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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / The Driving Issue /  Editorial List  


The Driving Issue

I always save the driving questions for the last 25 minutes of the Q&A session at our Fearless Caregiver Conferences because once that Pandoraís Box is opened, no other topic gets any airtime. 
I know that none of you have any challenges getting a loved one to stop driving when they are becoming a danger to themselves and others, but please indulge me the following.
We have heard some really ingenious methods that caregivers employ when faced with the driving issue; among them:
Donít make your decision solely on age-based concerns. A driverís age is not reason enough to revoke their license.
Find out what the laws in your state allow in these instances; sometimes you can make an anonymous call and the driverís bureau will call your loved one in for retesting.
Enlist your loved oneís doctor or the local police department. This news is always better coming from the professionals.
Give them a set of non-working car keys and always offer to drive.
Once agreement is made about driving, put a large note in the windshield reminding your loved one that they agreed not to drive.
Sell their car; although people in more than one city have reported that their loved one simply bought a new one.
If you talk with your loved one with other family members in the room, rehearse what is to be said.  It is much better when everyone is on the same page.
Remember to put yourself in your loved oneís shoes when the time comes to take away the keys. His or her driverís license was a key to independence they received in their youth. We must recognize their fear that taking away this key feels like the beginning of the end to them.  How would you feel?
Many times, people know when they can longer drive; they are just looking for a way to keep their dignity when they give up their license.
If you are thinking it is time to finally have that talk with your loved one, do it as soon as possible. You probably should have had it six months ago.
Remember, it could be worse. One caregiver told us she was relieved that her 92-year-old father just had his license revoked by the state Ė his pilot's license.

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Gary Barg