Initiative urges talk about driving with aging loved ones
A new scratch on the bumper or avoiding activities that require leaving home are often the first signs that families should talk with their aging parents about driving. Unfortunately, those conversations are not happening enough.
The Older Drive Initiative of the American Occupational Therapy Association notes that discussing driving with aging loved ones reduces their discomfort around limiting or stopping their driving, but families are reluctant because they don't know how to start the dialogue.
For many seniors, giving up driving equates to the loss of their independence, sparking feelings of anger, anxiety and loneliness. The ability to drive gives seniors the freedom to do what they want, when they want.
Nearly 90 percent of aging adults rely on their cars and driving to stay independent. However, having a license to drive doesn't mean someone is a safe driver.
It is critical for families to have a plan in place before a medical or cognitive condition makes it no longer safe for their senior loved one to get behind the wheel.
10 warning signs seniors might be unsafe drivers on the road
Fortunately, newer vehicles offer back-up cameras and assistive technologies that can help older adults continue to drive safely.
To access the Safe Driving Planner, or to view other program resources and tips, visit www.LetsTalkAboutDriving .com. For help in how to begin a discussion about driving, visit www.caregiverstress.com, then choose caregiver resources, family communication issues, 40/70 rule.
Rachel Carson, Certified Senior Advisor, is the owner of Home Instead Senior Care serving the Lowcountry since 1997.