How to talk to your elder loved ones about giving up the keys

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Experts say the conversation should happen as early as possible. (Shutterstock)

It's a tough question: When should your aging parents quit driving?

A study released by AAA this year says more than 80 percent of older drivers haven't talked to family or even their doctor about their ability to drive. We spoke to an expert from Senior Care Authority, Gary Blizzard.

"This doesn't need to be a big family intervention; we need to respect them," Blizzard said.

He recommends starting the conversation with your loved one before driving becomes an issue.

"It might not be something that will get solved overnight," Blizzard said. "You can start by saying, 'You know, mom, my night vision is not what it used to be, how's yours? How are you able to drive and navigate? Do you feel comfortable doing it?' At least engage in the conversation as early as possible."

Senior Care Authority offers this advice:

Speak to them privately
This should be a one-on-one talk, and do your best to protect their pride and feelings.

Let the doctor take the heat
Point out facts from recent doctor visits, like poor hearing or vision results, even medications which cause drowsiness that could affect driving.

Make it a gradual process
If possible, perhaps start by giving up driving at night. Taking the keys away all at once could backfire, leaving them feeling isolated and lonely.

Give them an alternative
Research local bus routes, senior transportation agencies, family and friends that can offer rides, and if they're comfortable with technology, show them how to use apps like Uber or Lyft.

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Related Topics:
societyelderlydrivingroad safetyu.s. & worldparentingcaregiversaging
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