Driving Isn't Safe Anymore. Here's How to Wrest Keys Away Before They're Hurt or Arrested -- BrightStar Care/North-Suburban
Bless them, you love them, but you know it's time to face the truth: it's no longer safe for them OR ANYONE on the streets with them behind the wheel. You've seen the signs:
- Hitting curbs when turning
- Forgetting destinations
- Too many accidents and fender benders.
- Going through red lights or not seeing stop signs
- Changing lanes without signaling
It happens all the time, but the AAA is quick to acknowledge that older drivers are safer drivers compared to other groups. They are more cautious, drive more slowly, observe speed limits, and are wiser about drinking and driving; (they also rarely "peel out.")
However, (you knew that was coming) it doesn't change the fact that seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years. Here's are some stats about the challenges senior drivers and the public face:
Just Denting the Facts
- Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase beginning at age 75 and rise sharply after age 80
- Since older drivers are more fragile, their fatality rates are 17 times higher than those of 25- to 64-year-olds
- In 2014, nearly 5,709 senior drivers were killed and 221,000 were injured in traffic crashes.
There's more, but that's more than enough. The question facing adult children, of course, is
how to talk to your mom or dad about dangers involved and most importantly --and it's not easy--how can you get the keys away without a huge fight, hurt feelings or long-term damage to your relationship. Here are some suggestions we've uncovered through our BrightStar Care/North-Suburban research -- and from ample discussions we've had with adult children. This may not fit into our forte of in-home care; it's outside-of-home-care, but caring is caring in our book.
Rules of the Road for Wresting Keys Away
- Be empathetic! Put yourself in their driver's seat. Loss of keys means a loss of a lot of independence.
Consequentially it means dependence on others for rides to the store and doctor's office and even Starbucks. There's Uber or Lyft now, but will they take advantage? It's not likely. These services are still highly mysterious to a lot of seniors.
- One conversation will not do it. You'll need frequent, candid and ongoing conversations. Nothing needs to happen immediately, which will give your mom or dad time to accept and adjust.
- Always offer patience and understanding. Don't start out with pronouncements like,
“you need to stop driving.” You'll be more successful by expressing your love and concern for their safety and health, the dangers of certain road conditions, etc. It's important not to discuss their driving while they are at the wheel and you're well off to resist being a backseat driver who points out mistake after mistake.
- Make them part of the conversation and decision. It's best if you do not make the decision for them and hide the keys or put the car somewhere else.
So how do you get them to see the light and even lead the way? Consider discussing things like "those crazy drivers out there" and the problems they are causing, or ask them if they feel comfortable and safe behind the wheel these days?
The AAA recommends listening and patience, patience, patience.
- Consider involving others in the family. This can be awkward, but if your folks are being very resistant, ask others who love them to discuss the whole issue. Research shows that older drivers are more likely to listen to those outside the family when it comes to their driving. Make a big note of that.
- Ask the family doctor to get involved. Communicate your concerns to your mom or dad's primary care physician. They may be willing to discuss the issue while talking about physical limitations or problems.
- Put a plan together in advance. It may be that you can gather helpful resources and people who are willing to assist in advance of a major discusson. You can put a whole team together and almost present it as a fait accompli.
"Mom, a lot of people who love you have volunteered to
be part of your private chauffeur service. I can be available on Thursday and Saturday to drive you anywhere. Your cousin says she can take you to the doctor's office. We've got a driving service on call anytime. All you have to do is dial the number."
Problems that are noted with immediate solutions on hand are much more likely to have an impact.
Put BrightStar Care/Suburban in the Driver's Seat
We offer many services through our in-home care facility, from skilled nursing care to specialized care for dementia and Alzheimer's patients. We also happily offer transportation services, including trips to outpatient facilities, therapy appointments, prescription pick up and delivery and much more. It's our pleasure and passion to serve and show you how we put our mettle
to the pedal to take care of patients and their families
Contact us on this website or call us day or night at 847-510-5750 for more information and to take advantage of our FREE CONSULTATION IN YOUR HOME.
Dangerous Senior Drivers: https://www.caring.com/articles/dangerous-senior-drivers
American Automobile Association:http://seniordriving.aaa.com/resources-family-friends/conversations-about-driving/facts-research/