When our loved one should really stop driving… how do help them come to that decision on their own? And once they do, what support can we offer to help them not feel like their freedom has been eliminated?
If they refuse to come to the decision to stop driving, what resources are there to help you keep them safe and/or find them when they wander off with the car?
Here are some resources I’ve found helpful. I’d love to hear of any others that you have discovered.
On a simplistic level, getting someone to stop driving is really about communicating what the results of their continued unsafe driving might bring. (a) An accident that causes their own or someone else’s death or critical injury (b) lawsuit that wipes out financial resources if they hurt someone else or cause property damage (c) getting lost and unable to get home (d) damage to the car (e) concern of family for individuals safety being out on their own, and whatever else your family sees.
Providing someone with alternatives to driving and easy access to said services, will reduce the sting of removing the car keys.
Organizations listed below can help with self-evaluations and professional driving evaluations and the DMV in your area can be final word if necessary. Don’t be afraid to engage doctors or health care professionals to help make the case for someone that is having trouble with concentration, vision, hearing, depth perception, ability to anticipate and react quickly, etc.
❖ American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) provides a nationwide database of driving programs and specialists. If you cannot find a resource here, contact your local rehabilitation hospital’s occupational therapy department for assistance. aota.org
❖ AAA (Automobile Association of America) self-assessment for driving competency for seniors: https://seniordriving.aaa.com/evaluate-your-driving-ability/professional-assessment/
❖ Driving services: App-based on smartphone: Uber (uber.com)/Lyft (lyft.com)
❖ Driving services: Search local taxis and other on-call resources for local transportation under keywords: medical transport, medical taxi
❖ Silver Alert Program: Affiliated with local law enforcement, the silver alert (like an amber alert for children) posts the vehicle model, color, and license tag on highway signs, and via emails and text alerts to engage the community in reporting and finding a senior who has taken the car and hasn’t returned home and is likely lost. Contact your local police department for program details.
❖ Time to Stop Driving Materials: Copies of the pamphlets are available (single copies or in bulk) at no charge except for postage. To order, please contact Memory & Wellness Center at MemoryLane@health.fau.edu or 561-297-0502.
❖ Do a web search for Comprehensive Driving Evaluation program in your community to find a local driving assessment clinic to evaluate your loved one’s ability to manage physical driving as well as the cognitive skills required for safe driving.