“OK, that’s it, I’m taking your car keys and you can’t drive anymore.” Can you imagine saying that to an aging parent or spouse because you’re concerned about their driving? I don’t think so. Remember, we’ll all be an “older” driver ourselves one day, or maybe we already are? I like how Joy Loverde puts it in her book The Complete Eldercare Planner. “The goal is to help them plan for retiring from driving.”
The following lists several ideas/questions (within two types of conversations) that you could try incorporating (probably not all at once of course) during a normal, everyday conversation. Older drivers are smarter than we think and although they may not admit it, these conversations may just help them draw their own conclusions about “retiring from driving.”
Conversation #1 You Can Save Money (and as Yogi adds…. it’s just the same as cash)
“I heard you had to take your car in for service last week. It’s amazing how much it costs these days to maintain a car. Was it pretty expensive this time? It makes me think about the alternatives to having my own car. Then there’s the cost of insurance and it’s just getting higher; and with so many uninsured drivers out there… even if I have an accident and it isn’t my fault, it will cost me. How much do you pay for insurance? It seems like we pay alot. Then there’s the cost of gasoline. Remember when gas was 25 cents/gallon? And now it’s been as high as $4.00+ It seems like I use the car a lot less and really, as long as there are other ways of getting around, I could save a lot of money just by not driving any more. What about you?”
Conversation #2 Creative brain stimulation – SO…..what do YOU think?
“That was such a horrible rain storm yesterday and I really hate driving in that type of storm. Mainly it’s the other guy that I worry about, but then if my vision is impacted due to the rain, then I can get myself into trouble. How do you feel about driving in the storms? Oh, and driving at night is tough – there’s something about the oncoming headlights, or it’s just plain hard to see – does that ever bother you? What I can’t understand is why other drivers honk at me all the time? I have no idea why they do that – do you? Then there’s the speedy drivers. It doesn’t matter if I’m in town or on the freeway, everyone seems to go so fast. It sure makes me nervous – does it make you nervous?”
Getting Outside Help and Direction
There are so many resources available that will help maintain driver safety or help with “retiring from driving.” For now, I’d like to highlight one of those resources. I discovered some excellent information from a company called Keeping Us Safe. Taken from their website, I want to list a few of the questions they pose to the reader.
- Do you live away from your loved one and aren’t completely sure of his/her ability to continue driving safely?
- Could you use some help and direction plotting the future of your loved one’s safe driving career?
- Are you unsure how to address this issue with your loved one?
- Are you looking for a program that will help further your loved-one’s ability to remain a safe driver?
On the website I encourage you to take a look at the Self Assessment Program for Older Drivers, which is offered in several states; and their book: Beyond Driving with Dignity: The workbook for older drivers and their families. The workbook is designed to help you be “successful in overcoming the challenges of an older driver’s safety”. Since the Assessment Program is not offered in all states, another resource for you may be your local AAA Office.
I wish you well as you help the older driver you know to be safe, or to “retire from driving,” if necessary. In either case, it isn’t an easy challenge, but it is one that can be met. It just takes the right tools and enough patience. Thanks for taking the time to read.
“You haven’t failed until you quit trying” Anonymous