The driving conversation is one that many family caregivers dread because it can go very wrong right from the beginning. Try some of these suggestions to keep the conversation on track.
Approach the Topic Respectfully
You may think that this is the next logical conversation to have with your loved-one. Your senior, on the other hand, is facing a situation in which her entire life is about to change. Where she’s had self-sufficiency, now she no longer does. This is a tremendous topic for her, so approach it with the gravity that it deserves.
Don’t Be Vague with Your Aging Adult
Come to the conversation prepared with specific examples. If you’re vague in any way, this is going to feel more like an attack than it will feel as if you’re genuinely concerned for her safety. This isn’t about beating your aging family member up emotionally, either. Stick with the facts that point to safety concerns.
Offer a Solution Rather than Taking Something Away
You should also come to the conversation with something in exchange for what you’re trying to remove from your senior’s life. If she’s not going to be able to drive for herself any longer, she needs another way to be able to go wherever she needs to go. You can offer to drive her yourself, arrange for family members to volunteer, or even hire elderly care providers. Giving her more than one option is optimal.
Don’t Go it Alone
If you are concerned that this conversation won’t go well, bring in one or two family members who have also noticed that your senior family member is having difficulty driving. Again, this isn’t to gang up on or outnumber your aging adult, but it’s possible she wants to hear that more than one person is concerned.
Keep in Mind This Is Difficult for Your Loved-One
Always remember that this is a difficult time for your senior. She’s transitioning to a new stage in life and it’s one in which she’s not going to be able to have as much freedom and independence as she once had.
If the conversation starts to feel really antagonistic, table it and come back to it when you can both be more positive.