Ideally, you begin the Driving Conversations long before you ever
need them. Your parents are decent drivers, in reasonably good health,
and things are going well. Now is the time to start. Why? Precisely
because it’s not needed.
Most people wait until their parent’s driving has deteriorated to the point that they are no longer safe and a danger to themselves or others. Then, the conversation feels sudden, confrontational, and imposed upon the parent from outside. Rather than relinquish their freedom mom or dad will, by necessity, fight to keep their independence. This strain can slide into a painful conflict that could last for months. That’s why you want to start the Driving Conversations now.
Rather than set yourself up as the enemy, start talking now and
reposition the driving conversations as a partnership. Let your mother
or father know that you value their independence, their judgment, and
their concern for safety and well-being for themselves and others.
For now, you’d like to invite them to look down the road into the future, and think through what happens when or if they need to retire from driving. You’d like for them to imagine and then describe how they’d like that process to go.
Links to other helpful resources. Each link will open into a new window.
A Driving Self-Assessment This Self-Assessment, from ElderSafety.org, will give your mother or father the basic idea of what should be noticed as their driving abilities change over time. Having them look at this will help to create a mutual basis for the driving conversations over time.
How Age Affects Driving and The Driving Conversations This is an interactive graphic produced by USA Today. It will show both you and your parents what physical changes happen with age that can affect their ability to drive safely. It also shows the affects of a variety of medications and their negative impact on safe driving. You can use it to get an overview of some of the topics for future Driving Conversations.
To Understand the 5 Stages of The Driving Conversation, check the links to the pages below:
Return to Senior Drivers Overview Page
Click Here to Read Stage 2 - The First Signs of Change
What to look for as early signs of change in driving habits. Self-assessment tools offered. Providing support to preserve maximum freedom.
Click Here to Read Stage 3 - The Warning Signs
Learn the signals that there are more serious concerns. What professional medical assessments could be suggested. Referrals to Driving Rehabilitation Specialists and adaptive devices for the car are discussed.
Click Here to Read Stage 4 - When It's Time to Retire From Driving
Critical questions to know when it's time to hang up the keys. Methods to ease the transition are discussed. Alternative approaches if driving cessation will not be voluntary.
Click Here to Read Stage 5 - Preserving Independence After Driving
Plan ahead to maintain their freedom. Creative transportation alternatives to driving.
Return to Talk Early Talk Often With Aging Parents Home Page