How Do You Know if Your Aging Loved One Should Stop Driving?

Please Share

Hello again. Carolyn here. 

Professional man driverLiving in Marin County, with a large aging population, I frequently see news reports about accidents and tragedies involving elderly drivers.  In recent cases, older drivers have crashed into plate glass storefronts, hit pedestrians, driven into a body of water and even disappeared altogether when driving at night.  

The struggle to get an aging parent to give up driving can be very difficult for family members, particularly when the person thinks he or she is perfectly fine.  Loss of independence is a very threatening thing for most of us.  An aging parent who is determined to keep driving, despite warning signs that it’s time to give up the keys might not be willing to listen to family members.  However, the senior might be persuaded to get a driving evaluation by an objective person just to prove that they’re “fine”. 

The Burke Institute http://www.burke.org/outpatient/services/occupational-therapy in White Plains, N.Y.,  offers what looks like an ideal program for drivers who may be marginal.  It’s their Driver Evaluation Program, conducted by licensed occupational therapists.
The program is described on their website as evaluating “vision, perception, attention, reaction time, memory, judgment, safety awareness and cognition. Each is thoroughly assessed to determine if the patient can continue to drive safely for themselves and those around them.  The in-vehicle evaluation, performed by participating certified driving instructors, allows a third party professional to assess how all areas come together during the actual task of driving. This comprehensive testing enables professionals to make a reliable recommendation based on medical knowledge”.

The cost of the program is $268, including a one-hour evaluation (ability testing), with recommendations and a report that is sent to the driver or physician requesting the evaluation.  With a report describing driving impairments in hand, it would be easier for any physician to tell an aging client it’s time to stop driving.  If the senior gave permission to the family to receive the information, all involved could plan for alternative transportation arrangements to maintain the elder’s activities.  The cost of this testing is far lower than the price a dangerous driver hurting someone or even damaging a car.

As a retired personal injury attorney who represented victims of auto accidents, I have long been an advocate of using licensed occupational therapists to do the job of assessing the multiple skills involved in aging parents’ driving, rather than relying only on family’s opinions when there is a conflict with the elder. That also takes the burden off the doctor, who may be reluctant to say that an aging patient should stop driving when the doctor and patient have had a long relationship and the doctor has never witnessed the elder’s driving.  There may be signs of early dementia, but everyone, including the doctor, is hesitant to say that the elder should stop driving now.
I applaud the Burke Institute for its program.  I would like to see programs like it all over the country, using their method as a model.  Getting this kind of testing is one sure way to tell if your aging parent should give up the car keys for good.

From what I’ve observed with aging individuals, however, the biggest challenge for families may not be finding an occupational therapist to do such an evaluation of driving ability. It will be getting the elder to go for evaluation.  Perhaps those who need it most will protest the loudest and refuse to be tested. It may be up to responsible family members to use other means of persuasion.  We can help you here at AgingParents.com to plan how to talk to your loved one about this touchy issue.  We also offer you my book, How to Handle A Dangerous Older Driver with a step-by-step plan anyone can use. Get yours today!

 

Until next time,

Carolyn RosenblattAgingParents.com

Tiny URL for this post:
 

Please Share
JUST RELEASED “The Family Guide To Aging Parents”
Stack Of CashCheck out our latest website: AgingInvestor.com click HERE to learn more
FREE Report: “One Critical Step You Must Take To Avoid Your Aging Parents Debts”
CLICK on the image Below
Testimonials by our readers
"Thank you for the article on the "grey area". It validated what I am currently going through with my Mother. It is so painful for me to go back and forth with her behavior. I just don't know what to do about the estranged sister who has exploited well over $50K of my mother's savings and my Mothers admitted " lack of "will power" to say no to her." Robert ________________________________ "I do want to thank you for the Webinar you offered. It helped me a great deal as I was facing the need to lead our family in finding a safe living situation for our mother. That information and the other information you offered as downloads gave me much needed guidance when I was feeling tremendous anxiety and uncertainty." Betty
FREE Report: 10 Warning Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help With Money
Get Quick Tips – Newsletter FREE…. Just CLICK Below
Categories
Archives
  • How to be an advocate if your aging loved one has to go to the hospital October 17, 2018
    Listen to our latest 20 minute Aging Parents podcast
    Mikol Davis
  • Long-Term Care For Aging Parents And Their Four Legged Friends May 1, 2018
    Most of us understand how pets bring joy to people and why they are important. This is particularly true for older folks who may have lost loved ones and who have also lost regular human companionship. A dog or cat…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
  • You’re Never Too Old To Party March 29, 2018
    By Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Elder law attorney, AgingParents.com My mother in law, Alice, 95, was looking forward to getting fixed up and going to the birthday party for her friend of many years. He just turned 100. She had help…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
  • Aging Parents With Alzheimer’s Disease: Reducing Your Own Risk March 29, 2018
    Fear of getting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia has overtaken fear of developing cancer among our aging population. There are numerous treatments for cancer, some offering true hope of mitigating the diseases. The same is not true for Alzheimer’s. There is still too…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
FREE Report: Mental Wellness Technique For Stress Relief