When should one talk about driving with an older driver?

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

According to our research, car accidents, near misses, self-regulation of driving and health changes provide opportunities to talk about driving skills. Many older adults think that family members should talk to them when a potential problem arises. Here are suggestions for starting frank discussions without sensationalizing difficult circumstances:

“I’m glad that you’ve cut down on night driving. I would never want you to drive when you’re not comfortable or feel that it’s too risky.” When adults modify their driving in small ways without guidance from others, families should praise self-regulation as a positive step and not discourage the driver’s actions. For example, don’t dismiss the older adult as a worrier and discourage the driver who is leaving a family gathering before dark in order to try to limit night-driving. Be supportive and express your willingness to support their transportation needs.

“Have you asked your doctor about the effects of your new medication on your driving?” Many medications have sedative effects that can prevent a person from processing information. A new medication provides an opportunity for you to approach the topic of driver safety without placing the emphasis on the individual's skills or abilities. Encourage your loved one to talk with their doctor or pharmacist about their medications, and ask if any medications, or combination of them, should limit or stop them from driving because of side effects. 

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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.