When your senior loved one starts to drive erratically, it can be really scary. As her family caregiver, it’s your job to talk with her about possibly hanging up her keys before something unfortunate occurs.
Start out with an Observation
Before you address the topic of her driving with your senior loved one, set up a ride along. This allows you to observe your loved one’s driving without knowing you’re doing so just yet. While it can feel dishonest, this is a perfect way for you to get a real feel for how your loved one drives without making her feel self-conscious about it. Try to avoid intervening unless there are obvious safety concerns.
Ask Your Loved One to Give You Instructions
Another way to get a feel for your loved one’s ability to make solid driving decisions is to have her give you instructions as you drive. This allows you to have control of the vehicle while still identifying potential problems with your loved one’s driving abilities. When your loved one gives you an instruction that isn’t correct, you can calmly ask her to clarify her reasoning.
Be Open about Your Concerns
Once you have all the data that you need, it’s time to actually talk with your loved one. You need to be open and honest about your concerns without making your senior loved one feel bad or incompetent. This isn’t about tearing her down. It’s about ensuring her safety and the safety of the other people on the road with her. Try offering your loved one solutions to her transportation issue, such as offering to drive for her or ensuring that she has home care providers who can drive for her.
Get Professional Recommendations
If your loved one insists that she’s still safe to drive, it might be time to get some professional recommendations. Start out with her doctor. He can run tests that can help to determine where the problems may be coming from. Another professional recommendation to consider is with a professional independent driving evaluator. Some driving schools offer these services or you might be able to have an evaluation done by your Department of Motor Vehicles.
Work with your loved one to find the right solution to her driving dilemma as much as you can.