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Family Conversations About Driving – A Few Tips
Posted By Amy Goyer On March 20, 2012 @ 10:58 am In Caregiving | Comments Disabled
I recently appeared on CBS This Morning and NBC Nightly News to discuss having conversations with older loved ones about driving. I received many comments and questions about this hot topic. So many of us are dealing with this issue with our parents. In response to these questions and in follow up to my post about my conversations with my Dad about his driving , here are a few tips about how to talk with your older loved ones about this touchy subject.
AARP has a great free online seminar, We Need to Talk , which walks caregivers through the steps of having these important conversations with their older loved ones about driving. I’ve gone through the seminar and it’s very helpful – highly recommend it!
Remember: It’s all about safety. Safe driving is a matter of health and skills – not age.
>Try approaching your parents this way: “I know you don’t want to hurt anyone else much less yourself, and I know how terrible you would feel if you did hurt someone. I love you and I don’t want you to get hurt either. How can I help you plan for modifying your driving habits or not driving at all?
Older drivers usually self-regulate and modify their driving habits for safety. Validate good choices and reinforce gradual modification over time.
Suggest they refresh their driving skills. There are many programs to choose from, including the AARP Driver Safety Program that also provide materials and tools to self-evaluate driving fitness.
Watch for signs that it’s time to have a conversation about modifying driving habits or hanging up the keys.
Monitor their driving; ride along with them – then you’ll have facts, personal observations and specific comments, not generalizations or vague worries to discuss.
Have the conversations about driving early and often – before a crisis occurs.
Be respectful. These are your parents and they will always be your parents. While you support and care for them, that doesn’t mean you are now their parents and they are children. Employ the “golden rule” – how would you want to be treated when it comes time for you to limit or stop driving? How would you feel if that happened right now? What would go through your own head. It’s no different for them. Be careful about what language you use. Discussing “hanging up the keys” is much less adversarial, belittling or threatening than “taking away your keys.”
Good luck and remember: discuss health, skills and safety – not age.
I’d love to hear about your conversations with those you care for!
Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org
URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/03/20/talking-points-tips-about-driving/
URLs in this post:
 CBS This Morning : http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57373780/elderly-drivers-when-should-they-give-up-keys/?tag=morningFlexGridRight;flexGridModule
 NBC Nightly News : http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/too-old-to-drive/6mvblpf
 my post about my conversations with my Dad about his driving: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/03/20/family-conversations-hanging-up-the-keys/?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS
 We Need to Talk: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/transportation/we_need_to_talk/
 AARP Driver Safety Program : http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/transportation/driver_safety/
 Top 10 Signs: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/transportation/info-05-2010/Warning_Signs_Stopping.html
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