Care for the Elderly - A Family Dialogue on Driving Safety
Today's elders are living longer and have more disposable income. More and more of them are traveling regularly, many by car. Unfortunately, statistics show that this group also has one of the highest accident rates.
According to the National Institute on Aging, about 600,000 people 70 and older stop driving each year. AARP surveys show that a third of older non-drivers complain of feeling isolated from other people, compared to 19 percent of older adults that still drive.
Adult Children Attempting to Speak with their Senior Parent(s)
Start by Talking it out.
Many times, having an adult conversation about what you have witnessed can result in steps towards safer driving. Use these tips to start the conversation:
- Discuss what you've observed and ask your parents what they think is going on.
- If your parents acknowledge the situation, ask what they think would be good solutions.
- If your parents don't recognize a problem, use concrete examples to support your case.
Seniors Attempting to Speak with their Children or loved one.
Be assertive... not aggressive.
- Be clear and defined. Don't allow the conversation to be sidetracked onto other issues.
- Even if insults make you feel better, these attacks are unlikely to be helpful and will probably reinforce someone else's negative perception of you.
- Your adult child or concerned friend may come to you with what seems to be an accusation -- perhaps it seems that they are saying that your not safe to drive anymore.
Look for points of agreement.
Common ground is a good starting point for resolving problems. Talking about where you agree also demonstrates that you've listened carefully to what the other person is saying.
A good initial compromise my be to agree not to drive at night or reducing your overall driving. A senior may offer to take a driving test or a defensive driving course to demonstrate their competence.
The Bottom Line
Many times, seniors feel that giving up their ability to drive means loss of connection with their community. Ultimately it can come down to a safety concern and in some cases, more extreme measures must be taken.
Transportation services in St. Louis and surrounding areas can seem lacking, but with services like buses, taxi's and agencies like Seniors Home Care, this gap can be filled.
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