Picture this: You are driving down the road and get behind a driver who is crawling along, despite the 65 mph posted speed limit. You see nothing but gray curls above the head rest in the vehicle in front of you and roll your eyes. You do your best to get around the driver, wondering why they are still on the road at all.
Despite your annoyance, you may have the same questions running through your mind as that driver’s family. Knowing when and how to get elderly parents out from behind the wheel can be difficult. No one wants to make a family member feel lesser or embarrass them in some way. Follow these tips to have the difficult conversation with your elderly loved one.
1. Don’t Be Accusatory
No matter what you discuss during the conversation, don’t accuse. Keep your tone neutral and turn the conversation on you. Use phrases like “I’m concerned,” “I care about you,” or “I’m worried.” This will prevent your loved one from becoming overly defensive. Be prepared to offer a solution to the problem.
2. Be Empathetic
Before you start the conversation, take a moment to think about how you would feel if you were approached with the same topic. Would you be offended? Hurt? Angry? Consider these things as you decide what you will say and how it will be said. Maintain your patience, even in the face of opposition or defiance.
3. Use Positive Language
Avoid phrases like “never again” and “it’s over.” Try to use positive information during the conversation. Comfort your loved one in the face of their embarrassment. Let them know that it is normal to feel the way that they are, and let them know that you are not the only person they can speak to.
4. Make a Schedule
As has been said, you should be prepared to offer solutions. Your loved one will be worried about how they will get where they need to go. Not driving any longer takes away a good deal of independence and mobility. Come up with a plan with other family members to get your loved one where they need to go and to get them there on time.
5. Make It a Discussion
This should be a two-way discussion, not a lecture. Help your loved one come to the conclusion on their own. Discuss the warning signals and determine if they have experienced any of them. Getting lost frequently, difficulty driving at night, trouble reading road signs and signals, near-miss crashes, and range of motion issues can all signal a time to stop driving.
Taking the keys away from a parent can be difficult but necessary. If you need help in deciding what to say or when to say it, your parent’s physician may be able to provide some guidance.
If you have been involved in an auto accident in Charleston or the surrounding area, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and more. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.