It’s hard to talk about driving with the ones you love. For many people – not only seniors – that licence is a symbol of independence, control, freedom, or confidence. It means not having to rely on anyone else; it means not feeling like a burden.
Recently, Home Instead Senior Care surveyed a group of seniors who are 70 years or older, have a valid driver’s licence, and live in North America. They found that 90% of seniors are depending on their car for independence – which is not shocking at all! Those that drive know how convenient it is to be able to get yourself where you need to go, without the help of anyone else.
One third of those surveyed are using their car 3 – 5 times a week and more than half of those people are driving 40 kilometers or more.
Is your mom or dad still behind the wheel? Are you thinking it might not be the best idea? You are definitely not alone. Thankfully, Home Instead has put together some great resources just for you.
Caregiverstress.com has also put together some light-hearted, yet educational, videos that depict different senior drivers. Watch them here and see which one you think best describes your loved one. You can then visit the Safe Driving Planner to read the corresponding article, which has been organized by the headings you’ll see above the videos. The planner includes topics like, signs of changing driving abilities, conversation starters, ways to plan ahead, and much more – for each type of senior driver.
Father & Son: “Safely Driving” – Is your senior showing no obvious warning signs?
Mother & Son: “Safely Driving with Limitations” – Is your senior limiting her/himself, for example, only driving during the day?
Father & Daughter: “Unsafely Driving” – Is your senior showing multiply warning signs?
Mother & Daughter: “No Longer Driving” – Is your senior showing risks of isolation?
This is a very sensitive subject. You’re probably wondering, “How can I talk to my Mom about this,” or you might be thinking, “It’s time for Dad to stop driving.”
Amy Huddleston (centre), owner of the Home Instead Senior Care in Ohio, was featured on Hallmark’s channel, Home & Family, and stated that roughly 95% of families are not having this important conversation with their parents. They know that it can lead to their mom or dad feeling frustration, helplessness, or even depression. Many emotions can come flooding in for both sides – guilt, pity, fear or anger – when it comes to asking them to hang up the keys.
Below we have some pointers on how to approach the topic:
Please, visit LetsTalkAboutDriving.ca for more information regarding this topic. You can also go onto caregiverstress.com or caring.com for even more helpful resources. As always, your local Home Instead office is only a phone-call away, and we do offer transportation services if you are looking for extra help.
Do not hesitate to call us in the Mississauga area at 905.276.2273 or the Etobicoke area at 416.239.2200. You can also visit our websites by clicking here for Mississauga and here for Etobicoke.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.