• September 27, 2016 /  Miscelleaneous

    Keep Your Positivity When Confronting Driving IssuesDespite many people’s assumptions, growing older doesn’t mean that you’re no longer able to drive safely. However, at a certain point it’s a subject you’ll need to think about. There are several questions you should pose to yourself. Let’s go over them so that you can prepare for the future while easing your mind about this important subject.

    How important is driving to you? First and foremost, you need to assess whether or not this is a big deal for you. Many seniors don’t care to drive very often, for a multitude of reasons, and so aren’t too concerned about the day they’ll need to give it up completely. It’s more common, though, that the thought of being unable to drive oneself around is distressing to some degree. This can be seen as one of the last vestiges of one’s independence. Without the ability to drive, you become more dependent on others. By examining your feelings, you can begin to emotionally and mentally prepare for this.

    If you were unable to drive anymore, what would be your plan? Another crucial step in allaying your fears is having a plan. It’s helpful to include your family in this discussion. Very likely, they’ll play a part in helping you get around. They can also assist you in finding transportation services. You might be surprised at the variety of choices available to you. Here are just a couple options.

    Even before you reach the point of being unable to drive, you might enjoy taking advantage of errand services. Someone can be hired, whether independently or through an agency, to pick you up and take you to places like the doctor and the grocery store. They can use your car or their own. This is a really convenient and often quite affordable option. They can be hired for regular events or simply as things arise. It’s also a good way to ease into a life of less driving.

    A popular service is paratransit. Public transit, non-profit aging organizations such as Seniors First (see the resource page for contact information), and private agencies provide door-to-door or curb-to-curb transportation using mini-buses or small vans (vehicles for less than 25 passengers). Paratransit service often requires users to make advanced reservations but still offers a degree of flexibility and personalization in scheduling. Curb-to-curb service provides for passenger pick up and delivery at the curb or roadside; door-to-door service offers a higher level of assistance by picking up passengers at the door of their homes and delivering them to the doors of their destinations. Paratransit and van services offer reduced fares for older adults and persons with disabilities, and some providers may operate on a donation basis.

    If your adult children are going to be helping you out, then developing a schedule is a must. Open communication will prevent misunderstandings. Your family will have their own daily concerns: work, time with their spouses and children, and certain responsibilities. It will take coordination to make it work. Most seniors end up using a combination of outside services and family help.

    What issues will affect your ability to drive independently? With age comes medical issues, many of which will greatly affect your driving skills. You have to be honest with yourself. Do you have any eye or hearing problems? It’s dangerous to ignore the possibility that these are hindering your safe driving. Cataracts, hearing loss, and reduced reflex times should be taken into account. Talk to your doctor openly and honestly. They’ll help you determine what your best course of action is.

    Addressing the possibility of losing your ability to drive is understandably difficult. With emotional and practical support from family and friends, you can successfully accept this eventuality, while focusing on what you can do in the here and now. A positive attitude will go a long way!

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  • December 10, 2013 /  Difficult Conversations

    Each of the 5 tips listed below are shared with us courtesy of Help Guide.org about effective tips when having this type of conversation with an aging loved one about driver safety, or possible confiscation of car keys. 

    • Be respectful. For many seniors, driving is an integral part of independence. Many older adults have fond memories of getting a driver’s license. At the same time, don’t be intimidated or back down if you have a true concern.

    • Give specific examples. It’s easier to tune out generalizations like “You just can’t drive safely anymore.” Outline concerns that you have noticed, such as “You have a harder time turning your head than you used to,” or “You braked suddenly at stop signs three times the last time we drove.”

    • Find strength in numbers. If more than one family member or close friend has noticed, it’s less likely to be taken as nagging. A loved one may also listen to a more impartial party, such as a doctor or driving specialist.

    • Help find alternatives. The person may be so used to driving that they have never considered alternatives. You can offer concrete help, such as researching transportation options or offering rides when possible. If your family member is reluctant to ask for help, it can lead to isolation and depression.

    • Understand the difficulty of the transition. Your loved one may experience a profound sense of loss having given up driving. Don’t dismiss their feelings but try to help with the transition as much as possible. If it is safe, try slowly transitioning the senior out of driving to give them time to adjust. For example, your loved one may begin the transition by no longer driving at night or on the freeways, or by using a shuttle service to specific appointments, such as the doctor’s. ~ Source: Help Guide.org

    This can be a difficult conversation for several reasons including sensitivity some aging loved ones might feel, or head strong aging relatives like Uncle Oscar who are used to having everything their way.

    Join our conversation and share with us any helpful tips and suggestions on what can make this sometimes dreaded conversation end with a favorable result.

    A friendly reminder is the week of December 2nd is National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, so these helpful tips are ideal for future reference information.


    I serve the counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba, as well as cities like Auburn, Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville, Sacramento, Placerville, and Woodland.

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