Coping With Losing the Ability to Drive

No one plans for the day when he or she will lose the ability to drive safely. Many people know when friends or family are no longer safe drivers, but may not realize that it is time for them to stop driving, too. When faced with the loss of independence, reduced mobility, and isolation that can accompany the loss of driving privileges, a senior citizen may become defensive of his or her driving ability.

For many aging seniors, driving is the only way to stay connected to the outside world. Coping with losing the ability to drive is a struggle for most seniors.  Most seniors believe that driving is crucial to their quality of life and are reluctant to stop driving.

If you are a caregiver of an aging parent, you may also struggle with how to tell your loved one that the time has come to stop driving.  If your loved one has always been independent and self-sufficient, coping with losing the ability to drive impedes elderly seniors who struggle to remain independent. However, addressing these concerns about an older adult’s ability to drive may be a matter of life or death.

Remember, if you’ve noticed that the driving of an aging loved one has become erratic or sloppy, he or she is most likely aware of their diminishing ability.  To initiate the discussion, you may want to employ the use of reflective listening. Essentially, reflective listening is rephrasing what the person has already said. This conveys support and encouragement, helping the speaker gain insight in a non-confrontational way.

When your loved one is facing the possibility of giving up driving, you can play a valuable role. With caring, active participation, your loved one will soon understand that the loss of driving privileges is not automatic sentence to a lifetime of boredom.