I’ve been talking a lot about driving and how older adults are by and large good drivers. I've also shared how to keep older adults driving safely for as long as possible.
Even with this said, there may come a time that you’re concerned about your parent’s driving. You might catch yourself wondering,
“My parent just made a major driving error.
Is this normal? Or something I should be concerned about?”
In this episode, I share warning signs, or red flags to consider, to let you know that you may want to start the conversation with your parent about changing their driving or stopping driving all together.
Every day, I get questions from physicians, social workers, nurses, friends, and so many others about older adults and driving. So, I decided to create a series on driving in the hopes that it will help you to navigate a very difficult topic for many families.
Or red flags to consider, to let you know that you may want to start the conversation with your parent about changing their driving or stopping driving.
1. Does your parent get lost on familiar routes?
2. Have you noticed new dents, scratches, or other damage to your parent’s car?
3. Has your parent been warned or ticketed by a police officer for poor driving?
4. Has your parent experienced any close calls or car accidents recently?
5. Has a doctor advised your parent to limit or stop driving for health reasons?
6. Is your parent overwhelmed by road signs, signals, markings, or other things while driving?
7. Does your parent take any medication that might affect their ability to drive safely?
8. Do they stop inappropriately or drive too slowly, preventing the safe flow of traffic?
9. Does your parent have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, glaucoma, cataracts, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or any other condition that might affect driving skills?
10. Are you noticing your parent becoming angry, irritable and agitated while driving and this is unusual for them?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider bringing up your concerns about your parent’s driving gently and compassionately.
You could start by encouraging them to talk about safe driving with their doctor.
It'll also help to review my episode from last week on safe driving tips, which includes information on self-assessments and professional assessments. A professional assessment will help you get a better sense of how your parent is actually driving... from a professional! Click here, or the image below, to watch it!
Driving is a really big issue for many people with aging parents. I created a free Caring for Aging Parents Roadmap to Safe Driving to give you a guide for handling this super complicated situation. It includes the list of warning signs above, and so much more! Take a moment to download it now!
I’ll see you in the next episode, where I’ll talk with you about how to create a driving retirement plan with your aging parent.
Lots of love to you and your family,
P.S. Share this blog with your friends who are caring for their aging parents. Because, nobody should have to do this caregiving-thing alone!
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I'm a Stanford trained, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist specializing with older adults and families! I'm an Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and a staff Psychologist working with older adults and families at the Atlanta VA Health Care System. I'm a mom of two little kids and a daughter to aging parents.
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