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How to Speak to Your Parents About Giving Up Their License

an adult child talks with their elderly parent on the couch about seniors giving up their license

Getting your driver’s license is one of the most significant milestones in the life of nearly every American. It marks the passage into independence and adulthood. With your license, you are no longer reliant on others to get you to and from where you want or need to go. You gain the freedom to explore the world on your terms. With the ability to drive being so strongly tied to feelings of control and independence, it is no wonder that seniors are resistant to handing over their keys.

At Buckner Villas, we understand what it means for older adults to give up their licenses which is why we proudly offer a range of options for transportation for seniors. Whether it’s a trip to the supermarket, the doctor, or a nice dinner, we ensure that our residents get to and from where they need and want to go in a safe and timely manner. Reach out to our team at 512.580.9882 to discover why Bucker Villas in Austin, TX is the premier choice for senior living.

Tips for Talking to Seniors About Stopping Driving

Most adult children will face having difficult conversations with their elderly parents at some point. Studies have shown that most adult children report that talking with their parents about stopping driving was the most challenging conversation, even more so than finances, living arrangements, and final wishes.

One of the best tips for talking to a senior about giving up their license is doing so with compassion and sympathy. Consider how you would feel if someone told you that you could no longer drive and how you might react, and begin the conversation from that point of view. Other tips to consider include:

  • Start the conversation early – Rather than waiting for something serious to happen, begin the conversation when you start to see minor warning signs.
  • Mention driving limits – Suggest they stop driving in bad weather, at night, or during rush hour. Seniors who start driving part-time are likely to have an easier transition into stopping driving altogether.
  • Provide transportation alternatives – Many seniors will fear being trapped at home when they cannot drive themselves. Be prepared with information about transportation services to reassure them that they will still be able to do the things they need and want to do.
  • Suggest a visit to the DMV – The DMV offers a refresher course for senior drivers. They can also take a driving and vision test. Often hearing from a professional that it is time to stop driving can be more straightforward than hearing it from an adult child.

By the time it is necessary to speak with your parents about giving up their license, they will likely have given up other things tied to their independence. For many seniors, stopping driving feels like the end of independent adult life. Rationally, they probably understand the need to stop driving but cannot emotionally. A final tip is to point out how their decision to continue driving can impact others.

Recognizing the Signs of Elderly Parents and Unsafe Driving

Everyone ages differently. Therefore, there is no definitive age for when someone should stop driving for safety reasons. According to AARP and the National Highway Traffic Administration, signs to watch for include:

  • Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions
  • Frequent dings, dents, scratches, or other damage to their vehicle
  • Tickets for driving violations
  • Getting lost, especially in familiar areas
  • Medications that can impair driving ability
  • Being easily distracted or having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent close calls

One of the best ways to assess your elderly parent’s driving is to experience it firsthand as a passenger or by following behind them. You can also talk with others who ride with them. Be aware of the side effects of any medications your parent is taking and know whether or not they have medical conditions that can impact their driving abilities.

Contact Buckner Villas to Learn About Transportation for Seniors

Buckner Villas is a non-profit, faith-based senior living community in Austin, TX providing the full continuum of care for seniors aged 62 and over. Through our years of experience working with seniors and their families, we know that the discussion about stopping driving is one of the most challenging. We are here to support you. Contact the Buckner Villas team at 512.580.9882 to learn more about our transportation services for seniors.