You are smart to not jump into a discussion about this sensitive topic without a strategy in place.
As we age, our reaction time and vision can change. First, make sure your mother has had a recent examination from her physician and eye doctor. Health changes, new medications and corrective lenses can sometimes be the culprit. Avoiding high traffic areas and driving at night can also help people be safe drivers. But if driving is becoming dangerous, the discussion will need to go further. Low-key discussions held over a period of time, discussing alternative transportation arrangements could prove helpful for her. If you are still met with resistance you may need to get help from her physician or eye doctor. The AARP offers driver evaluation and safety courses.
Straight talk that allows your mother to feel like an adult with a say in the matter will have a better chance for success. Assuring your mother that she will still be able to get around with the help of family or a caregiver may ease your discussion. A company like Comfort Keepers can provide friendly, accompanied transportation, as well as many other services in and around the home. Companionship, home cooking, light housekeeping, grocery shopping and errands are just a few of the services provided. These services are designed to allow your mother to maintain her independence, continue with her social activities and remain in the comfort of her own home.