Michael was worried about his aging mother. She had just had yet another small fender-bender, this time at the grocery store parking lot. He knew she hadn’t been as physically robust since her minor stroke last year, and worried that her driving skills had suffered. The few times he rode with her, he noticed her inability to turn her neck very far from side to side to check the blind spots. She was also generally more tired during the day than she used to be. All the evidence was pointing toward her declining ability to stay safe on the road.
When Michael suggested to his mother that it might be time to stop driving, she was very angry. She simply wouldn’t discuss it and lamented that she would never see her friends or be able to go to the senior center for the classes and workshops she enjoyed so much. Michael could see her point but still worried. He simply didn’t know what to do.
Giving up the privilege of driving is difficult for aging seniors and even when family caregivers approach the topic, they are usually met with anger and frustration. When an aging loved one refuses to stop driving, caregivers may have to take certain steps to convince them that they may no longer be safe behind the wheel. If the senior won’t listen to their adult children and family caregivers, then they need to take official steps to restrict or revoke their driver’s license.
File a Confidential Report
If an aging loved one refuses to stop driving and their actions are endangering themselves and others, family caregivers can file a confidential report with their state’s motor vehicle department about a possible unfit driver. In most states, the report is confidential so the driver doesn’t know who filed it. A request for an evaluation doesn’t even have to come from family members—it can be done by a police officer investigating an accident, by a doctor or another observer.
When the request for action is received, it triggers an investigation that requires the driver to show they are still fit to drive. The license may be suspended or restricted during this time. Depending on the state, this could include a medical evaluation, vision test and a driving test. If the senior shows that they are capable of driving safely, their license could be renewed. If there is any concern, the driver’s license may be suspended indefinitely.
Convincing Aging Loved Ones to Stop
The biggest reason why seniors don’t want to give up driving is simple—they don’t want to be dependent on others to get around. They also may feel embarrassed or frustrated about relying on others for transportation. It can also symbolize one more thing about their lives that is changing dramatically due to aging.
Family caregivers can reduce the impact of not driving by making elderly care arrangements for alternative transportation. Whether this means setting up a paid transportation service, public transportation or hiring a home care agency to help out with chores and transportation, options are plentiful. The elderly care about maintaining their current lifestyle, and lack of transportation can trigger lots of emotions. They will feel more reassurance and be more likely to accept not driving when they have reliable, efficient transportation options when they need them.
If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home elderly care in Garden City, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions. Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.