Figuring out when it’s time for your elderly loved one to hang up the keys is not easy. Sometimes your loved one might make that decision on his own, but that can be rare. Giving up driving means that your loved one is giving up a bit of his independence. Here are some things to look for before you tackle that talk.
Talk to Your Loved One about a Variety of Topics
Before you even bring up the topic of driving with your loved one, start paying attention to how he handles regular everyday conversations. Does he have a difficult time following the conversation? Does he think you’re talking about one topic while you’re actually discussing something else? These observations while having normal conversations with your loved one can help you to sort out his decision-making and reasoning skills at their current level. Keep in mind, though, that your loved one can have difficulty at this level and still be somewhat okay behind the wheel or vice versa.
Take a Ride with Your Loved One
The next step is to take a ride with your loved one. Preferably this should happen before you talk about taking away his keys so that it’s a more normal experience. Pay attention to how your loved one is driving, whether he’s following the speed limit, and whether he’s staying in his own lane. Is he having trouble with finding items he needs in the car, such as the gas pedal or turn signals? Watch how your loved one interacts with other vehicles on the road and whether he’s following the rules of the road or not.
Ask Yourself Who You Would Let Ride with Your Loved One
After you take a ride while your loved one drives, ask yourself who you would allow to do ride along with your loved one. Would you want your children or grandchildren in the car? How about other family members or friends? If you can’t think of anyone that you would feel comfortable riding with your loved one as a passenger, it’s definitely time to take some action.
Find Alternatives for Your Loved One
Before you have the talk, make a list of the alternatives for your loved one to driving himself places. There may be ample public transportation in your area or ride-sharing services. You or other family members might be available at any time to drive him. You might also consider senior services that offer transportation or even home care providers who can drive your loved one. The possibilities are great.
Do your research before you sit down with your loved one to have the driving talk.
For more information about how the caregivers at La Jolla Nurses Homecare can help your aging parents remain in their own homes, call 858-454-9339. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable senior care in Coronado, CA, and the surrounding communities.