When your parents need to stop driving.

This is one in s series of blogs taken from Men’s Health Magazine.  I don’t advocate all that is in Men’s Health but do read it.  Occasionally, I have found interesting articles or question/answer column entries.  This is one.

Question: I think it is time to take my dad’s care keys away.  What’s the safest way to approach the subject?

Answer: Start with three words: “I am worried.” This puts the focus on you, making it less likely that your pop will feel ambushed, says David Solie, M.S., P.A., author of How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders. Mention that the fear he had when you first started driving is how you feel whenever he gets behind the wheel now.  Then gently point out any issues that may have put him and others at risk on the road.  Has his eye-hand coordination or reaction time slowed? Is his vision impaired? How’s his hearing? If he doesn’t take it well, ask him “How will you know when it is time to stop driving?” This may make him pause and consider the consequences, says Solie.  But if your opinions still collide, seek outside help.  Some state DMVs accept caregivers’ requests for retesting older adults’ driving skills.  Or ask his doctor to talk to him directly, suggests Solie.  No one likes a backseat driver, but your dad may take his physician’s advice more seriously than his own son’s.  Once he’s ready to hand over the keys, make a plan that will allow him to stay mobile via public transportation or a car service.

Men’s Health, June, 2015