When is it time to hang up the keys?

By November 11, 2010Uncategorized

Perhaps more so than any other issue, those who care for elderly parents in AZ struggle with whether it is safe and appropriate for their aging parent to continue driving.  More often than not, aging parents do not agree with their children about when they should cease driving.  Rather, children tend to grow concerned about their parents’ safety on the road long before their parents agree that it is time to hang up the keys.

This can be a difficult issue to handle for a number of reasons.  First off, after a lifetime of driving, it must be tough for parents to accept that they should no longer do so.  But an even bigger part of the difficulty is that giving up driving may represent much more than merely finding alternative modes of transportation.  To many, driving is directly equated with independence, and giving up the keys amounts to giving up autonomy.  When viewed through this lens, it is much easier to see why this can be such a sensitive issue.

Families dealing with this situation should understand that they are certainly not alone.  The vast majority of families who have dealt with this issue did not do so without a struggle.  In fact, this is such a common issue that the National Transportation Safety Board held a public forum on the issue to help families better understand how to handle it.  The forum dealt with a wide array of issues that affect elderly drivers, ranging from vehicle design to public policies.  The forum is archived online at the National Transportation Safety Board’s Website.