Fighting the Driving War

Relinquishing the right to drive doesn't have to be a battle

Sometimes, as caregivers we are blessed with a an aging family member who readily relinquishes their driver's license. For others however, the determination whether or not their loved on should retain driving privileges becomes a long, drawn out, and emotionally exhausting war of sorts.

Why is it so easy for some elderly adults to give up their driving days and not others? Like most things in life , I believe it can all boil down to a matter of perception. Additionally like most families loved ones do not always see eye to eye on this matter. First, take a walk in their shoes. The best way to do this is to put your self in their situation by asking these questions:

How do I feel on days I do not have access to my vehicle? (i.e. When it is in the shop for repairs.)

Often it leaves us feeling stranded and dependent not to be able to hop in the driver’s seat at a moments notice. It’s like a limit on our own personal freedom.

What things do I do now as a part of my daily life that I could no longer do if I did not drive?

How do I feel about asking for someone to help me do things I used to be able to do for myself?

Now, let us try to get a feel for how they may be interpreting the situation: Is this new limitation symbolic of a negative change in their health/lives? Was your loved one just recently diagnosed with condition like Alzheimer’s that would inhibit their ability to drive? Sometimes it’s not the loss of the license at all that is the issue. The agitation over the inability to drive is just the projection of grief they’re experiencing in another area of their life.

Have they exhibited negative feelings toward aging?

Often the loss of an individual’s ability to drive carries a negative stigma: You’re old. By changing the implied message behind this necessary action maybe we can change the interpretation for the better. Lastly provide the solution. In your mind it is in their best interest that this happen. This is being done because you love them and care for their well being; sometimes the best way to convince your loved one of this through action rather than words. Identify and set in places solutions to their new found transportation needs.

Identify public transportation options.

Go the extra mile by printing out or writing bus schedule and posting it in their home. Write down the number for the local taxi service and make sure they have access to it.

Make errands and grocery shopping a quality time event.

If you’re able to identify a day of the week you’re available to help to take them to the grocery store, run errands, and/or appointments and BE CONSISTENT! That is their day and they’re counting on you, try not to let life interfere and look forward to it. You’re creating some very special memories with someone you love. This isn’t a chore it’s a privilege.

Set up private transportation services.

Many home care companies offer per diem transport services. VIP America is able to refer professional caregivers on an as needed basis to individuals needing transportation assistance! Often the fee is much more reasonable than most people realize and is less than the cost of car insurance, gas and vehicle maintenance.

Above all else, keep your calm and don’t expect this to be resolved over night. If you need support in this transitional phase call our office at 888-343-9205 ext. 1 to speak with our Intake nurse Lynda, and find out about home health care near you.