For most adults, driving represents freedom and independence. The ability to hop in to your car and head off on vacation or just to run errands is something most of us take for granted. But when a senior driver isn’t safe on the road any longer, convincing them to hang up their keys for good can be tough.
If you are an adult child or other family member of an older driver, these tips might help you prepare for this discussion.
Older Driver Safety: What Families Should Know
Here’s what to keep in mind as you consider how safe your senior loved one is behind the wheel:
Avoid Stereotyping: As people continue to live longer lives, the number of older drivers on the road has climbed. In fact, there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of older drivers since 1999. That translates to 40 million seniors who are registered to drive.
Stats on Older Drivers: Studies about older drivers can be interpreted differently. So it is important to look beyond the statistics when you are talking about senior drivers. For example, in 2014 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found over 236,000 older drivers ended up in hospital emergency rooms because of injuries sustained in car accidents. While that sounds ominous, the truth is different than these numbers imply. Seniors aren’t causing more accidents than younger counterparts. Just the opposite. The difference is that older adults may be a little more fragile than younger adults and that puts them at higher risk for injury in an accident.
Senior’s Point of View: Giving up the independence that driving represents is no small matter for an older adult. They will likely see it as a loss of control and a step toward becoming dependent upon others. Keep their feelings and this point of view in mind as you talk with the older driver in your life.
Senior Driver Assessments: The decision to stop driving shouldn’t be only about a senior’s age. Ability is the most important consideration. Several organizations have tools to help you objectively assess an older driver’s abilities. The American Automobile Association (AAA) interactive tool is one that receives high reviews from safety experts and families. It’s a self-evaluation that focuses on eight key driving skills.
Have Transportation Options Ready: It may help take the sting out of hanging up the keys for good, if you develop a list of transportation options for your senior loved one before you talk with them. From dial-a-ride van services operated by local government agencies to church volunteers, private transportation services and family members, bring choices to the table to allow your loved one to feel like giving up driving won’t mean giving up freedom.
Transportation at Randall Residence
One advantage of moving to a senior living community, such as Randall Residence, is transportation services. Residents can take advantage of on-site transportation to go to a doctor’s appointment, shop at the local mall or attend a cultural event with friends.
Call the Randall Residence nearest you to learn more!