Tips for Talking with Your Loved One
If you think that an older family member could be dangerous behind the wheel, it's important to deal with the issue sooner rather than later. Here are some tips to prepare for this sensitive conversation.
Before You Talk
- Take a ride with your loved one and observe their driving. Watch their awareness of their driving environment. Do they have slow reaction times? Are there dents, scrapes, close calls, tickets or warnings? Do they seem confused or uncertain when they drive? Do you find yourself wanting to brake for them? Are there new dents or scrapes on their car? Have they gotten tickets or warnings?
- Look into alternate transportation solutions and be prepared to discuss options.
During Your Talk
- Consider beginning the conversation with a question about how they feel when driving.
- Listen to what your family member is saying and truly hear their concerns.
- Highlight your concern for their safety and the safety of others.
- Use a respectful tone.
- Don't get drawn into an argument; be kind and patient.
- Frame the conversation in a positive light as preserving mobility and independence when supplementing driving or when driving is no longer safe.
- Suggest an evaluation from a drivers' rehabilitation specialist or professional driving teacher.
- If necessary, enlist the help of your loved one's physician.
Most importantly, have realistic expectations. It's likely that the matter will not be resolved with the first discussion.
Co-developed by Katherine Freund, founder of the Independent Transportation Network and Executive Director of ITNAmerica.