The Dreaded Driving Talk

Issues to Consider

Planning the meeting.

You know your parent. What is the best approach for broaching the subject? Would one of your siblings be a better choice or are they likely to listen more if it’s someone outside the family, such as their physician (or geriatric care manager, a driving school or occupational therapist)?

The topic of driving is emotionally charged. Pick a time that is best for them. Is it in the morning, after breakfast when they’re most alert and it’s quiet? Don’t do it when they’re surrounded by family (like at the Thanksgiving table). They may feel you’re ganging up on them.

Before The Talk, research transportation options (see below) and bring them to the “meeting.”

Setting the tone.

Tone matters. No one of any age likes to be lectured. People want to stay in control and be treated with dignity. Like any good negotiation, problem-solve with them and figure out how you can accomplish both your goal and theirs (keeping them safe, giving you peace of mind, honing their skills or finding alternative ways to get around).

The key word is safety.

Talk about your concern for their safety or others. Acknowledge that it’s a hard subject and assure them they can continue to be independent and go out. Remember, you’ve done your homework.

It’s likely that your talk will need to be revisited.