How does one prepare for a conversation about limiting or stopping driving?

This answer is based on a publication and research conducted by The Hartford and MIT AgeLab:

Do your homework before asking a family member to significantly restrict or stop driving. Get the facts. Learn about the warning signs of driving problems, observe the relative’s driving, and look for patterns of warning signs of future problems. In focus groups, people reported being more willing to listen to those who had driven with them. 
Observe the older driver behind the wheel over time. Has the driver expressed personal concerns about driving safety? Is the older driver limiting where and when he or she drives?

Discuss concerns with a doctor and determine what information to provide, given the relative’s medical condition. Some doctors may take an active role in assessing a driver’s skills and rendering an opinion; others will refer a concerned patient to a driving specialist for a comprehensive driving evaluation.

Investigate the alternatives for helping an older driver adjust to driving limitations. Consider how to satisfy social and transportation needs when the older adult curtails or ceases driving. Relatives may need to set aside time each week to meet the transportation needs of an older relative. Consider increasing the frequency of visits, outings, phone calls, letters and e-mails.

Be supportive. The transition from driver to passenger is not always easy or smooth. Your support and understanding is necessary before, during and after driving changes are made.

Expect to have several conversations to achieve a balance between safety and independence. Men may require more repeat conversations than women. Don’t be dissuaded by initial negative reactions. During each conversation, share your genuine safety concerns and desire to protect the driver’s best interests.

Continue Learning about Senior Health

More Calcium Doesn’t Mean Fewer Fractures in Seniors
More Calcium Doesn’t Mean Fewer Fractures in Seniors
Upping calcium intake has always been popular advice for stronger bones—but the connection between the two may be crumbling. Some scientists are sayin...
Read More
What should be included in a comprehensive assessment for an older adult?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Healthcare visits for older adults include many of the same components seen in all age ranges, such ...
More Answers
How can I convince my elderly parent to stop driving?
Dr. Jill A. Grimes, MDDr. Jill A. Grimes, MD
One of the most challenging issues with an aging family member is whether or not they should drive. ...
More Answers
What Is the Most Common Demographic for Meals on Wheels?
What Is the Most Common Demographic for Meals on Wheels?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.