Driving is an activity that demands alertness, quick reactions and quick decision-making. There is no age limit to determine when it is time to relinquish driving privileges, but there are warning signs of unsafe driving.
For many seniors the thought of giving up or limiting driving privileges means giving up their independence. Seniors may resent their children or others for taking away their driving privileges. Early planning and good communication can help caregivers and loved ones deal with this sensitive issue.


The earlier you discuss the consequences of aging and driving the better chance you’ll have of agreeing to a plan that works best.

• Conduct driving assessments every 6 months. Ask the senior to take you for a drive so that you can determine any changes.
• Schedule regular check-ups and eye exams – A medical professional can check a drivers reaction time and decision-making skills.
• Identify alternative means of transportation.


Explaining to a senior that they can no longer drive can be very difficult. Loss of driving privileges can represent loss of freedom, identity and independence. Seniors may resent their children or others for making decisions for them. Here are some tips to communicate about this sensitive issue:

• Be positive and supportive.
• Don’t scold or lecture a loved one about giving up the keys.
• Remember, parents have played the role of decision makers for a lifetime. Don’t expect them to accept a role reversal in which their child becomes the decision maker.


If the older driver experiences one or more of the following problems, it may be time to limit or stop driving.

• Get lost while driving in a familiar location
• Fail to observe traffic signals
• Becomes angry or confused while driving
• Has a series of minor accidents
• Has other drivers honk at them frequently

Be honest with yourself; if you have one or more of these things happen to you either improve your skills or stop driving.


Many times an older drivers fear of dependence override their better judgment and your caring and support. Often the driver refuses to stop driving until a serious accident or tragedy intervenes. This is where your love, understanding and tact come into play.

Older drivers tend to show more willingness to accept suggestions from doctor’s, law enforcement or friends. A doctor can assist with driving restrictions. Many states require doctor’s to report when a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other health conditions to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Steps you can take:

• Offer to drive
• Walk when possible
• Use public a specialized transportation
• Hide car keys
• Exchange car keys with a set of unusable keys
• Have a mechanic install an alarm system that prevents the car from starting
• Consider selling the car

Author's Bio: 

Jami Polk has 15 years experience with Senior Care. A health care administrator and director of Sincere Care Home Health Services, LLC. Jami publishes monthly newsletter for Sincere Care Home Health Services which provides home care services to seniors and others.