As your parents age it can become more and more apparent that one or both have lost a lot of mental capacity and reaction time. Yet they are still driving. You know that could be dangerous – to them and to others.
Sometimes they realize it on their own and they decide to stop driving. So many times, though, they think nothing is wrong and you have to step in. For many, it’s a very sad and traumatic decision. Often, a parent gets angry and there is resulting turmoil in the family, but it has to be done.
To make matters worse, a recent study suggests that when elderly drivers have to stop getting behind the wheel, they run the risk of social isolation – especially if they don’t have an alternative transportation plan.
Compared with seniors who had stopped driving, frequent drivers were more than three times as likely to visit friends and family and almost three times as likely to participate in social outings like going to the movies and attending church services.
Families and friends can help avoid the negative effects of socially isolation due to the inability to drive. When it’s time to take away the keys, assure your parents that they don’t have to feel alone. Be willing to drive them to the places they need to go. Take turns with other family members and friends, if you can. At the least, instruct them in the use of public transportation as another alternative.
You might visit them more than you have in the past. Arrange family outings where everybody gets together, especially if they have grandchildren. Help them find ways to keep active. Keep giving them that tender loving care they always had for you.
At the Stinson Law Firm, the welfare of the elderly is our business. Whether it’s developing an estate plan to protect them and the rest of the family for the rest of their lives, or dealing with Medicare and Medicaid issues, we are there for you.
Our goal at the Stinson Law Firm is to secure your present and future and leave you with the peace of mind you deserve. Contact us today.
NOTE: Some of the material for this article was taken from Journal of Gerontology: Social Science, online May 12, 2016.
Jeff is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, a distinction held by only a handful of lawyers in Indiana. For almost 20 years, he has focused on elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, Veterans Affairs benefits planning, special needs planning, guardianships, and estate administration.