When should you stop driving? This is a question that plagues adults and seniors whose injury, disability, or age-related condition has made it difficult. With the rise of rideshare services like Uber or Lyft and autonomous driving vehicles and services in the works, driving is not the necessity it once was. However, giving up driving can feel like giving up independence, especially for older adults. This article discusses how to talk to older loved ones about when to stop driving and how to decide not to drive.
Starting the Conversation About Not Driving
Broaching the conversation about not driving anymore is a sensitive topic for seniors. It can make them feel like they’re a bad driver or that their independence is being stripped away. One way to start a conversation is by talking about health or age-related concerns that you have.
Give Seniors Transportation Options
Even under the best of circumstances, your loved one might not accept the idea that they should no longer drive very well. Give them the space they need to get used to the idea. Encourage them to look at transportation options available to them like:
- Uber and Lyft
- Private car services for several hours each week
- Public transportation
- Rides from volunteers through non-profit or religious organizations
- Free or low-cost ride programs for seniors
- Arranging rides with family and friends
Giving up the ability to drive means giving up some control and independence. However, when your loved one can choose how they want to get around, they may feel like they have more control over the situation.
When Driving Becomes Unsafe
Marian Betz, a professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, is one of the lead authors of a study that looked at 300 drivers over the age of 70. All of them had at least one condition that might make someone decide to stop driving. She found that a person’s age has nothing to do with their ability to drive safely. Rather, it is diseases and conditions that can affect driving safety. Personal feelings and conflicts also play a role.
The study used an online decision-making tool that helped participants learn more about their driving and reduce their feelings of conflict about it. This tool is helpful for drivers of any age because it helps them go through their options, figure out what their needs are, and make the decision that’s right for them. Older adults may require additional input from professionals like occupational therapists or family to make a decision about driving.
In the end, seniors must feel empowered to make the decision not to drive for themselves. It can lead to isolation, which can impact their emotional well-being. To avoid this, seniors should be in a position where they are still connected to their community.
Maintaining independence and safety are important for older adults if they want to age in place. A caregiver can provide the extra support that a loved one needs, including transportation in the Newport Beach, CA, area, when they need it. Reach out to Optimal Senior Care Solutions at (949) 535-2211 today to learn more about the services we provide!