You might have an older adult in your life. Perhaps it’s your mother or father. Maybe it’s a grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, etc.
You love them, and you definitely want what’s best for them. However, maybe they’re stubborn about certain things. For instance, perhaps they want to keep driving, even though they endanger themselves and others when they get out on the road.
It’s not easy telling an older adult they need to stop driving. They might not want to hear that because they feel like you’re trying to take their independence away. You might feel like you have to pry the car keys out of their hands.
There are some ways you can frame the topic so that this older adult agrees with you. Let’s examine some of those right now.
You Can Try Reasoning with Them
The first thing you might try is appealing to this older adult. You can try giving them some statistics. For instance, you might let them know that AAA did a study, during which they determined that in a single year, over 200,000 drivers age 65 and above sustained car crash injuries.
You can tell this older adult that:
- You care about them, and you don’t want anything to happen to them
- The other family members care about them as well
- They don’t want to injure someone accidentally
If you point out that their eyesight or hearing isn’t as good as it once was, that might convince them. You can talk about how their reflexes are not as sharp as they once were.
You can attempt to explain you’re not trying to take away their independence. You’re trying to keep them alive so you and the rest of the family can continue to enjoy their company for years to come.
You Can Suggest They Move in with You
You also might suggest that, if they’re living on their own, now might be the time to sell their house, condo, or apartment and move in with you and your family. Once they do that, you can help them with things like meals, washing their clothes, etc.
This makes sense if:
- They can’t clean up their home as well as they once could
- They can’t prepare their food as easily these days
- They have a debilitating condition
If you know you have to figure out something to do with this individual pretty soon because they can no longer live on their own, this solution might be ideal. You can tell them that you or other family members will be happy to drive them anywhere they need to go once they move in with you.
Of course, this will only work if you have room for this individual in your home. Most older adults will prefer living with family rather than moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility.
You Can Suggest They Move Closer to Public Transportation
Let’s say that you don’t have the room for this individual in your home, or they don’t want to move in with your family. Another option might be for them to move into a house or apartment closer to lots of public transportation.
This option will usually only work if they live in a larger city. Maybe you can help them look for living accommodations that are next to public bus or train routes.
In rural areas, you probably don’t have this option, but it’s doable in most cities. You can help them sell their vehicle, and you can go over the bus and train routes with them. They might not love the idea as a former driver, but they should be able to see its logic.
You can also tell them that you and your family are still available to give this individual rides sometimes if they don’t want to take trains and buses every day. This can work if you live in the same city as them and their new residence is not too far away.
You Can Tell Them About Rideshare Options
Some older adults might not necessarily know about ride share options like Uber or Lyft yet. If your older relative balks at the public transportation idea, you can tell them all about this possibility.
You can inform them that Uber or Lyft are safe to take even during the pandemic. All they must do is wear a mask for safety purposes.
You can let them know that although ride shares are more expensive, they can still call for one whenever they need it. One is usually available nearby. It’s another option for them these days besides public transportation and them calling you or your family members for rides.
You Can Talk to Their Neighbors About Giving Them Rides
If your older relative completely refuses the idea of giving up their car, maybe you can ask them not to drive as much. Perhaps you can speak to one of their younger neighbors. They might be willing to take your older relative to the grocery store or wherever else it is that they’re trying to go.
It’s not a perfect solution, but at least that means less time they’re on the road even if you can’t talk them out of it entirely.
If your older relative refuses to give up their keys, but they keep getting in accidents or almost getting into them, you can always try to get power of attorney over them as a last resort. You can then take away their keys and vehicle if the court decides you’re justified in doing so.
You probably won’t want to go this route unless you feel you have absolutely no other choice. This might wreck your relationship with them. If you think they’re a menace on the road, though, you may have to pursue that option.
Hopefully, you’ll remember this experience when you get older. When you know you’re too old to drive, you’ll willingly surrender your keys.