Is it Time for Your Parent to Turn In the Keys?

Elderly Care in Elsie MI

Elderly Care in Elsie MIIn your role as a family caregiver for your elderly parent you are likely to come upon situations that are challenging and uncomfortable. Handling them effectively, however, is essential to making sure that your parent can live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place.

One of the situations that virtually all adult children who are caregivers for their parent will encounter is when it is time for their aging loved one to turn in their car keys and stop driving. This can be an awkward topic of conversation, but it is one that you need to handle with confidence to ensure that your parent and all of the other people on the road stay safe.

Some indications that it may be time for your parent to stop driving include:

  • Damage to the vehicle. Make it a point to check their vehicle when you visit the home. Take note of damage such as scrapes, dings, dents, or broken mirrors. Even minor damage could be an indication that they are no longer driving as effectively or carefully as they once did.
  • Getting lost. Have you noticed that your parent is taking long to take familiar trips, or is getting "turned around" more often? If your parent is generally good with directions but is getting lost frequently, or seems to not be able to get to or home from familiar places with ease, it could be an indication of a cognitive decline that makes it unsafe for them to continue driving independently.
  • New limitations. If your parent is experiencing new or worsening challenges such as low vision, hearing loss, or arthritis, it could dangerously impact their ability to handle the skills of driving. They may not be able to accurately detect the street markings and signs, or may struggle to interpret the spacing between their car and the cars around them. They may have trouble hearing horns, sirens, or other important sounds. They could have difficulty turning the wheel, pressing the pedals, or moving the gearshift.
  • Poor judgment. Take a ride with your loved one and take note of their driving skills. Determine if they are using proper judgment such as following the posted speed limits, using their signals, staying in the lane, not following too closely, and other basic skills. Not using their proper judgment when driving can be an indication that they are suffering from cognitive decline, such as due to Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia. This could progress to further poor decisions and dangerous situations.

Discussing the need to stop driving with your parent can be extremely awkward. They are likely to feel as though you are trying to control their lives or that you are attempting to take away their independence. Reassure them that you just want them to be safe and healthy, and that that means they cannot drive. Suggest elderly care as a means of ensuring they can stay safe while still getting to where they need and want to go without relying on you all the time. This elderly home care services provider can provide safe and reliable transportation so your parent is not restricted to their home and is able to stay active and engaged without you having to drive them.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Elsie, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.