Convincing Your Elderly Parent to Stop Driving

This conversation will be a tough one to have, but it is necessary if you think they are a danger to themselves and others out on the road. Having this talk before accidents happen is always a good thing, even though your parent may see it as losing their freedom too early. You may be feeling guilty about approaching this subject with them, but you have to remember that you are doing the right thing and that people are not always able to take a step back and see the danger they are putting themselves in. They see driving as something they have already mastered, not as something that can become more difficult with age. There are a few reasons why people should stop driving, most of the reasons come with age eventually.

If you are no longer able to see clearly, this will have a great impact on driving. When losing eyesight, most people notice it more at night time when it can be difficult to make sense of lights flashing in your eyes and your depth perception with the darkness. At night you are tired, which means your eyes are tired too. Maybe a good transition for someone to stop driving is to first stop driving at night time or when they are tired. If they are able to still drive during the day, this is a good first step towards not using a vehicle to get around. Your reflexes may become slower. Even though you may be driving at the correct speed limit and following the rules of the road, other people may not be. This is where your reflexes come in. If you are unable to make snap decisions because another driver is putting you in danger or wild life has taken over your lane on the highway, that could be life threatening. Giving your loved one specific examples of their dangerous driving habits may sound harsh, but if you keep to a concerned and understanding tone of voice, that will help the conversation flow, rather than using an accusatory tone where it is easy to raise your voice. Showing compassion will also help. Help them come up with other means of transportation so they still have their independence on the bus or ordering a taxi. While it is important for seniors to get out and socialize, there could be other options to accomplish this without using a vehicle on their own. Maybe all they need is a ride to the grocery store once a week that a family member can help with and the rest of their outings can be reached by walking or the bus.
It is important to give them time to adjust to this new lifestyle. It may take a few conversations to iron out all the details but be consistent and remember that this is the right thing to do.