Addressing Declining Cognitive Ability & Driving Issues
When to have the conversation with an aging loved one, or friend, that it isn't safe to drive any more isn't easy, especially when the senior may be in denial, frustrated , or fiercely independent. The message may fall on deaf ears if not handled properly. The point, of course, is to relieve your loved one of their isolation and make sure they know you love them and will make sure they are well taken care of.
When to have the "TALK"?
Some of the warning signs one's ability to drive is in decline are:
- Difficulty changing lanes.
- Suddenly drifting into other lanes.
- Problems judging distance when braking.
- Forgetting to use turn signals.
A few more severe "red flags", which may indicate you, or a loved one, should no longer be driving are:
- Multiple "close calls" to an accident.
- New dents/scratches on the car.
- Missing stop signs or red lights.
- Collisions with other vehicles or stationary objects.
- Increase in traffic violations.
- Becoming lost frequently, or difficulty navigating.
Have the "TALK" about the keys at the same time you discuss other difficult issues, such as advance directives and estate planning. The good news is that technology now allows for reliable rides for our seniors beyond the traditional taxi ride, which can be time consuming to manage and cost prohibitive if used often.
You must replace the ability to drive with another solution(s).
A solution must be in place at the time of the conversation. Otherwise, the responsibility for driving your loved one might be left to you. Preston Goddard, a local Fairfield County driver with iDriveYourCar.com says, "Comfort is knowing that your aging spouse, friend or family member is able to continue their normal daily routine, including errands, social events, and doctors' visits even after they surrender their driver's license. When I pick up my senior clients and escort them to doctor's appointments...they know I have their safety at heart, and will be there to responsibly drive them from the moment of pick-up...to drop off..."
Solution 1 - Hire a Home Care Agency
You can hire a Licensed Home Care Agency to manage your Caregiver(s). STEPS Home Care is a licensed agency. In addition to a fingerprint background check, we also conduct a 3 year DMV check to insure the person driving you is safe. We also carry an insurance policy to provide additional coverage.
For those clients without a car or a Caregiver with their own car, we have partnered with Uber Health to provide transportation. Our Caregivers and Care Coordinators can facilitate rides for the family or client. We can set up rides in advance, and simply add them to the invoice to make things as easy as possible. Uber Health and STEPS will insure your personal health information is kept private based on standard HIPAA regulations.
Solution 2 - Hire a Personal Driver
Hire a personal driver to drive your own car with iDriveYourCar.com, which is based in Westport, CT. They service Fairfield County, NYC, and Westchester and Nassau Counties. iDrive was founded by two Fairfield County locals, who understood that their sophisticated clientele desired personalized service with educated and engaging drivers, but at a reasonable price. This way you can be driven in the comfort of your own car at a reduced price to taking a private limo service. You can even request the same driver once you get to know them. Click here to find out more about how it works: iDrive.
Solution 3 - Hire a Local College Student
Many college students are available for part-time work, and have their own cars. Quad Jobs is a great site that allows you to connect with college students in your area looking for work.
Solution 4 - Hire or Barter with a Neighbor
Nextdoor allows you to meet your neighbors online and post requests for household help: cleaning, driving, cooking, etc. While the person who responds is a neighbor, just remember that aren't already background checked. That is something you would need to do on your own. However, it is usually a friend of a friend. Do your research, interview them first, and conduct your own background check.
Other Senior Driving Resources
- AAA (American Automobile Association)
- CT DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)
- NY DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)
- AARP - Driver Safety Program
Please reach out to STEPS Home Care (www.stepshomecare.com) if you have any questions regarding transportation or other Activities of Daily Living with which you need help.