Seniors advice: when should your parents stop driving?

Asking a parent to give up their keys is a difficult conversation.
Asking a parent to give up their keys is a difficult conversation.

You’ve noticed your dad avoids driving at night.

Or your mum has started having small car accidents and forgetting directions.

You’re worried about their safety and the safety of others.

The decision to give up driving is hard.

Our driver’s licence is a symbol of our independence and one of the last things we want to give away.

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While getting older does not necessarily mean a person’s driving days are over, physical and mental health need to be taken into consideration.

Asking your parents to give up their keys is likely to be one of the hardest conversations you will have with them.

They’ll see it as a loss of freedom and control, and they might even blame you. Maybe you’ll worry that their world will shrink and they will become isolated.

In any conversation of this nature with your parents, the focus must be about enhancing independence and not taking it away.

Ask – how can we help you to continue doing the things you need to do, and want to do?

Work with your parents to identify the ‘every day’ services that can help them remain independent and involved in their community.

These are services that are common to you and me, like transport or help with shopping.

Alternatively, it could extend to social programs where they go out for the day on trips around Perth.

These programs offer a great way to meet new friends and help ensure they maintain an active social life.

Or it could even be helping them get down to the gym for strength and fitness classes.

Whatever your parents need, the greatest aim is to retain their dignity by putting in services that are behind the scenes.

It’s not about receiving care but living the life they want to with the support of a safety net.