In most families, there comes a time to discuss taking the car keys away from an aging parent. As experienced drivers age, they may begin to have changes in vision, reaction time, and medical conditions that may cause them to drive less safely. Sometimes these changes happen slowly, making it more difficult for the driver to notice their skills have declined.
Here are ways you can help keep your older loved ones safe and mobile.
- Talk to your loved one. Avoid discussing your concerns while driving—wait until your loved one is calm and not distracted.
- When you find the best time to talk, explain why you are concerned by giving specific examples. Understand that driving is important for independence and self-esteem and communicating your concerns may cause your loved one to react defensively.
- Allow your loved one to talk and listen to their concerns.
- If you think your loved one needs to hear it from someone else, ask a doctor for help. Often, it is easier to convince someone to stop driving if a doctor prohibits it.
- Help make plans for transportation. Call your local community center or place of worship to see if they have a volunteer driver program.
- Organize phone numbers of family, friends, and volunteer drivers who are willing to give rides occasionally.
- Keep the number of a local cab company available and check with your local community and regional transit authority to see if they offer door to door shuttle service for older passengers.
Your Employee Assistance Program Can Help
Reach out for support when you need help managing your work and caregiving responsibilities. Your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide you with personal support for your eldercare concerns, including:
- Referrals to state-specific programs that provide elderly residents with a variety of support services including transportation, meals, and recreation;
- Legal referrals for elder law concerns;
- Financial consultations to help manage financial concerns that your elderly relatives might be facing; and,
- Support groups in your area for caregivers.
Your EAP is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information or for help in contacting your EAP, you can reach your DHS Work-Life specialists at email@example.com.