We Need to Talk About Driving – Why Have the Conversation?

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​​ warning signs about parent driving

It’s important to note that we’re not telling you to ask your parents to stop driving. What we want to encourage is for families to take the responsibility of having these conversations before an incident happens.  

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​​We want to make sure your family is safe but also that we approach a very touchy subject with tact and respect. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable trying possibly restrict something people have been doing for decades but it’s never been more important to start. 

 

Nine in ten seniors have not talked to their loved ones about driving.

Driving can be a very difficult subject to approach with a senior loved one, often because they are dependent on their vehicle and we don’t want to take that away. While many see the driving conversation as a difficult one to have, discussing driving with our loved ones actually reduces discomfort around limiting or stopping the driving.
Preparing a driving plan for a senior loved one will help reduce stress and anxiety around phasing out of driving, while still maintaining their independence. One in three seniors agrees a recommendation from family of friends to transition from driving would make them reconsider driving.
There are a number of resources and conversation starters available at LetsTalkAboutDriving.ca including an interactive Safe Driving Planner.
LetsTalkAboutDriving.ca also addresses four misconceptions about giving up the car keys. They are:

  • That driving yourself is cheaper than paying for alternative transportation
  • That driving is more reliable; alternatives are less convenient
  • That by giving up driving, seniors will forfeit the sense of identity a license may have provided
  • That seniors who choose not to drive won’t be able to stay engaged with their community
 

When should we have the conversation?

Driving gives seniors the freedom to do what they want, when they want and we need to respect that independence.
There are a number of warning signs that seniors may be unsafe drivers on the road. They are:

  • Mysterious or unexplainable dents in their vehicle
  • Poor judgment on turns
  • Delayed reaction and response time
  • Impaired vision, medication use, dementia and failing cognitive skills affect an individual’s ability to drive.

What if They Have to Stop Driving?

We need to proactively address driving with our senior loves ones and ensure they take an active role in determining whether their driving should be reduced or eliminated. If a senior has to give up their driving it is important to know that giving it up is not giving up engagement in the community. There are a number of alternative transportation methods they can use.
It’s going to take a team effort to make sure they are okay with it and don’t feel like they’re abandoning a huge part of their lives

 

Key Things to Keep in Mind

Although most seniors drive carefully, they are in the highest risk category for accidents. According to Statistics Canada:

  • Statistics show that people aged 70 or older have a higher accident rate per kilometre driven than any other age group, except young male drivers.
  • Seniors are more likely than younger people to be killed when involved in a collision.
  • In an aging population, road safety is a growing concern.
  • According to the Toronto Police Traffic Services, 30 per cent of fatal collisions this year alone involved individuals 65 years of age and older.
  • The city of Toronto estimates that seniors will make up 17 per cent of the population by 2031
  • Currently, Ontario only requires seniors over the age of 80 to go through the Senior Driver’s Licence Renewal Program.
 

If you have any question regarding this post or our homecare services please call us at Home Instead Brampton at 905-463-0860 or send an email to priscilla.fernandes@homeinstead.com and we will happy to assist you.

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