Many of us will reach a point in life when normal day-to-day jobs become more difficult, and driving is one of them. Driving can become dangerous when we don’t have all of the essentials to be a safe, defensive driver.

As we age, it is common to lose hearing, sight, cognition, and motor function. All of these have a tremendous impact on the safety and control we have as a driver. Although not being able to get from place to place independently can be challenging, safety should always be our top priority when it comes to driving.

Telling a loved one that it’s time to stop driving can be difficult. A loved one may not always react well to this conversation so it’s important to be empathetic but also firm.

From the day we take our first driver’s license exam, we are educated on the dangers of driving and the importance of being cautious. Talking about safety might encourage and inspire a loved one to stay off the roads even if they see nothing wrong with their driving.

Mentioning this idea or starting a simple conversation about dangerous driving and slowly starting to mention that aging affecting drivers can help you to set the stage for a more productive and collaborative decision. Providing facts can also help the older adult in your life to understand the importance of this decision. Be prepared for the conversation by coming with solutions on how to support your loved one’s transportation needs. Having ready examples of family support, ride-sharing programs, or companion services may help alleviate their anxiety over this change. This conversation can make a difference and be influential to a loved one and those around them.

By: Kara Gemmell, Director, Nottingham Independent Living

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