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Older Parents and Driving

old car.jpgIf you are concerned about your aging parent’s ability to drive safely, you are not alone. It’s heartbreakingly common to watch a parent struggle with driving as they get older, not wanting to give up their independence or face their increasingly compromised abilities and judgement. It is just so hard to know when to speak up, before your parent is hurt, or hurts someone else.

There comes a time in so many people’s lives when driving can become a danger to themselves and others, but it can be a difficult subject to broach. No one, especially those facing old age, wants to give up autonomy or hear that they are not good judges of their own capacity. If you are grappling with this issue, here are a few ways that you might begin the discussion:

– You might tell your parent that you’re concerned about their safety and suggest that they make an appointment for an eye exam.

– You might discreetly check to see when your parent’s driver’s license comes up for renewal, and discuss with them whether they feel ready for that appointment.

-You might follow a parent home from an appointment, or ride with them, and see how they’re actually driving, rather than rely on their own assessment.