Seniors Stop Driving, How to Start the Conversation
Telling someone they’re too old to be driving can be a difficult and sad conversation to have. Although it is hard to pull that independence away from an adult, there are times it needs to be done for the safety of loved ones. Here are a few tips on how to talk about this difficult discussion:
- Start the conversation early. By the time you start to notice that they’re not safe in their driving, it might be too late. Starting the conversation early and making a plan will make the transition easier for both your loved one and family members.
- Start slow and be respectful. Do not come on too strong, be respectful and take a slow approach. Start a conversation and demonstrate your understanding and empathy. For example, “Dad, I’m not getting any younger, and the older I get he less I like driving at night. How are you feeling about driving at night?”
- Think about solutions. There will be push back, and it is better to plan ahead and have solutions in mind. For example, if the concern is not being able to golf with friends, offer the solution of riding with one of the playing partners. Having solutions in mind before starting the conversation.
- Compromise. If you start the conversation about driving early enough, it may be easier to make compromises and find a middle of the road such as no driving after dark and no driving for long trips on the highway. Winter in Northern Michigan is a great reason to stop driving and consider alternate transportation options, as the snow and ice make it difficult.
Understand that there may be many conversations about driving. By acknowledging the person’s feelings and coming up with a few solutions, you can help your loved one maintain their independence and ensuring their personal safety.