How to Help Elderly Parents Adjust to Life without Driving

Being independent is very important for elderly parents and having to adjust to life without driving can be very difficult. Some seniors may try to hide the fact that their eyesight is failing, their reactions are slowing, and their driving skills are no longer what they used to be.
It is possible to help elderly parents adjust to no longer driving themselves without it being too traumatic. However, the delicate situation requires a measure of understanding and tact.
Here are some tips to helping seniors adjust to life without driving.

Adjusting to Life Without Driving

1. Talk with your elderly parent

The first step is to tactfully talk with your elderly parent about the need to give up the keys to the car. Maybe you have noticed some signs that they are no longer safe behind the wheel. Here are some tell-tale signs that it is time to give up driving:

  • Unexplained dents and bumps in the bodywork or garage.
  • Speeding and other driving violations.
  • Do they have new glasses?
  • Others, for example neighbors, have commented on their erratic driving.

It is good to tactfully mention these situations. Help them to feel part of the decision-making process.

2. Offer alternative solutions

One of main concerns that an elderly relative will have before giving up driving is how to cope with practical day-to-day situations. An elderly person needs to get around. So, try beforehand to think of some practical alternative arrangements. For example, could your elderly relative keep the car, but someone else do the driving? Be sure to check out public transport options in the area.

3. Have a practical schedule

It’s obvious that no longer being able to drive will cause inconvenience to an elderly relative. So, try to work out a practical schedule for shopping, hospital and doctor appointments, and visiting friends. Knowing in advance these practical arrangements can make it easier for an elderly relative to adjust to no longer driving.

4. Use technology

You can help your elderly relative to keep a measure of independence and control in their lives by introducing them to new technology. For example, online shopping can help a senior keep control on their groceries and other items they need to buy. You can teach them the basics of online shopping to alleviate any fear of providing their credit card information. Or, you could arrange that you complete the checkout once they have chosen their items.
Although adjusting to life no longer driving can be a stressful time, you can do much to help your elderly relative enjoy life without driving.
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