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When is the Right Time for Seniors to Stop Driving?

Driving ourselves around is one of those tasks that can become difficult as we get older.

Driving ourselves around is one of those tasks that can become difficult as we get older. It can mean putting ourselves and others on the road in danger if we continue to drive without the physical or mental abilities to stay safe on the road. How do you know when it’s time to surrender your driver’s license or when it is the right time for you to talk with your aging loved one about their driving abilities? Solterra Senior Living in Arizona has listed below what signs to watch out for when trying to determine when it is time for someone to stop driving, and how to best approach the subject with your aging loved one when it is time for them to surrender their driver’s license:

Warning Signs That Indicate it is Time to Stop Driving

Safely driving a vehicle goes well beyond the know-how of driving and the years of experience. You must also be in good enough physical health and have the cognitive ability to safely navigate roadways and traffic to keep everyone safe. If you notice some of the warning signs listed below, it may be time to have that difficult conversation with your senior loved one in order to keep them safe:
  • Unexplained dents or scratches on the outside of their vehicle
  • Unable to stay within their traffic lane or find the correct lane to be in
  • Hitting curbs when trying to make turns
  • Getting lost in familiar locations
  • Unable to react to traffic signals appropriately
  • Frequent fender benders or close calls
  • Inability to react to unexpected traffic situations in a reasonable amount of time
  • Not maintaining appropriate speeds on the roadways
If your loved one is exhibiting the signs listed above, it is a good idea to sit down with them and discuss your concerns and come up with a plan together.

How to Have the Difficult Conversation

It is very important to make sure your loved one feels seen and heard during this difficult discussion of possibly surrendering their driver’s license. The loss of independence can be scary and may feel very punitive for those who have been driving the majority of their lives up until this point. Asking them questions about how they feel while driving on the road can help pull the information from them instead of them feeling like you are imposing your observations onto them. Make sure to consider their feelings and make their continued independence a priority but stay firm on maintaining their safety and the safety of those around them.

Alternative Options to Driving

To ensure your loved one can still get around town and be independent, make sure to have alternative means of available transportation for them ready to discuss. Certain ride-share programs are available for a nominal fee that can be covered by all the available funds that are no longer being used on car payments or on car insurance premiums, or maintenance of their car. Offer to sell their vehicle and put that money away in a travel fund for them to use on other means of transport. There are many areas that offer public transportation or volunteer transport services. Senior living in Arizona can still be full of independence and joy, even without a drivers license. With the right planning in place and with open dialog to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved, senior living can be great!