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The Conversation Starter

At each Fearless Caregiver Conference I can be certain that a particular question will always be asked. It will be something about “taking the keys away” from a loved one. I make sure that it is saved for the last half hour of the session or else we won’t be able to discuss anything else.

Like the young man at a recent event who said he knows he needs to get his mother living with mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease to stop driving, but doesn’t know how to do so. I can count on fellow attendees to provide the best tips and techniques to deal with this issue, and this was case in Nashville. But this time, the definitive answer came from the attorney on the expert panel who said, “There are many lawyers in this town who would surely love to take the case against you if your mother is to cause an accident.” The young man swore that he was going to call the Department of Transportation that very afternoon.
Driving is as much an emotional issue as it is one of practicality. Driving = Independence and many seniors feel that losing their driving privileges represents the beginning of the end… I mean, how would you feel?

If you are concerned that your loved one’s driving is dangerous to themselves and others, you are probably right and you need to take immediate action. The first thing to do is to reach out to those in the know in your community. Create a transportation plan for when your loved ones do relinquish the keys. One group, SilverRide based in San Francisco, offers senior friendly transportation solutions. Consult with your loved one’s doctor and the DOT; talk with your fellow caregivers; call the local AAA organizations (both the Area Agency on Aging and the American Automobile Association).

Once you are aware that there is a potential problem, you need to develop a plan of action and act quickly-- for your own sake, your loved one’s sake and the safety of the community in which you live.

Take care

Gary Barg

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