The Driving Dilemma

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By Stephen Lair

senior drivers.jpegIt is an issue with which we are very familiar. It is a question that has driven a wedge between families. It is a fear that resonates with almost every senior. Many adult children believe their elderly parents shouldn't be behind the wheel any longer.

Just yesterday, I was sitting at a stop light when a seemingly driverless car crept across the intersection. After rubbing my eyes, I spotted a tuft of silvery white hair behind the steering wheel. Given the length of the hood on her 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic and the easily-apparent-from-across-the-street thickness of her glasses, it is beyond comprehension to expect that she was able to see what she needed to operate a vehicle of that magnitude—or a vehicle of any magnitude. I did what most of us have probably done in that situation. I said a quick prayer, switched my blinker from left to right, and turned the other way.

The independence that driving represents is something woven deeply within the fabric of each of our beings. It is a topic we are reticent to broach with those we care about the most because we know that driving is the “ark of the covenant” of senior independence. To be fair, I find myself more frequently infuriated by teenagers and college students who are entranced by their smartphones while driving than I find myself concerned for senior drivers. Maybe we should start by taking THEIR licenses away and THEN worry about the grey-haired road warriors.

The decision to take away a senior's license or even begin to have conversations to that effect is a difficult one to make. It is important to remember the emotional impact that will be felt by the aging parent. If you are struggling with how to have "the talk" with your aging parents, check out our website for some great, free resources.

This brief video is an accurate picture of the way many seniors feel when their well-meaning children take away their independence.


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