How to Handle Aging Parents and Driving

ugh – Aging Parents and Driving. It is a tough topic to handle! AARP has detailed many warning signs children and caregivers ought to look out for in determining when they need to take the keys from their senior loved ones.

Aging Parents and Driving - is it time to take the car keys?

Many of these signs may not easily be identified, and as such, you have to take keen note.

Aging Parents and Driving: is it time to take the keys?

Some of these indications include…

* Getting easily distracted when driving. They tend to react to every movement or sound they see or hear when they are driving.

* Unable to keep to their traffic lane. If they tend to switch lanes too often or without notice, you need to stop them, or this can be a recipe for disaster.

* Driving too fast or slow on certain road conditions. They tend to go too fast on bad roadways or in dangerous locations yet go extremely slow when the need does not necessarily call for it.

* Hitting objects when turning or reversing. Their sense of judgment gets rather poor, and they find it difficult to back up without hitting the curb or even the trash can regularly.

* Too many unexplained dents and scrapes. Do you notice your elderly loved one’s car has many dents and scrapes, and they can’t say how or when it happened? You might need to step in and do something about it.

* Fear of driving. If you notice they have a reluctance to drive, it could be a signal it is time to let them hit the brakes and make different arrangements to get them around.

At What Age Should An Elderly Person Stop Driving?

Old age by itself is not the sole reason to have your elderly loved ones leave their car keys on the table. However, as one gets older, certain conditions affect the body, which will make it a little unsafe for them to drive.

Things such as hearing and vision problems occur as one gets older, and one memory might get affected. However, bear in mind that not all older people have these problems, nor do they have the same age issues. Therefore, it is best to watch their actions, and if you notice any serious issues, you know you need to step in.

What Medical Conditions Prevent You From Driving?

There are many medical-related issues to consider when you are wondering when to stop your parents from driving. Of course, we know they want their level of independence, but for their own safety and others around them, it is best to do the right thing even if they decide to get rebellious. When it comes to medical issues, you might want to take the keys if your elderly loved ones…

Have Vision Problems

Your vision is one of the most critical elements that need to be in tip-top shape before you consider driving. After all, it would be best if you saw where you are going to keep in your lane and avoid accidents.

Also, clearly reading signal lights on the dashboard is important to know when something is going wrong. Take, for instance, not seeing clearly and not realizing the gas tank signal comes on…we are sure you don’t want your loved ones stuck in the middle of nowhere and not remembering to carry their phone along.

Aging Parents and Driving: Hearing Impairment

A lot of older people, as they age, develop hearing problems, and this is a sign to look out for to stop your relatives from driving. Being unable to hear horns, sirens, screeching tires, and other critical sounds is a serious issue as this could be a sound to alert them of impending dangers. Doing regular hearing tests will help you to know how bad their impairments are.

Cardiovascular Issues

Fright can be a terrible factor for those who have cardiovascular issues, as while driving, they notice the potential impact of something that could give them a shock. Bear in mind, as the blood pressure rises, heart attacks may happen; you want to remove them from any instance that could trigger such a reaction.

Aging Parents and Driving: Respiratory Issues

Breathing is critical and having a loved one on oxygen is not ideal for them to be driving. Any health issues relating to respiration should be a clear sign of regularly checking when to take the keys away.

Vestibular Disorders

Many issues come with this, and driving can be a disaster waiting to happen. Take, for instance, you wouldn’t want them getting dizzy while around the steering wheel, right?

Medical Conditions With Prescribed Drugs

Prescribed drugs have many side effects, and driving could be a bad decision, especially if they get drowsy, dizzy, confused, or blurred vision after taking these medications.

How Do You Tell An Elderly Parent They Can’t Drive?  

As most people get older, they get stubborn and want to keep their independence going strong. As such, trying to take their car keys could prove to be a difficult feat. So, how do you tell them it is time to stop? You can choose one or more of the following methods…

Talk early

Don’t wait until you are about to take their keys before discussing important talk with them. You can do it early when they can fully understand and discuss it with you. Try explaining the risks associated with driving at an older age and the potential dangers that could happen.

Provide suitable alternatives

Tell them you are giving them suitable alternatives they can work with instead of driving by themselves. You could seek their opinions too about what is in their best interest.

Let them do a driving test

This could be one of the most effective ways to get them to agree with handing over the keys. After their test, they may realize it is a little difficult to maneuver their driving or realize they have slight other issues with driving.

How Do I Stop My Elderly Parent From Driving?

There are many ways to stop your relatives from driving, and some of these ways are pretty simple yet effective. You can try any of the following options…

  • Take the car to repairs and never take it back
  • Use their forgetfulness to your advantage and let them realize it is hard to drive as they may get lost.
  • Disable the car without their knowledge
  • Sell the car
  • Let a relative “borrow” the car for an extended period
  • Anonymously report their driving to DMV

Can A Doctor Stop A Patient From Driving?  

Doctors do have the power to stop an elderly patient from driving, whether by telling them personally or making recommendations to the DVLA. The patients’ may not fully agree, but their doctor might give their caregivers recommendations to help solve the problems.

Can I Be Held Liable For An Elderly Parent’s Car Accident?

In short, not really, unless you own the car that your parents were driving. Bear in mind, they have their own lives to live as you can only guide, helping them get around safely. To help yourself feel guilty if something should happen, do what you feel is best to keep them secure. 

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