maintaining independence

We are a highly mobile society, and being able to get up and go whenever and wherever we’d like at a moment’s notice is one of the incredible freedoms we enjoy as adults. However, as we grow older, driving typically becomes more dangerous for a variety of causes, and the time inevitably arises when the tough discussion must be held to encourage giving up the car keys. As you can imagine, many older individuals are unwilling to relinquish driving and the autonomy it signifies in their lives.

So what might be the most effective way to handle driving concerns with a senior loved one? The Kansas City senior care team at Enhanced Home Care suggests taking it one small step at a time:

  • Step 1: Be Proactive. Start the dialogue well in advance of any driving concerns, to plant the seed that a plan will need to be made eventually down the road about when and how the older adult will need to give up the keys. During this stage, you can receive input from the individual about the warning indicators he or she thinks should signal the need to stop driving. It is a good idea to take notes on the discussion to save and take out again when the need develops.
  • Step 2: Watch Out for Changes. As you begin to notice your senior loved one becoming overly cautious, seeming to become distracted or confused, or experience slowed reaction in driving, or any other challenges, it’s a very good time to review the conversation you had with the individual previously to bring the issue back to the surface. A driving refresher course for seniors is often helpful in this stage.
  • Step 3: Increased Concerns. As driving difficulties begin to intensify, a visit with the physician is warranted to get his or her advice on the person’s need to cease driving. It might be that the senior has a physical problem that can be corrected, such as with the senior’s vision, allowing the senior to safely continue to drive.
  • Step 4: Now Is the Time. When a senior’s mental, physical, visual health, and/or reaction time are compromised, it becomes a matter of life and death. For the senior’s safety as well as that of other drivers and pedestrians, it is crucial to move forward with the strategy for the senior to give up driving.
  • Step 5: Enable Freedom. Usually, older adults feel quite a sense of loss when they’re no longer able to drive, and it will be important to have a plan in place to help them to preserve as much freedom as possible.

At Enhanced Home Care, our Kansas City senior care professionals help seniors continue to be independent by supplying safe, dependable escorted transportation as per each individual’s preferred schedule. If the senior has a standing hair appointment every Thursday afternoon, lunch at the corner restaurant every Friday, and a painting class on Saturday mornings, all of these activities can seamlessly continue, regardless of his or her ability to drive. Contact us at 913-327-0000 to learn more about our premier Kansas City senior care solutions that are designed to increase the independence, safety and quality of life for your senior loved one.