Driving is an act of personal autonomy. It is hard, for any of us, to accept the possibility that it may be necessary to limit or even quit driving. Therefore, it is important to anticipate and plan this conversation:
- Join the senior driver as co-driver. Accompany him/her during different trips and at different moments, in different situations of the day and watch both the positive and negative aspects. Use the questionnaire for family members to review the most important alarm signals.
- Ask specialists.Before starting the conversation, look for information and explain your worries to specialists in geriatrics, neuropsychology, law, social services and recycling tests/courses as well as advanced driving courses. Check the section “Professionals” in this website to get more information.
- Understand the mobility needs of the elderly person. Find out why your relative has to drive. Consider which type of medical appointments, social and family commitments, shopping, leisure activities and administrative duties he/she has and where they are located. It is important to be aware of their needs and the available transport alternatives.
- Help him/her to improve their driving skills. Driving knowledge and skills can be assessed, but they can also be updated and trained. Before deciding to limit the driving time or to quit driving, you may encourage the elderly person to take courses in order to improve the driving skills, as well as to train and improve the driving-related cognitive alternatives.
- List of available local transport services. Make a list of the mobility services at your reach, including costs, conditions, schedules and contact, before starting the conversation.
- Write down a Personal Mobility Plan together with the elderly person.Once you have finished your research work, organise the information and draw up guide notes for the conversation about road safety with your relative. After talking to him/her, rewrite the mobility plan you have agreed on with the elderly person.
- Make the exercises of the self-assessment tool together: Show him/her how to do them and be with him/her while he/she does it to clear doubts. But let him/her do them by him/herself.