I think giving up driving is one the most difficult decisions we as aging adults will make. It means a loss of independence. Yes we know we can take a cab or Uber or Lyft, it’s just extremely difficult to make that decision.
If we live in rural communities where we can’t just call for a cab, we do have to decide on another option. Good friends of ours hired a driver. This worked well. They could go for coffee, pick up groceries, visit friends or attend appointments. This was set up for once a week with the option of calling to set up another day if they needed it.
Provinces and States vary in criteria as to when a driver is no longer safe on the road. Some places simply require an eye exam, other a cognitive test and others a driving test.
It seems like some physicians are reluctant to advise patients they are no longer capable of driving so this decision often falls to the family.
I just read an excellent article in the Globe and Mail newspaper that makes some thoughtful-provoking points. One I like is that driving or not is based on the individual, not on our age.
Instead of bullying a family member into giving up their keys this article recommends having a conversation with the driver. For those of us who have dealt with aging parents, it isn’t always easy.
So if you want to help out your children, relative or your trusted friend tell them that if they think it might be time to give up your keys they are to tell you. Or at least begin a discussion. Giving them permission makes it so much easier on everyone.
Sometimes as we age we might not notice the subtle changes that others do. While an initial diagnosis of dementia might not mean you need to stop driving immediately, loss of sight or hearing along with medication, possibly a stroke or balance issue may. Each case is different.
While we can’t stop aging we can be prepared and make it as easy as possible for our loved ones. Having an open discussion about driving is important. Don’t wait until you think you need the discussion, have the initial chat soon.
Here is a link to the article: