There comes a time for every senior when driving is no longer a safe option. If you have a loved one that is causing you concern because of their driving habits, it may be time to sit down and address the situation. Nobody likes to be told they are no longer capable of doing something. Many seniors may feel that losing their driver’s license is the beginning of losing their freedom and sense of responsibility. You can appeal to that ingrained sense of responsibility to help them see that the decision to continue to drive affects more than just themselves. They need to consider pedestrians as well the effect on their loved ones should they get into a serious accident.
If you notice your loved one’s eyesight, reaction time and/or general dexterity are on the decline, this can lead to problems behind the wheel. An increased number of tickets for traffic violations or ‘fender benders’ are a strong indication it may time to consider getting tested or re-assessed.
Some medications can affect driving capability, so a detailed look at all medications should be undertaken.
How to Approach This Delicate Subject
Telling the person that taught you to drive that they are no capable of handling a vehicle can be an intimidating prospect. Even if they are not the one that taught you to drive, telling your loved one they should reassess their driving abilities can be a difficult subject to broach. Here are some ideas to consider to get things started:
- Bring up the subject in a calm and caring, yet direct manner
- Stress that the primary interest is personal safety (rather than vehicular damage)
- Offer transportation alternatives
- Seek assistance from health care professionals (it may sound more official when it is not coming from a family member)
- Reassure them they still have their freedom
In accordance with Ontario’s Senior Driver’s Program, seniors must be tested every three years after they reach the age of 80. This test includes:
- An eye test
- A driving record review
- A Group Education Session participation
- Completion of 2 in-class assignments
- A road test if necessary
If you have a loved one that has recently lost their license or are just no longer capable of driving, our caregivers at Retire-At-Home Toronto are here to help. Our customized services include assistance with errands, groceries, and getting to and from appointments. We will help your loved one carry out any daily tasks they need to take care of while providing companionship and support.
Please contact our office for more information.