FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /And
Leave the Driving... /
I have a sure-fire way to limit all conversation to one topic during the Q and A sessions at our conferences, and that is to start
talking about the issue of elderly driving. In fact, if the topic comes up early in the conversation, I always save it for the last half
hour just to give the other topics some room to breathe.
I was interviewed for an article in last Tuesday’s USA TODAY on senior driving. It was a really comprehensive piece by Janet
Kornblum that also included an interview with Cindy Pond of Indiana who was having trouble getting her 95 year-old dad to give
up the driver’s seat. She realizing that he was a danger to himself and others after taking a harrowing trip with him where she lost
count of the road violations committed. Even after his license was revoked, it took month to get the car out of reach.
Cindy’s story is representative of most of the people we meet while (no pun intended) on the road. After the sad incident in Santa
Monica a few weeks ago, there has been a lot of advice circulating about this important issue. I just want to share with you the
words of wisdom from the real experts – family caregivers who survived the passing of the keys.
First and foremost, driving is as much an emotional issue as it is one of practicality. Driving = Independence and many seniors
feel that losing their driving privileges represents the beginning of the end… I
mean, how would you feel?
If you feel that your loved one’s driving is dangerous to them and others, you are probably right and need to take action. You do
need a plan of action though; taking away the keys potentially puts you directly in the bulls-eye of his or her wrath. As you can
see from the following comments, attempting to curtail driving represents a primal relationship challenge. The more you
understand your loved one, and your relationship with them, the better your chances are of a successful outcome.