Senior Care TV

How And When To Take The Keys Away

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Hi, everybody, it's Bre, from Affordable HomeCare, and welcome to this week's episode of "Senior Care TV". Today, I'm going to discuss a very sensitive topic that anybody dealing with aging parents or in the senior industry will most likely come across at one point in their lifetime, and that is when to take the keys away. I'm going to provide you with some tips on approaching the subject, helpful steps to help make that transition, and a couple of warning signs that it might be time to provide other transportation options for your loved one.

So first, you know, this is a dreaded conversation that adult children have with their aging parents. I actually read an article in the New York Times health publication that said nearly 30% of people thought having a discussion about future funeral plans was easier than talking about taking their parents' keys away. Meanwhile, another 18% surveyed in this study said that moving into assisted living and talking about selling the family home was easier than discussing the driving issue. So this is just definitely not an easy conversation to have.

So first off, I wanna talk about a couple of tips. Plan on talking to your parents well beforehand so that there's a plan in place before the inevitable happens. Also, you know, helping them to reassure them that there's going to be other opportunities for them to get around. Again, having a plan and being prepared can really help make this transition a lot easier. They may be a lot more agreeable and feel a lot less like their independence is being pulled away from them. Also helping to reassure them that you're gonna help them to find other ways to get around and giving them other options may make them more agreeable because they'll understand you're not trying to pull their independence away from them.

Okay, so making the transition. If your loved one is denying that they're having driving issues and you're having trouble, you know, preventing them from getting behind the wheel, more drastic measures may have to be taken. Some of the things that you can do is offer to drive with them. They may get uncomfortable, you may experience a little anxiety and sense that they're not fully comfortable with it, that is a definite warning sign that maybe it's time to have that talk, and maybe it'll give them an opportunity to feel more comfortable to open up about it.

Also at the DMV, take them there for a driving and vision test. Should they fail to pass the test, their license is gonna be taken away right then and there. But if they happen to pass, you can go back every six months for a reassessment. Again, that's why it's important to have this conversation beforehand, before you have to make some crucial decisions.

So some things to look out for that it might be time to start taking the keys away, some of them are very obvious, vision changes, hearing changes. Unfortunately, it's not always that obvious though, if you start noticing more dings and dents and things like that in their car. How's their hearing? They need to be able to hear sirens and horns and things like that. General physical mobility is very important when it comes to driving too, reaction times, you know, from steering, from neck and shoulder flexibility, to be able to look over their shoulders quickly. Backing up requires a lot of physical dexterity, you know, which declines in aging with your hands and things like that.

Common conditions like arthritis and Parkinson's can really affect the dexterity, which is not only required just to drive, but just to drive safely. So drive with your parents often, I mention this again because I think it is so important. I can share a quick story with you. When my grandfather was still alive, I remember driving with him and he was running through red lights, forgetting to stop, forgetting to yield. And I remember just sitting in that car ride, like what is happening? It was almost as if he just wasn't paying attention to the road signs and things like that. So I remember going home and telling my grandmother, "oh, this was a crazy drive." So I think I actually kind of inspired that conversation between the two of them.

But again, we know that this is a difficult conversation, approach it with love. Don't confront them, don't accuse, but address your concerns thoughtfully and with a plan. We know this is a tough conversation to have, so you'll want to approach it with love, but address your concerns thoughtfully and have a plan in place. Thanks everybody for talking with me today, I hope I provided you with some helpful pointers on when it might be time to take the keys away, and some steps you can do to help along the way. Next week, I'm just gonna talk about how the past year has impacted our seniors. Thanks everybody, bye-bye.