How Do I Take the Car Keys from My Senior Parent

May 14th, 2014 by John Wilson

Senior living often requires giving things up.

Many seniors must give up their car keys due to physical and mental limitations.

As we age, it is difficult to give up the independence we have enjoyed since early adulthood. This includes driving a car. Unfortunately for many, senior living means giving up some of things as the body becomes incapable of handling these regular activities. One of the biggest struggles for adult children is to determine when to take the keys away from an aging parent, even before admitting them to senior living communities.

Identifying the Signs

The first step in the process is to monitor elderly drivers for signs that driving is becoming too dangerous for them. Checking how they drive by riding with them can help you gauge their capabilities; however, there are other things you should look for, such as:

The exact age of the driver doesn’t matter as much as the signs that are present. When your parents experience slower reflexes and difficulty processing what is going on around them, driving becomes risky for them, as well as the others on the road.

Check Your States Laws

Many states have put laws into effect to mandate driving requirements for individuals beyond a specific age. These laws can play a key role in helping you take the keys away from your aging parents to keep them from becoming a danger on the road. Many states reduce the amount of time a renewal is valid and require elderly drivers to undergo vision, written or even road tests before reissuing a license. If your parents aren’t yet living in senior living communities, familiarize yourself with the laws to encourage your parents to give up the keys.

Tips for Taking and Keeping the Keys

No adult, regardless of age, likes to be told what to do. However, the first step in the process is to discuss your concerns with your parent. Sometimes they understand the seriousness of the situation and gladly agree to choose alternate transportation options. Showing them stories of car accidents involving the elderly can help make your case. Provide alternate transportation options, including talking to senior living communities about shuttle availability and asking family and friends to help with running errands. If your parent won’t willingly give up driving and the risks are serious enough, consider removing some vital wires from the car or hiding your parents’ keys to prevent them from driving.

Physical and mental health problems can play a major role in whether your elderly parent should be allowed to continue driving. Seniors are at a much greater risk of getting involved in an accident than younger individuals, making it necessary for adult children to step in and take away the keys. This can be a difficult task but must be done for the safety of your parents, as well as everyone else on the road.

If you are interested in finding out more about the transportation options senior living communities use, contact us. We can help you find options to make this discussion easier.

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