As your parent’s age, they may develop hearing, vision or coordination issues that could affect their driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that more than 700 senior motorists experience vehicle-related injuries daily.
Caring.com notes that certain signs and symptoms may reveal when you should consider talking to older parents about their driving. Taking a short drive with an aging parent could help determine specific issues. After the drive, you could diplomatically open up a dialogue based on your observations. You may begin by asking questions related to any issues you noticed. Planning for your discussion could prove helpful.
Discuss health issues that may cause driving problems
You may ask general health-related questions as part of any friendly conversation. Making a connection to driving safely could then follow. A hearing-impaired driver, for example, may not hear approaching sirens or horns. Try asking questions such as “Do you think a hearing aid could help you hear traffic sounds?”
A show of empathy may counter objections to making changes or relying on assistive devices. By acknowledging concerns over changes in lifestyle routines, the discussion could progress more smoothly. You may need to communicate that you understand the negative aspects of not driving when dark or after taking a prescription.
Recommend alternatives rather than “stay home” solutions
Rather than suggesting putting away the car keys, recommend available transportation alternatives instead. Carpooling, public transportation and ridesharing services could lessen the trauma of lifestyle changes. The major ridesharing services, Uber and Lyft, have increased their outreach to seniors and now provide accommodations to disabled individuals.
If a parent’s driving skills have deteriorated, a productive discussion may prevent an accident. An improved understanding of health issues, assistive devices and alternative transportation methods could help your loved one avoid harm.