As your parent ages, helping them to adjust to life after retirement can become more and more difficult. One of the most difficult topics for an aging parent is ceasing their ability to drive. This can be an emotionally-charged conversation that can cause tension and stress on both sides. It’s essential that you approach it from the right angle, using patience and understanding. If done well, you will not only help keep your loved ones safe but show how much you care about them at the same time! In this blog post, Hugues Joublin discusses some ways in which you can successfully guide your aging parents through ‘retiring from driving’ with minimal emotional turmoil.
Hugues Joublin On How To Help Your Aging Parent ‘Retire From Driving’
1. Get a Professional Evaluation:
According to Hugues Joublin, having a professional evaluation can be an important part of helping your aging parent ‘retire from driving,‘ as it can provide insight into their overall physical and mental health as well as their ability to drive safely. It is best to have the evaluation done by an occupational therapist or gerontologist who specializes in driving evaluations for seniors so that you can get an accurate assessment and make informed decisions about your parent’s future behind the wheel. The evaluation will typically involve a physical test in which the senior must perform various tasks to assess their motor skills, reaction time, coordination, vision, and hearing. There may also be a cognitive test where they are asked questions about road signs or rules of the road. An on-road driving test may also be conducted to evaluate their actual driving skills in a real-world setting. After all, tests are completed, the therapist or gerontologist will provide you and your parent with an assessment of their current ability to drive safely and make recommendations for any adjustments that should be made.
2. Utilize Adaptive Equipment:
For those families whose aging parents are able to continue driving safely, it may still be beneficial to utilize various adaptive equipment options which can help improve safety while on the road. Examples of such equipment include pedals extenders which can help allow a senior’s feet to reach the brake and accelerator more easily; steering wheel covers that can add extra padding and grip; rearview mirrors that can be adjusted to give the driver a wider view; and dashboard mats or similar items that can help reduce glare from the dashboard. Additionally, you may want to consider adding an automated braking system that will apply brakes if needed in an emergency situation. These types of safety features can make all the difference when it comes to your aging parent’s ability to keep driving safely for as long as possible.
3. Consider Transportation Alternatives:
In cases where an older parent is no longer able to drive safely, it is important, as per Hugues Joublin, to explore alternative transportation options so they can still remain active and independent in their lives. This could involve public transportation such as buses or trains, ride-share services like Uber or Lyft, or even private transportation services that specialize in providing seniors with door-to-door service. Additionally, you may also want to look into special programs from local organizations or senior centers that offer discounted rates for those seeking transportation services. Taking the time to research and find the right option for your aging parent can help them stay connected to their community and still remain active in their lives.
1. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 drivers aged 65 and older report that they have driven after drinking alcohol at least once within the past month.
2. A study by Age UK found that only 17% of people over 75 years old spend more than 5 hours a week driving a car or taking public transport.
3. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 34,247 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, with 27% of those deaths being persons aged 65 and older
Hugues Joublin’s Concluding Thoughts
By considering these three tips by Hugues Joublin—getting a professional evaluation, utilizing adaptive equipment, and exploring alternative transportation options—you can help your aging parent ‘retire from driving’ in a safe and informed way. Ensuring they get the care they need while remaining independent is an important part of helping them age gracefully and safely.