My husband has been our only driver since my battle with colon cancer two years ago. However, I need suggestions for talking to him about hanging up his car keys for good too. I’ve seen plenty of news stories about older drivers who harm themselves or others in an accident, and I don’t want him to be one of them.
He is 84 years old and has a variety of health conditions. Some of his medications have tough side effects, including drowsiness and dizziness. My husband’s reflexes are slow and he just isn’t flexible enough to stay safe behind the wheel.
I’m not sure how to broach this subject with him. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Margie in Midland, MI
Older Driver Safety Week Kicks Off
You’ve expressed a fear many spouses and adult children have. It can be a contentious topic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the perceived lack of alternate transportation options. Older adults often tell us that knowing they would be able to give up driving played a key role in deciding to move to a senior living community.
Your timing in asking this question is great! The first full week of December is designated as Older Driver Awareness Week each year. It gives me a good opportunity to shine the spotlight on safety and senior drivers.
As you mentioned, tackling the subject with a loved one isn’t easy. A few tips for talking with your husband include:
- Explore transportation options: Before you talk, explore alternative transportation options in your area. Having a list of choices ready to share with your husband may make him more willing to entertain the idea of giving up his keys.
- Ask how he feels: A good way to open the conversation might be to ask your husband how he feels about driving. You might be surprised to learn he is a little fearful about it. He might not have mentioned it before because he thinks the two of you have no other options. Once you agree it’s time for him to stop driving, you can work on a transportation plan together.
- Show him evidence: If your husband isn’t onboard with the idea of hanging up his car keys for good, be prepared to kindly and gently share your concerns about his fitness for driving. Point out any bumps and dents on the car. He might not even know they are there and it could be a wake-up call. Also talk to him about the medication side effects you are noticing.
- Enlist his physician: There are other steps you can take if your husband won’t agree to stop driving. One is to visit his primary care physician together and seek his or her advice. The doctor can perform a physical, including checking his reflexes and flexibility, and objectively review the situation.
I hope these tips make this discussion go a little easier, Margie!
Heritage Senior Communities Offer Transportation
Transportation is one of the most popular services at Heritage Senior Communities. Depending upon current COVID-19 conditions, residents can utilize transportation for physician appointments, lunch outings, shopping trips, and more. Call the Heritage community closest to you to learn more!