How do I prepare for the conversation?

There are several resources to help plan for and have a conversation. Reviewing these will give options and ideas to help you have multiple conversations that build on each other and help lead the individual you care for to be ready to start transportation planning and/or change their driving habits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Understanding Older Drivers offers an approach for preparing and holding conversations with older road users. Plan For the Road helps family members with understanding the mobility challenges that come with age. The Automobile Association of America (AAA) provides tips for planning your conversation and handling negative reactions. You may also want to refer to The Hartford’s Family Conversations with Older Drivers. (This Family Conversation Guide is also available in Spanish: Tenemos que hablar: conversaciones familiares con conductores de edad avanzada.

Keep in mind that this conversation might need to occur multiple times. You may want to start introducing concepts well before the older road user is at a point of crisis so they can be part of the discussion, planning, and implementation.  Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Be supportive
  • Approach the conversation with kindness and compassion.
  • Gather information and plan your conversation.
  • Ask the older driver about how they felt when their parents or another loved one drove past the point of safety (or when they gave up the keys).
  • Remind your older loved one you are concerned about their health and safety and ensuring the safety of those around them.
  • Remind your older loved one that giving up driving isn’t the same as giving up their independence, freedom, hobbies, etc.
  • Include alternatives to driving (public transport, uber, friends driving, other services in your community, etc.) in your conversation.