Have you had the “dreaded talk” with your parents yet? I’m not referring to the birds and bees discussion we all had to endure as teenagers. The tables have turned – adult children are now caring for aging parents and the vital conversations are a little different, but still just as crucial.
To continue to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as prescription medication management, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced their latest public education program, Let’s Talk About Driving. This program will help family caregivers begin the often difficult conversation about this important issue and offers a number of resources to the family and their senior loved ones.
Recent research conducted by Home Instead, Inc. revealed that 31% of surveyed seniors 70 years of age and older who are still driving said that a recommendation from family or friends would make them reconsider driving, but 95% of these older adults have not been given this recommendation.
Having a conversation with your senior loved one is a good first step and needs to happen. Watch this video with Amy Huddleston, Home Instead Senior Care where she provides tips on how to address the very sensitive topic of seniors and driving.
For many seniors, driving provides freedom, control, independence and even a sense of pride so giving up the keys can be a very difficult thing to do. When asked to discontinue driving, seniors may feel frustration, helplessness, depression and will often times become defensive or even refuse to cooperate.
Just having the conversation with your elderly loved ones can be very difficult and many people harbor feelings of guilt when they have to take away a senior’s ability to drive. When the driving skills have deteriorated to a point where it is dangerous to allow dad to continue driving we need to put our emotions aside, raise the topic, and have those conversations no matter how difficult it may be. The safety and well-being of your loved one and others driving our Minnesota roads are at stake.
It’s important to know the facts before making the necessary recommendations about continued driving. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help know when it may be time for the senior to stop driving:
- Is their vision or hearing compromised by age or health to a point where their safety is affected?
- Are poor judgements being made when driving or the gas and brake pedals being mixed up?
- Are you finding dents or other damage on the senior’s vehicle that cannot be reasonably explained?
- Is their reaction and response time delayed?
- Can they physically sit in the car to drive safely?
- Does the elderly driver ride the brakes when driving?
- Would your senior loved one pass a driving test?
Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis recommends using the Safe Driving Planner. It can be difficult to know if your senior loved ones are still safe when on the road or pose a danger to themselves and others. Watch the short videos, then click on “Learn More” for additional resources for each different situation.
When the time comes to begin making the transition, be patient and understanding but firm with your conversation. It is not wise to demand the keys immediately and remove all driving privileges at once, instead try these ideas such as:
- Begin by taking away driving at night or when the roads are busiest.
- Include the senior driver in the conversation and decision making while continuing to remain strong and ultimately the final decision maker.
- Listen to their concerns about getting behind the wheel and treat with respect and dignity.
- Remind your senior loved one “It’s not you, it’s the disease”
Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as transportation and supports the caregivers to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging seniors receiving care. Companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care and other services are also available. Home Instead Senior Care is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community. To inquire about senior services, call us
For many, conversations with our teenagers about safe driving and getting them on the road happen every day. But sadly, having that delicate conversation to help keep our senior loved ones safe by getting them off the road is not happening. Visit www.letstalkaboutdriving.com for more helpful information and let’s begin talking!