Senior Safety includes keeping seniors safe in the community and on the road. A time will come when the dreaded conversation of removing driving privileges will arrive. In fact- if your loved one represents an increased risk to self and others on the road- it's time to take a closer look at their driving abilities.
"So- how did you get your car in the tree??"
I've been evaluating seniors for many years now- and I can tell you that if I asked this lady 5 minutes before she put her car in that tree, "Are you a good driver?"
They always say "Yes- I'm a very good driver!"
Trying to tell your parent that it's time to give up the keys is one of the toughest conversations you will have- and I recommend you don't go it alone. You will always be a child in your parent's eyes- and what do children know?
Case in point- I once had a huge- 6'6" 350 pound police officer (he filled the door frame!) wearing his uniform bring to my office his mother- frail little thing standing next to him, and he wanted her evaluated for driving. When the tests came back indicating poor ability, I told her it was time to stop driving. No sooner did I say that he exclaimed, "See Mom?? I told you- you can't drive anymore!" Now if a huge police officer of the law cannot convince his mother to stop driving- well you should now have an idea what you are up against!
If you have been avoiding having "the talk" with a parent about their driving, you are not alone. Looking at the graph below you can easily see that most people avoid the conversation altogether
Here at the Maui Memory Clinic we have tests that evaluate an individual's cognitive abilities necessary for safe driving. Abilities such as visual processing speed, useful field of vision, visuospatial attention, multi-tasking ability, and adequate reaction time or psychomotor speed are imperative for safe driving. If the test results come back not so favorable- then we can start the conversation with the family and the patient to help with the removal of the driving privileges. And you can salvage your relationship with your loved one by not being the bad guy! (We can be the bad guy for you)
Don't wait until they hurt themselves or another driver, or even worse- an innocent pedestrian! I had a senior driver explain to me that she was going down a road the wrong way "because the road was open with no traffic."
I have also treated a pedestrian who was on the sidewalk, and still got hit by a distracted driver. The pedestrian sustained a bad head injury and was never the same. His lawyers went after the senior's assets and won in court to help pay for the care the pedestrian now needed.
Don't wait until it is too late!
And if you need a driving evaluation- make sure to let us know up front so we can include specific tests in the neuropsychological test battery.
Dr. Thomas Harding Neuropsychologist Neuroscientist, Author & Founder
Bringing You Better Brain Health!
Click here to watch the video on the perils of senior drivers, where you might be on the Brain Function Continuum, and the importance of proper brain nutrition!