Driving

It may appear first as a lack of confidence in driving.  Perhaps your loved one is passing you the keys more often when you travel together, or they may not want to drive on an unfamiliar route? Maybe they aren’t driving at night anymore?

As your loved one ages or as a medical condition progresses, it may no longer be safe for them to continue driving to and from appointments, the grocery store, or to other commitments.  You and your loved one should have a conversation about how their needs could be met if the time comes that they need to stop driving. The following video may give you helpful tips on how to handle this very sensitive issue.

If you or your loved one are trying to decide when to stop driving, there are resources to help you identify what to look for when driving skills deteriorate.

This comprehensive article, Age and Driving: Safety Tips and Warning Signs for Older Drivers, may help you look at the situation more objectively.  As well, the CAA website section specific to the driving needs of seniors may be helpful.

Caregiver Tips

Forfeiting a driver’s license, or worse – having it revoked, is tough for everyone even though it is for safety reasons. Getting a driver’s license is an early sign of adulthood. So what does it say about us when it is removed?  Your loved one may be sad, angry, and embarrassed that a part of their identity is gone.  It curbs their freedom and independence.  They can no longer go where they want to go and leave when they want to leave.

The loss of your loved one’s driver’s license also impacts significantly on your life.  You may now be the primary means of transportation for your loved one.  It may be difficult for them to ask for a drive and they may be humiliated at having to do so repeatedly.  You might find them testy about it, perhaps blaming you.  Try to be patient and, again, think of how you would feel in their position. Perhaps you could say, “I can only imagine how hard this must be Mom.  I know that my day will come too and I’m not looking forward to it.  But let’s try to make the best of it.”

If your loved one is inspired by saving money, it may help to do the math.  Total up the value of the vehicle, license, permit, maintenance, tires, and insurance.  How many taxis would that hire?

Now may be a good time to call upon that neighbour who has been asking if there is anything they can do to help.  When you do, not only do you get the help you need, your neighbour experiences that great feeling of satisfaction from being able to contribute in a meaningful way.