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What can help ease your stress about your older loved one's driving?

ANSWER

If the doctor thinks it's OK for your loved one to drive but you're still worried, you can suggest some things that may ease your stress.

  • Agree that your loved one will only drive during the day.
  • Make sure the car is in good shape.
  • Make drives to the grocery store something you do together every week.
  • Offer to take your loved one in for regular eye and health exams.
  • Ask her doctor to review her medications -- over-the-counter drugs and prescription meds -- to cut side effects.
  • Plan routes ahead of time.
  • Look into a driving safety class for older adults, and encourage your loved one to take one.
  • Keep the radio low or off, and insist on no cell phones or eating while driving.

Cathy Alessi, MD, internist, geriatrics specialist; past president, American Geriatrics Society.

AARP: "5 Surprising Truths About Grief."

American Hospice Foundation: "Helping a Grieving Parent."

Bisconti, T. , 2004. The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences

The Kent Center for Human & Organizational Development: "Holmes Stress Point Scale."

Sara Honn Qualls, PhD, clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, director, Gerontology Center, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Western Region Geriatric Care Management: "Older Driver Safety Awareness."

Windsor, T. , September 2006. Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging

CDC: “Important Facts About Falls,” “Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 26, 2019

Cathy Alessi, MD, internist, geriatrics specialist; past president, American Geriatrics Society.

AARP: "5 Surprising Truths About Grief."

American Hospice Foundation: "Helping a Grieving Parent."

Bisconti, T. , 2004. The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences

The Kent Center for Human & Organizational Development: "Holmes Stress Point Scale."

Sara Honn Qualls, PhD, clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, director, Gerontology Center, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Western Region Geriatric Care Management: "Older Driver Safety Awareness."

Windsor, T. , September 2006. Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging

CDC: “Important Facts About Falls,” “Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 26, 2019

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What should you do if you think your older loved one is safe to drive?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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