Most Americans have either had to deal with the sensitive issue of evaluating an elderly driver’s capability to continue to drive, or knows someone who has dealt with this issue. Many adult children have had the difficult experience of determining whether a beloved family member is capable of driving safely and avoiding injury to themselves or others. If you have not already confronted this in your family, you likely will at some point in your life. And the most important thing about this is that in doing so, you may be saving the life of your loved one or someone else. When this conversation becomes necessary, you may need the guidance of others who have come before you in this sensitive dialogue. Because as Americans, we cherish the ability to be independent and to go wherever we want to go, when and how we want to do so. Our elderly family members love their independence, just like we do.
But when we begin to see the signs that an elderly parent or loved one can no longer safely drive — because he or she is a danger to himself or others — we need to have the courage our elder loved ones wanted us to have as kids and we need to do something to help. As we age, driving can become more challenging.
If you Google “elderly driver,” you can find many fine resources to help with this challenge. But you might well also find an article on fatal crashes caused by an elderly driver. In preparing for this post, I found an article about two pedestrians who were walking their dog and were struck and killed by an elderly driver in Chico just this week.