Discussing changes to driving

If the older adult chooses to make changes to driving, it can help to explore options together and get advice from professionals.

Focus on improving the older adult's comfort and safety when discussing possible changes to driving. Make sure that the older adult is able to go where they need and want to. Keep in mind:

  • The older adult will have to live with any changes. The changes might impact them more than you or the older adult realize at first.

  • There are often different ways to deal with driving problems. Ask what the older adult thinks will work best.

  • It's hard to be open to unfamiliar changes. Ask if the older adult would like to get more information, ask professionals for advice, or try something for a short time or with a friend.

  • There may be other benefits to making driving changes, like insurance discounts, reduced gas and maintenance costs, or social time while carpooling.

When discussing possible driving changes with the older adult, you might want to:

  • Connect changes to something the older adult said or did: "You said your sleep apnea often makes you feel tired. What do you think about asking others for rides when you feel tired?"

  • Explain why you think changes are a good idea: "I think it's important to have a professional driving evaluation, because professionals know so many ways to make driving safer."

  • Ask if there are alternatives the older adult prefers: "What would you rather do - have your medicines and groceries delivered here, or take the bus downtown?"

  • Ask what friends and family members have done: "How does Julio get around? I know he has vision problems."

  • Looking at or trying out changes: "Do you want to try an online driving course before signing up for an in-person class?"