Driving and Safety Concerns: How to Broach this Important Elder Care Topic

Elder Care in Toronto

Talking about driving with a senior can be a difficult topic to bring up. Some family members end up asking their Elder Care in Torontoelderly loved one’s doctor for help, especially if the senior is facing some type of health challenge or physical limitation that makes it more dangerous for him or her to be behind the wheel. However, more and more doctors are shying away from this very topic, and they have good reason to do so.

Maybe you have discovered that firsthand when you approached your father’s doctor about getting help talking to him regarding driving. He might have suffered a stroke or heart attack, be facing vision related problems, or other challenges that he hadn’t faced in the past. These challenges can make it difficult for him to remain safe behind the wheel of an automobile. Yet your father’s doctor has stayed out of the discussion and it is frustrating. After all, as far as most other elder care topics are concerned, unsafe driving may top the list as one of the most important.

Many doctors today are stepping away from having this discussion with their patients because of the potential link between the loss of independence (or the perceived loss thereof) in giving up one’s right to drive and depression. The last thing most medical professionals want is to exacerbate depressive symptoms among their patients.

Also, doctors don’t have any personal recourse to provide alternatives for the seniors in their care. In other words, there is nothing they can do to provide transportation services to their elderly patients. Families may live close enough to be able to go shopping, take the elderly individual to doctor’s appointments and other places of interest, and therefore they are in a much better position to broach this topic.

There are several ways to begin the conversation about driving and safety issues:

1. Have a clear idea of alternative transportation.

If there are family members or friends in the area who can provide transportation, make sure you have a physical list of who is available to give to your loved one.

2. Consider home care for the elderly.

Professional home care may be able to provide some level of transportation for their elderly clients. That would be a specific agency policy, so it’s best to discuss this with them before making any declarative statements to the senior.

3. Discuss safety.

Safety is the most important topic when it comes to seniors and driving. If the elderly individual has had close calls for mishaps recently, that can be a good way to begin talking about giving up their right to drive.

When pressed with facts, most people will do the right thing to ensure their safety as well as for those also on the road.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care services in Toronto, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at 905.709.1767.

About Susan Di Michele

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