Simple steps to help a Senior stop driving

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Driving with Grandma is taking your life in your hands. You'd like her to live to a ripe old age - and when she goes, you'd prefer that she not take anyone with her. How do you get the car keys away from her? Linda Asaif, of Aegis Living, has the answers.

Linda Asaif
Aegis Living
How To Help A Senior Stop Driving (Simple Steps)
By Linda Asaif

As a person ages, it is normal for driving abilities to become impaired. By reducing risk factors and instilling safe driving practices, many individuals may continue to be behind the wheel safely well into the senior years. However, it is important to pay attention to warning signs that age may be impacting driving ability and make the appropriate adjustments as needed.

If you are concerned about a senior driver and have seen the warning signs that it may be time to give up the keys, there are steps that can be taken to make the transition easier. Remember, driving means independence for most, and the method taken to help a senior stop driving must be gentle.

Step #1 – Create a workable transportation plan

Before dropping the ball on your loved one’s inability to drive, have a transportation plan in place, complete with the names and phone numbers of family members, friends and those who are willing to give rides. Be sure to let your loved one know that they do not have to give up their social activities, but may need to rely on others for help. The phone number of a senior transit van or bus is also a reliable route to take.

Step #2 – Show your support

Be willing to listen and not just talk about the sensitive subject. When your senior learns of their inability to drive, they may have a lot of questions that they want answered. Be available to listen and offer support, and let them know that you are there for them.

Step #3 – Have a physician or authority figure speak to senior

If the senior does not want to listen to friends and family have the physician, pastor or authority figure speak to your loved one. The encouragement and reassurance from an outsider can offer a new perspective on the situation and prompt the initiation of a driving assessment or relinquishment of the keys.

Step #4 – Contact the insurance company

If your family member or loved one is not compliant and stubborn in their need for independent transportation, you can reach out to Medicare or the automobile insurance company for help. The insurance companies may assess the senior driver’s record and age and submit a request for a driving evaluation. Your senior will need to comply if they want to continue receiving benefits and coverage.

Step #5 – Report anonymously to the Department of Motor Vehicles

While this tactic may seem sneaky, if you are truly concerned for your loved one’s life and other people’s safety, you may need to pick up the phone and get the help you need. When you speak with the DMV it is appropriate to remain anonymous and simply report the unsafe driver. The DMV should contact the individual and have them complete a driving evaluation to ensure that they are a safe or unsafe driver. Precautions will be taken immediately following the driving exam.


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