Art of Aging: Seniors Stop Driving, How to Start The Conversation

Telling someone they’re too old to be driving can be a difficult and sad conversation to have, but sometime it needs to be done for the safety of loved ones.

In this month’s Art of Aging, Russ and Leslie from Comfort Keepers share the best way to approach the difficult topic.

There comes a time in life when you should not be driving and it’s a very, very sad time to have to pull that independence away from an adult.

We’ve got Russ and Leslie from Comfort Keepers to talk about this difficult discussion that people need to have with their families.

So how do you know when it’s time to bring up this subject with a loved one?

“Well it’s time when you start to see there’s chances that they might not be safe in their driving. You’re right, it is a big sign of independence. And so you have to plan for removing this independence. Start the conversation early,” Russ Knopp said.

 What’s the best way to bring it up, how to breach this?

“Well, I’ll tell you how not to bring it up. You really need not to come on strong and say something like ‘you’re going to kill somebody.’ You really want to be, you got to start slow, you got to plan ahead it’s going to take some time and you got to be respectful. A good approach is even to relate it to yourself. ‘I’m not getting any younger, and the older I get dad, the less I like driving at night, how are you feeling about driving at night?’ So you’re starting a conversation, you’re not attacking, or you know they don’t have to put up their defenses,” Leslie Knopp said.

And so you start this conversation, what if there’s a lot of push back, what happens when they’re going to fight back with you and say no?

“There are going to be push backs, you know like we talked about earlier, this independence. So they’re going to say things like, how am I going to get to my golf game? So start working through some solutions, maybe you can get a ride with one of your playing partners. But start talking about solutions early,” Russ said.

And is there a way to compromise, is there a way to kind of ease into it?

“Yeah, there’s always a way to compromise and there’s a good middle road on this, especially if you start early enough, before it’s a crisis and you’re really scared. So pick a starting point that you both agree is important, so for example one is one is the driving at night, but also promise me you won’t drive all the way to Detroit. Cause driving on a high way is not that fun anyway. And I’ve seen that work a number of times and you know you can always use winter as well. Like right now, who likes driving around on snow and ice? And it’s a good time right now to start letting someone else do the transportation,” Leslie said.

 

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