It’s inevitable that we lose some independence as we age, but for many seniors (and their families) the decision to stop driving is one of the most significant and difficult to cope with.
A recent report on NPR looks at the idea of planning your “driving retirement” and why it’s beneficial to think about when you’ll stop driving ahead of time, rather than waiting until the decision is made by your family or the DMV. Indeed, as one 94-year old interviewee in the report says, “I think it’s just better to make up your own mind than have your kids go through trying to tell you, and end up with arguments and threats and everybody gets mad.”
Some of the tips mentioned for drivers and those who care about them:
- have the discussion with loved ones before the issue is forced
- discuss and map out transportation alternatives to reduce feelings of isolation and dependence
- take advantage of insurance discounts offered for taking a driver safety course for seniors – as a bonus, instructors encourage realistic self-assessment of driving ability
- listen to your gut: if you start becoming anxious about driving, don’t ignore that feeling
- formalize the decision by picking an age to officially “retire” from driving
The piece is worth listening to, and could act as a great conversation starter if need be. See It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your ‘Driving Retirement’ via NPR Rhode Island.