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Tips for talking to your elderly parents about driving

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As parents get older, it can be incredibly difficult for them to accept limitations. One especially upsetting limitation could including giving up driving. However, if a person is putting his or her safety and the safety of others on the road at risk of a serious car accident, it can be time to find alternatives.

If you feel your parent is approaching (or has approached) an age where he or she may no longer be safe to drive, it could fall on you to talk to them about putting the keys away. Below are some tips for how you might approach this discussion.

Be prepared

Know that this is likely going to be a difficult conversation for both you and your parent. Prepare for this by talking in a comfortable, safe space and giving yourselves time to have an honest discussion.

You should also educate yourself on your parent's condition. Be ready to talk about what specifically is putting your parent at risk - is it medication, physical limitations or mental declines that impair their driving skills?

Express your concerns

It can be easy for a parent to feel attacked or marginalized if their child simply tells them to stop driving. Instead, focus on compassion and explaining why you are worried.

You could also explain the accident statistics that show the risk of crashing can increase among older drivers. This could help put things in perspective and make it easier for a parent to appreciate why you have concerns.

Talk through the options

Having this conversation does not have to be an all-or-nothing situation. Unless a parent is an immediate risk to themselves or others, you likely won't have to take their keys forever.

Instead, talk through the options with your parent. Is it an option for him or her to stop driving at night or outside their neighborhood? Are you (or someone else in the family) willing to provide transportation? Is public transportation an option?

Don't ignore the issue

Talking to your parents about curbing their driving can be uncomfortable. However, not talking to them puts them at risk of causing an avoidable accident if they are not fit to be behind the wheel.

Call 877-PAYAMLA for a free consultation or visit www.payamla.com. 

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