Caregivers say it’s one of the thorniest conversations they will have. A family scenario that is becoming more and more common is when the adult children feel it is time for their aging parents to give up the car keys, but Mom and Dad have no intention of doing so. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis’ latest public education program, Let’s Talk About Driving, takes a deeper look into the increased risk of our seniors when they continue to drive past a safe age, especially during Minnesota’s harsh winters. It also offers helpful resources and tips to help their caregivers manage this sensitive subject.
According to research conducted by AAA, fatal crash rates increase beginning at age 75, per mile driven, and increase sharply after age 80. This is largely due to the increased risk of injury and medical complications with seniors, not an increased tendency to get into crashes. AAA also reports that in 2014, approximately 5,709 senior drivers were killed and 221,000 were injured in traffic accidents. These facts and others show alarming trends when our senior loved ones are on the road past an age where their ability to drive safely is compromised. Most older adults recognize their driving limitations and avoid situations that may put them or others at risk, but not all are willing to give up the keys so easily and that is where family members and caregivers need to step in.
To understand what it means to give up driving, it’s important to also understand what the privilege of driving means to a person. The ability to drive offers independence, control, pride and freedom for many seniors, but when their keys are taken away they will feel frustrated, depressed, defensive and helpless. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offers resources to help with this difficult transition, such as:
- Be prepared with new options – there are several senior ride program options, stores and pharmacies that deliver, or find a carpool schedule
- Make it fun – public transportation can be a whole new adventure when the city bus or an Uber ride are a senior’s new way of getting about town
- Think outside the box – encourage new activities that don’t require transportation like gardening or walking
Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis first offered advice on the sensitive subject of our senior’s continued ability to drive safely in last month’s blog article by discussing some warning signs that may help you know that seniors may be unsafe on the road. Situations such as confusing the gas and brake pedals, difficulty staying within the lanes, and driving the wrong speed are just a few things to look for. Learn information on these and other important warning signs by visiting www.caregiverstress.com. While some seniors might not like the idea of giving up their driving privilege, others may consider it a relief and will welcome the idea.
4 Misconceptions About Giving up the Car
- Driving yourself is cheaper than paying for alternative transportation.
- Driving is more reliable; alternatives are less convenient.
- “I can’t give up the wheel. I’ve been driving my whole life!”
- “I won’t be able to go anywhere or see anyone!”
Read more about how to handle these typical senior responses.
The dedicated CAREGivers to our senior loved ones are often asked for assistance from the family members to help them navigate the often difficult conversation about this important issue. Home Instead’s CAREGivers can help by offering an objective voice when family members may disagree about a senior loved one’s driving future.
4 Ways to Help Families Navigate Senior Driving Concerns
- Encourage families to learn the facts first and then decide the best course of action
- Recommend the CarFit program
- Discuss conversation starters and strategies for a talk with an older adult
- Encourage families to put a plan in place before taking away the car keys
Using the above mentioned Let’s Talk About Driving program resources Home Instead Senior Care offers, as well as the Safe Driving Planner families and caregivers can help the seniors make this a smooth transition.
Five Vehicle Technologies for Keeping Seniors Safer on the Road
- Smart Headlights
- Emergency Response Systems
- Blind Spot Warning Systems
- Assistive Parking Systems
- Drowsy Driver Alerts:
Read more about these assistive technologies recommended by Hartford Funds and MIT AgeLab.
Proud to help bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis, Minnesota communities, Home Instead Senior Care has launched many other informative public education programs such as:
- Let’s Talk About Rx
- Alzheimer’s Friendly Business
- Prevent Senior Hospitalizations
- Sunday Dinner Pledge
Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as transportation and supports the caregivers to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Unlike some senior transportation services that just offer door-to-door service, our professional CAREGivers make sure they get all the way inside, provide any assistance required at the destination and return them home safely. Companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care and other services are also available. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community.