You think your older loved one shouldn’t be driving, but you really don’t know what to do or how to approach the subject. Rarely does a topic create as much angst in older drivers and their families as this one.
If a senior adult’s ability to safely operate an automobile seems to be in question, the first place to start is to have a serious but sensitive discussion with the older adult. If the older adult is resistant to reason, take the initiative to contact their physician to share your concerns. The American Medical Association promotes physician involvement in assessing older adult driving skills and publishes The Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers. Familiarize yourself with it and provide a copy to your loved one’s doctor.
Sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren are the ones who are tasked with confiscating the keys, disabling the vehicle, or reporting the unsafe driver to the proper authorities. Not a fun task by any means. Ignoring the issue only increases the chances that the older adult will harm others as well as themselves. If involved in an accident, the elder driver may be at risk for legal reprisals for driving against the advice of their doctor or when medications or their medical diagnosis might impair safe driving. Continuing to operate a car under such circumstances could jeopardize their long term financial security as well as their physical well-being.
Elder Law of East Tennessee can provide more information or tools to help address the driving dilemma, contact our office more resources to help address this difficult topic.
Wishing safe travels to all.