As your parents begin to age it may be difficult to think about just what that means for them and for you. For all of your life, until this point, your parents have been the ones who took care of you when you needed it. As they age, however, it may be time for things to change.
This can be difficult for everyone involved. Changes in significant roles, especially those of parent and child, are almost never easy to manage. As it becomes more apparent that it is now time for you to care of them, they may be resistant. Unfortunately, helping them to recognize when they are no longer fit to drive is one of the tasks that may need to be taken on sooner rather than later. Elder care issues are never easy to tackle alone. We know what a struggle this can be and want to share four tips that may make this conversation a little easier for all involved here in our blog.
1. Do Not Isolate Your Parents With This Conversation. Not isolating your parents means being careful about how you approach the topic. You may want to sit down with them away from others. This means, for example, not getting the whole family involved in the process. It should be just you and the two of them. You also want to both avoid telling them that you are taking away their keys and avoid getting too personal, angry or demanding. This is bound to be a difficult time for your parents and they may feel you are demanding they give up their independence if you use the wrong tone. 2. Introduce the Topic Gently. Giving up some independence is difficult for anyone. This can be especially difficult for your parents, who may feel like they are giving up their independence to the very children who used to be dependent on them. It may feel like being told what to do by their child and that can be difficult to handle. Instead of springing this topic on them out of nowhere, try to lead into the conversation. If you can, start out talking about when they will stop driving long before it is necessary. This can help them get a better understanding and feel more comfortable with the idea. 3. Involve Your Parent’s Doctor. Sometimes the problem is that your parent does not want to feel like he or she is giving up control to his or her child. Your parent may feel like he or she is older, and therefore wiser, and should still be telling you what to do instead of the other way around. If that is the case, getting a professional, like his or her doctor, on your side can be all you need. The doctor is someone who is respected and admired, and may generally be able to give a more factual basis as to why your parent should stop driving. 4. Be on the Lookout for Warning Signs. Always watch for warning signs that your parent is having trouble driving. The signs on the list below are just a few of the things you should be on the lookout for:
- Easily distractible - Delayed response time - ‘Fender benders’ and hitting curbs - Driving too fast or too slow - Decreased confidence - Difficulty following road rules
Talking to a parent about when to stop driving can be extremely difficult for anyone. Just make sure that you are being patient, kind, and compassionate throughout the process. Your parent is dealing with a difficult period, just like you are, when this happens. We want to help you make it easier by setting up an appointment to discuss any of your parents elder care needs now, or any time in the future. Just contact us to schedule a meeting.