My High School Kid passed his Behind-The-Wheel Drivers Test over five months ago and I still get clammy hands whenever he borrows the car so the last thing on my mind is my mom’s driving.
Until about a month ago, her driving record had been cleaner than the hood of a showroom Tesla. Then a bozo in a beat-up Buick clipped her front end, totaled her car and shook her confidence. Even with her new zippy car that literally screams if the driver wanders out of the lane, mom is a tad tentative.
“Do I need to worry?” I asked Estee Bienstock, RN and Executive Director of ALLPOINT Home Health.
“The signs are pretty clear when someone needs to give up the car keys,” she said. “You notice your parent dropping things or overcompensating for confusion. Getting home should take fifteen minutes, but because of wrong turns, it’s taking them forty.”
Hmmm. My mom takes her sweet time getting from place to place, but that’s been her M.O. forever. So my mom doesn’t fit the profile and I hope to heaven she never does because she’d wring my neck if I ever tried to have “The Talk.”
“People are living longer, healthier lives but when health diminishes, the changes can be rapid. People are frozen in fear at the thought of losing their independence,” Ms. Bienstock informed me.
My mom-in-law suffers from Alzheimer’s but she did such a great job hiding it that not until my sister-in-law began following her around in the car did we realize just how poor her driving skills had become.
What if your parent doesn’t see eye-to-eye with you on driving when they’ve had accidents or been diagnosed with a condition like dementia that clearly interferes with driving?
- Present a united front. Get the whole family to dinner and then bring up the subject.
- Suggest options like Dial-A-Ride, Access Transportation or taxis. Taxi vouchers are available for people with limited funds.
- If all else fails, submit a written report to your parent’s doctor that outlines any accidents or close calls on the road.
For more advice on “The Talk” and moving into Act 2 of life, check out:
Caring For Yourself, Your Money and Your Loved Ones
Saturday, April 20, 2013 8:45am-2:00pm (includes lunch) The Beverly Hills Women’s Club 1700 Chevy Chase Drive, Beverly Hills, CA Cost is $75 or $60 for two or more tickets
For additional information: http://www.facebook.com/events/496992113692355/