Q: You notice your mother will not drive with her husband. She claims he is all over the street and afraid of getting into an accident. What is the first thing to do?
A: Make an eye doctor appointment for both your mother and your father. Let them both see just how important to take care of their vision for the safety of each other on the road. You should also be present to decide if maybe there is something they have not told you or maybe they did not understand further treatment is needed. Just sending an elder to a doctor’s appointment and expecting all to be in order is just asking for trouble. Follow up and decisions may need to be made and when an elder is tired or on medications or just does not have the ability to comprehend their care, an advocate must be contacted to get the story and all the chapters in place for complete care.
In the case of vision: either of the elders may have vision issues which construe the driving process. Day or night driving may have to be altered. Timing of medications may have to be assessed to know if there might be a medical issue when driving. Stress must be eliminated from the driving process with elders. If someone is agitated prior to getting in the car, medications may not be prime, eating may have been missed, increase in sugar or deficiency of sugar may cause issues, school time cars on the road and a spouse that may also be having like conditions is a set up for potential disaster.
Step up, hire a driver, have someone ride with the elder to see how they perform best and when, take an elder driving/riding service, and be active in this process over the years. What you see today may be totally different in just 24 hours or 3 months. It is a fluid situation, not a firm process.