Getting old is certainly no picnic and there are many who can attest to this. Aging can oftentimes bring on a slew of physical and emotional problems that can make maneuvering a vehicle a pretty perilous situation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 36 million licensed drivers, age 65 and over in the U.S. Unfortunately, an average of 586 of these adults are injured daily in car crashes. At some point, the relationship dynamic between our parents and ourselves will change and as it is oftentimes the case, we will become charged with managing every aspect of their lives. It’s sad to think that someday, your elderly parents will have to surrender their car keys for safety’s sake and the transition to life without a car will definitely be challenging for them. Here are some tips that will help get the senior in your life to hand over their car keys:
- Health issues play a major role in impairing an elderly driver’s reflexes. There are illnesses that require meds or treatments that oftentimes come hand-in-hand with major side effects. Most healthcare providers are equipped on how to discuss driver fitness in the elderly population. Thankfully, many older adults readily accept recommendations that come from their doctors. So if you’re a caregiver to a senior, enlist their physician to help you get them to hand over their car keys.
- Eye issues that involve difficulty judging distances, speed, bright sunlight, inclement weather, the headlights of oncoming vehicles and nightfall typically, go hand-in-hand with aging and can certainly compromise driving ability. Consider consulting a medical eye care professional to assist you in getting your constantly squinting, tool-around-town Dad to put the brakes on his driving.
- If your senior has had more than their fair share of car accidents or violations, the police may request from the Department of Motor Vehicles that they undergo re-testing or even cancellation of their driver’s license.
- Use your family attorney to help explain to your elderly loved one the risks involved regarding their estate in the event of a serious car accident. The risks may cost younger family members their shares if a victim or their family members sue the estate successfully.
- Finally, try having a candid heart-to-heart talk with your senior about handing over their car keys. Let them know you’re making the request out of love and concern for their driving safety. Offer alternate transportation solutions that will make them still feel independent such as taxis, Uber rides, public transportation, state-sponsored rides, or even volunteer chauffeurs via friends and family members.