Are Mom and Dad Safe Behind the Wheel?
Telling an elderly parent that he or she needs to stop driving is a conversation that most adult children put off as long as possible. And rightfully so. It is a very touchy, emotional, and difficult subject to tackle with aging parents.
Many seniors remain surprisingly energetic and independent. For these elders, the family car is their “life-line” to the outside community. Staying physically active and engaged in volunteer duties and local activities helps seniors to remain mentally sharp. Household errands such as grocery shopping, driving to medical appointments, or weekly attendance at church are all functions requiring the ability to drive a car. As are regular social visits with family and local friends.
Some introspective seniors will be able — and willing — to identify their diminished driving skills. They realize that eyesight and reflexes are not as keen as in younger years. They do not feel as comfortable when behind the wheel, navigating about town. And there may be evidence to support diminished skills…scrapes, nicks and dings; a fender bender; near misses of greater consequence. Night driving can be much more problematic. Highway driving on the turnpike necessitates more speed and generally more traffic. Getting on and off the highway ramps at greater speeds can bring increased anxiety. Some seniors listen to their internalized fears and think, “I need to stop this”. But others do not.
There are family worries, also. Are Mom and Dad safe when driving? Or, are they putting themselves – and others – at risk when they are behind the wheel?
Home Care Partners provides care staff who are able to assist with some of these needs. Driving to the dry cleaner, or the bookstore, or the grocery can be accomplished with a home health aide behind the wheel. With care staff, we relieve the burden of driving while assisting the senior to get out of the house and accomplish the daily tasks and errands.
John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164