Comments on my blog posts are mostly coming to me in person, via email, and on Facebook instead of directly here on the blog. Many of them are quite meaningful, so from time to time, I will provide a summary of what readers have shared with me along with further readings. My last post generated several conversations that I thought readers would find meaningful, so today I’m writing a list of tips or strategies and offering links with more information to help ease your aging loved one away from driving.
- One reader told me about a program in which elderly drivers are put into a computerized simulation that tests their driving skills. I did a quick Google search for this sort of program and was rather surprised to find that not much came up on the results pages. I think this is a great idea and expected to find that all sorts of gerontology departments at universities, state-operated BMVs, nursing homes, and other such places would offer this sort of test. It seems to me that this might be a wide-open market for anyone looking to launch a new service-oriented business. Such a test would certainly be helpful to the caregiver as it would provide “evidence” to back up what you already know in your gut. It would support your efforts to keep your loved one safe.
If anyone finds a senior simulated driving test service somewhere, please let me know and I’ll post that information here.
2. This same reader also told me that her daughter, a geriatric social worker, said that my strategy for using logic to explain to your aging loved one why s/he should stop driving is good and appropriate. To elaborate from my perspective, even if the older person has problems with memory and cognition, using reason and logic (in a kind, gentle tone, of course, not authoritative and reprimanding) demonstrates respect. Respect is emotional, even if it is also reasonable, and emotional experiences are kept longer in the memory. An older person who is suffering from even the slightest form of dementia will take an emotional experience and use it to form her own kind of reason (don’t we all do this?). So even if she doesn’t agree with your logic, or even fully understand it, she will know and understand that she is loved, and therefore, safe within your judgment.
3. Another reader told me about an aging father who would defy previously arranged accommodations to take him somewhere by going on his own before the designated driver arrived. I think this is probably quite common. In this case, more drastic measures are required such as literally taking away the keys or even the car.
4. Here is a list of links that I think would be helpful for readers to form their own strategies and plan of action. Because each person is always and forever a unique individual, there is no set formula to follow. Instead, those of us who love an aging parent need to gather information, collect resources, and create our own plans. Keep in mind, however, that we aren’t out here all on our own charting completely new territory; the only thing that is “new” about it is that it’s only new for us and our particular situation.
PS – There is nothing “easy” about this, but we can make it easier on ourselves and all those involved by being informed and prepared.