Access and Resources
Helping A Family Member Hang Up the Car Keys
Whether you live far away from an aging family member or close by, he or she may need your help with the decision to stop driving. Hanging up the keys can be a difficult choice to make, and not just for the driver.
Families might get concerned about the burden that a non-driving senior may place on the rest of the family, or about the senior’s perception of becoming such a burden. The car keys can become a source of family disputes. How long a senior family member can safely operate a car, under what conditions, who gets to decide when it’s time to stop – all these issues can be very troubling. In the busy, stressful world in which we live, the decision to stop driving is one often postponed or completely avoided.
The sudden loss of a driver’s licence may be traumatic, however, especially after an accident. Older drivers can present a considerable risk to other road users. People 65 and over are much more likely than most other drivers to commit an infraction that leads to an intersection crash.
Early and thoughtful consideration is the surest way to make the transition from driving easier for everyone. Families can prepare by creating a plan for healthy, post-driving life. The following selection of resources may be a great help in the planning process.
The UWLM Metro Vancouver Family and Friend Caregivers Information and Resource Handbook 2013/2014 supplies key information about the topics caregivers struggle with the most, including driver transitioning and seniors transportation.
We Need to Talk: Talking With Older Drivers is a free, on-line seminar by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). It shows a way to assess your loved ones’ driving skills and provides tools that will help you open a conversation about hanging up the keys.
Verbal communication is essential to a smooth transition from driving. To learn more about how to talk with older members of your family or community, read The 70-40 Rule – A Guide to Conversation Starters for Boomers and Their Loved Ones.
Talking is one thing; coming to a decision is quite another. Beyond Driving With Dignity: The workbook for families of older drivers provides a “roadmap” you can follow when the driving ability of a senior family member falls into doubt. To order “Beyond Driving with Dignity” click here.
Seniors Behind the Wheel: Helping Elderly Parents Transition from Driver to Passenger is a brief article about the issue of driving cessation. The author provides a range of strategies for children to consider when helping their parents transition from driving.
Boomers’ Burden: Aging Parents Who Shouldn’t Drive is an article discussing the challenges related to supporting elderly parents through this transition – and ways to overcome them.
Berkeley Parents Network provides a discussion board for children of elderly drivers concerned with their driving abilities and safety on the road.
Many other resources available from this site will help you provide your loved one with appropriate support and information.