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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Talking to Your Elderly Parents About When It Is Time for Them to Stop Driving

As your parents age, you will have to have some difficult conversations with them. One of these conversations may be your growing concerns with their abilities to safely operate a motor vehicle. From the time we start driving, we associate it with freedom, independence. Approaching a conversation with your parents about the possible need for them to stop driving may put them in a very defensive position as they are concerned about the freedom they will lose if they give up driving. With so many emotions wrapped up in this conversation, you want to be prepared to try and make it as productive and smooth as possible. When parents stop being able to drive safely, everyone on the road, your parents included are put at risk.

Talking to Your Elderly Parents About When It Is Time for Them to Stop Driving

To set yourself up for a successful talk with your parents on the difficult topic of you being concerned with their ability to safely drive, be prepared. The earlier you can have this conversation, the better. It is even a good idea to talk about the time they may need to stop driving before any problems arise. It will help make them feel that they are not being ambushed when the time arrives to talk to them about it possibly being time for them to stop driving. It will also help them feel like they have actively participated in the decision-making process.

Be prepared to present specific concerns with your parents. If you have noticed any particularly dangerous behaviors such as getting confused while driving or possible eyesight problems, mention these specifically. Bring these specific incidences back to the fact that you are having this conversation to keep your parents and others on the road safe.

Be empathetic. Try to place yourself in your parents shoes and talk accordingly. Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and the impact it may have on your parents. Be prepared to provide your parents with reassurance that not driving will not be the end of them leaving the house to do the things that bring them joy. They will still be able to go to the store, socialize, and get out of the house. List alternate transportation arrangements that may be available to them. This could be a hired driver or, in many cases, may be other family members who have already volunteered their services.

Keep the discussion group small. You do not want to have a big talk with several other family members present. This might make your parents feel like they are being ganged up on. Also, make the effort to give space to your parents and their thoughts and feelings on this topic. There may be anger. They will likely have many thoughts on the subject. Make it a safe space for them to express all of these things.

Estate Planning Attorney

As parents age, it can become even more important to have some very difficult conversations. You may need to discuss long term care options. You may need to discuss end of life issues. While these are tough subjects, they are necessary to address. At Monk Law, we are here to help you and your loved ones put legal plans in place to protect your best interests and your futures. Contact Monk Law today.


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