In this episode, I talk with Veronica Mitchell about the sensitive topic of taking the keys away.
Veronica is a friend of mine who I have known for awhile. We have served on the same committees at the Caregiver Coalition of San Diego and also the San Diego County Council on Aging. Veronica is an advocate for seniors, women, and caregivers. She is a guest blogger and writes her own blog featured on her website. She is passionate about prevention of Elder Abuse and Scams, along with helping families take the keys from their senior loved ones.
You love your parent or spouse, yet you know that they can no longer safely drive. How do you know that it is time to take the keys away? How do you have that conversation with them in a loving and respectful way? Where do you begin? Families members are afraid to approach the subject. It is our last part of our freedom as we age, and it is very emotional subject.
My father’s Parkinson’s caused his eyes to shut and he was still driving! Obviously, I was panicked and in our family, we had to deal with the tough subject of taking the keys away. Sadly, my story is not uncommon.
Veronica and broke this down into 4 phases:
- Have Conversations with your loved ones and start it as early as possible. Have a frank conversation and the most candid approach is best. Don’t wait until it is a crisis.
- Identify, Observe & Document Unsafe Driving. Follow them and observe their driving. Check out the car and see if there are more dents than usual. When you are driving them around ask them directions to get somewhere. Do they get flustered, angry or confused in traffic?
- Create a Plan, Manage the Plan, and Vet All Participants. Coordinate with friends and family members about who is going to drive them to places. They still need to get to places such as doctors appointments or haircuts. They also need social engagement. Make sure there is a plan to get them to social activities so they don’t become depressed feeling stuck in one place. Make sure to be flexible and have all family members help.
Contact information for Veronica:
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