From the Sex Talk to the Driving Talk
This is part 1 of a 5 part series discussing the delicate issue of asking an elderly parent to retire from their driving career.
Remember that day way-back-when that you finally mustered up the strength to sit your adolescent son or daughter down on the living room’s couch, and begin the dreadful process of explaining the birds and bees? Don’t you still wonder what you even said, and what it must have sounded like? Now…do you want the good news or the bad news first?
The good news is that despite your seemingly irrational rambling during “the talk”, it proved successful, despite the fact that your child probably giggled their way through the entire conversation.
The bad news…round two is here and it comes with the same un-pleasantries from the sex talk, and may even be reminiscent of the first time you had a tooth pulled. Asking a senior driver, your mother or father to consider retiring from a long and successful driving career is guaranteed to be a very sensitive, emotional, and uncomfortable conversation. For everyone involved!
As discussed in Keeping Us Safe’s “Senior Driver Intervention 101” program, family members may sometimes be motivated, either consciously or unconsciously to overlook an elderly loved-ones driving abilities. Some reasons for this skewed perception may include:
1. Not wanting to face the fact that a loved ones disease is getting worse or that aging process is beginning to take its toll.
2. You may delay having these conversations because you want to avoid confrontation or presenting a challenge your parent’s authority.
3. You are already overloaded with responsibilities and are concerned that you will be forced to take on more.
4. You are afraid that you will offend or insult the elderly driver.
5. You are guilt-ridden at the thought of depriving a loved one of their driving independence.
6. For many other reasons, you may also experience feelings of frustration.
Clearly the above list helps illustrate the point that emotions and perceptions may play a role in distorting a family’s evaluation of driving abilities, however unintentional that distortion may be.
Sooner or later, this topic will come up on almost every family’s “Top 10 List” of delicate family issues. To complicate matters, this sensitive issue not only involves the possibility of restricting the independence of a loved one, but also deals with the ever critical issue of highway safety.
Put another way…a family’s way of handling (or not handling) this matter could ultimately mean the difference between life and death, not only for your loved one, but also for an innocent motorist.
Keeping Us Safe has developed a program designed to un-complicate some of the complexities of this issue. The “Enhanced Self-Assessment Program” was designed specifically for elderly drivers and provides an objective, professional, third-party approach in assisting the senior driver and/or his or her respective family in making decisions about the individual’s driving future.
If it is determined that the best course of action involves restricting certain driving habits, or even a complete retirement from ones driving career, the program will assist the individual and his or her family in finding acceptable transportation alternatives with a goal of maintaining the individual’s independence, and most importantly maintaining the dignity and personal pride of your loved one.
To learn more about this unique and innovative program and how we can help YOU, please visit Keeping Us Safe at www.keepingussafe.org or call us toll-free from anywhere in the U.S. at 877-907-8841.
In part 2 of this 5 part series, we will be discussing the topic of “who” should actually do the talking in an article aptly titled “Not It!”.