At first you might notice what seems like a lack of confidence in driving. Is your loved one passing you the keys more often when you travel together, or do they not want to drive on an unfamiliar road? Are they uncomfortable driving at night?
As your loved one ages or a medical condition gets worse, it might not be safe for them to continue driving to and from appointments, the grocery store or other commitments. You and your loved one should talk about how they can get their needs met if they have to give up their license.
If you or your loved one are trying to decide when to stop driving, there are resources to help you identify what to look for when driving skills worsen.
Age and Driving: Safety Tips and Warning Signs for Older Drivers is a comprehensive article that may help you look at the situation more objectively. The CAA website also has a section specific to the driving needs of seniors that might be helpful.
There is a Driving & Dementia Roadmap with lots of information for caregivers, care recipients, and health professionals to help navigate conversations about driving and safety.
Having to give up a driver’s licence or worse, having it revoked, is tough for everyone even though it’s for safety reasons. Your loved one may be sad, angry and embarrassed that a part of their identity is gone. It restricts their freedom and independence. They can no longer go where they want and when they want.
The loss of your loved one’s driver’s licence can also have a significant impact on your life. You may now be the primary means of transportation for them. It may be difficult for them to ask for a drive and they may be humiliated if they have to do it over and over. They may be testy about it or even blame you. Try to be patient and think of how you would feel if you were in their position. Maybe you could say, “I can only imagine how hard this must be Mom. I know that my day will come too and I’m not looking forward to it. But let’s try to make the best of it.”
If your loved one likes saving money, it might help to do the math for them. Add up the cost of the vehicle, licence, permit, maintenance, tires and insurance. How many taxis would that hire?
Now might be a good time to call upon that neighbour who has been asking if there is anything they can do to help. When you do, not only do you get the help you need, your neighbour experiences that great feeling of satisfaction from being able to contribute in a meaningful way.