We may have fond memories of our parents teaching us to drive when we were younger but as the decades go by and our parents get older, we may start to be concerned about their ability to drive. We worry that their reaction skills are not what they used to be, and they may be more prone to distraction.
It can be difficult to discuss whether our parents should stop driving, but we do not want them to cause a motor vehicle accident. The following are some reasons an elderly person in Texas should stop driving and how we can discuss this sensitive topic with our parents.
The effect of age on driving
Aging changes our bodies and mental faculties in ways that can affect our driving abilities. An elderly person may experience a slow-down in their reaction time and reflexes. They may need glasses to see or a hearing aid to hear.
Their muscles may be weaker and their joints stiffer. They may take medication that makes them drowsy or dizzy. They may even develop dementia.
There are signs that your elderly parent may no longer be able to drive safely. They may forget to use their blinker, check their mirrors or check their blind spots. They may start getting lost easily, even in familiar places.
They may have a hard time judging distances or following road signs. They may have difficulty keeping their attention on the road. They may even have gotten into small fender-benders already.
How to talk to your elderly parent about driving
It can be difficult to broach the sensitive topic of driving with your elderly parent, but sometimes, in order to protect their safety and the safety of others, you must do it. First, plan ahead for the conversation. Think about what you want to say and how you will say it.
Second, give your elderly parents reasons why they should stop driving. Remind them that it is a normal part of aging. Emphasize that you understand how difficult it can be to lose this piece of independence.
Third, provide your elderly parent with options. Make a doctor’s appointment to determine if your elderly parent is healthy enough to drive safely. This can help if your parent is fighting about giving up their driver’s license. If your elderly parent is able to remain partially independent, they may be able to use public transportation or a ride-sharing service to get where they need to be.
Safe driving requires a serious conversation
It can be difficult to discuss safe driving with your elderly parent, but it would be even more difficult to cope if your elderly parent caused a car accident that injured or killed them or another person. For this reason, it is important to discuss safe driving with your elderly parent including the possibility of giving up their driver’s license if necessary.