What to Do If You Just Can’t Take Away Mom's Keys Yet

Driving is a rite of passage for many of us.  Unfortunately, not being able to drive any more due to age is also a rite of passage, but not a positive one.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 500 older adults are injured EVERY DAY and 15 are killed EVERY DAY due to driving accidents.   But, no matter who we have talked to, taking away the keys is one of the hardest transitions caregivers note having to make and most try to avoid it.

So, what can you do to help your driving parents stay safe until the keys must be taken away?  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests:  

  • Exercising regularly to increase strength and flexibility.
  • Asking your doctor or pharmacist to review medicines–both prescription and over-the counter–to reduce side effects and interactions.
  • Having eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as required.
  • Driving during daylight and in good weather.  
  • Finding the safest route with well-lit streets, intersections with left turn arrows, and easy parking.  
  • Planning your route before you drive.
  • Leaving a large following distance behind the car in front of you.
  • Avoiding distractions in your car, such as listening to a loud radio, talking on your cell phone, texting, and eating.
  • Considering potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend or using public transit that you can use to get around.

While there is no guarantee these steps will avoid the “key discussion”, taking preventative measures now will increase your parents’ safety and hopefully reduce your fears just a bit.

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