Retirement from Driving Isn't Lost Independence for Seniors

Author: Debbie Humphrey

A colleague of mine in another state has become a “personal UBER,” of sorts, to an 82 year-old retired school teacher with expensive tastes. She has been providing transportation assistance for this client for a number of months, since the woman also “retired from driving.”

You see, her daughter contacted my friend in a state of panic. She said she was losing sleep thinking about her mother driving. The senior woman had been involved in four auto accidents in the last few years, two of which were pretty serious. My colleague told her that she would be willing to help, but that she (the daughter) would have to approach the subject with her Mom.

I know from experience what a difficult conversation this is to have. I’ve been there. It’s a measure of love to keep seniors safe, but it depending upon how it is handled, it can come across as somewhat cruel, when seniors feel a level of independence is being taken away from them.

My colleague-in-care-giving shared a few resources with the woman’s daughter, so she could prepare to have the delicate driving retirement conversation with her Mom. The daughter was quite grateful, and when all was said and done, her Mom embraced the idea of not driving! The rest is history. My friend has been driving the senior lady to hair appointments, grocery shopping, pharmacy pick-ups, and even a family member’s wedding out of town.

Driving Retirement does not necessarily Include lost independence for seniors. It is definitely a significant change in their lives, but it does not have to be an end to their lives.

Americans are healthier and living longer than ever before, and seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years. In 2014, nearly 6,000 senior drivers were killed and over 221,000 were injured in traffic crashes. In the next 10 years, the number of drivers aged 85+ is anticipated to double.

For this reason, December is Older Driver Safety Awareness Month, to help families start the conversation of how to approach driving retirement and ultimately, take the keys away from their aging loved ones.

Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia have special provisions for mature drivers. These include:

  • Accelerated renewal frequency
  • Restriction of online or mailed renewals
  • Vision test
  • Road test
  • Reduced or waived renewal fees

Since these provisions only play a small role in ensuring road safety, Home Helpers® has made it a goal to start the conversation and to help better prepare Caregivers and family members on how to anticipate the changes inherent in aging and how it impacts driving. Home Helpers is prepared to help you and your family whatever the circumstance.

If you work with an aging driver or their family members, or if you have a loved one in mind, it's important to know the options available for them to keep their independence and maintain a healthy life.

Whether it's local transportation, like my friend provides her senior client, having basic needs delivered to the door, ensuring health care adherence, addressing emotional needs, or what to do in case of an emergency, Home Helpers® Clearwater and our exceptional caregivers offer support and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

A perfectly-matched caregiver can assist seniors when they retire from driving to help keep them social engaged, happy, healthy, safe and independent. If senior care services in the Clearwater area would benefit you or your senior loved one, I have a number of resources to help start the conversation, and I offer a FREE Consultation to assess specific needs, develop the best personalized care plan with an exceptional caregiver to help make life a little easier for everyone involved.

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for the fifth consecutive year: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539


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