Forbes magazine has a good article, entitled “Boomers’ Burden: Aging Parents Who Shouldn’t Drive“. Driving is only one issue, as our parents age, of course, but it is an emotional and important one.
The article launched a discussion on LinkedIn, with a posting from Dr. Mikol Davis:
Imagine that the phone rings, and it’s the police department in the city where your 85-year-old mother lives. She’s been in a car accident. She hit a pedestrian, the officer is saying, and your mom is hurt. You feel a rush of fear and guilt. You saw the warning signs, the forgetfulness, the lack of ability to concentrate. Mom really shouldn’t have been on the road. You’re afraid to ask what happened to the pedestrian. Could you have prevented this?
Our thoughts at Support For Home?
This is an incredibly important question, but it is, of course, part of a much broader discussion that we all have had or will need to have with our parents, as they age.
My own parents’ situation was actually one of the drivers (if you’ll forgive the pun) for my wife and I leaving Intel Corporation to found Support For Home, our own in-home care company.
Our preference would be that parents continue to be parents, even as we age. They should be driving this discussion, not waitiing with trepidation for “the kids” to bring the issues of driving and support for other ADLs and Instrumental ADLs. If that does not happen in a family, then yes, the offspring must step up in a timely fashion to initiate the conversation and establish some parameters that parents and children can support. Most of these are readily set, in a very objective fashion.
Our parents need to know that their value has nothing whatsoever to do with whether they have a driver’s license and that our respect and love is for their lives and character and accomplishments over the course of their lives, not about their current medical state.
So, if you have to have a difficult conversation that will protect your parents and others, even if it may bring on a tear or two at the time, “just do it.”