“Although I have not used this approach to address my concerns about my 92 yo step-father driving, I thought it worthy of making available to others to read about”, states Toby
As a retired Ohio State Trooper, I have personally delivered dozens of death notifications to families of highway tragedies. As a result of those experiences, in 2008 I founded Keeping Us Safe.
For families that might benefit from a third-party, impartial intervention in resolving the very delicate and sensitive issue of mom or dad’s diminished driving skills, we offer you our Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” professionals.
The “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program is designed to help older drivers with diminishing driving skills make a smooth transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat without any deterioration to their dignity or independence.
I once conducted one of our self-assessment sessions with 86 year old Barbara. Barbara’s adult children contacted Keeping Us Safe after they became concerned about her driving. They reported that mom became lost while driving home from the grocery store last week, and a large dent in the corner of the front bumper of her car was recently discovered. When asked about it, Barbara explained she had no idea how the dent got in the car, or how long it had been there.
Barbara (referred to by her children as stubborn!) was not happy to meet with me, and perceived our session as an unnecessary attack on her driving abilities and a threat to her independence, but she agreed, mostly to appease her children. Near the end of our session, Barbara said the magic words that no one ever expected to hear… “Well, I guess it’s probably time for me to give up driving”. And she did.
Barbara, her adult children and I worked together to develop a plan to ensure Barbara’s personal independence would not be jeopardized as a result of her decision to retire from driving. Several months later, Barbara called to report that since she has given up driving, her social calendar has become busier than ever. She explained that family, friends and even friends-of-friends now involve her in their activities and have gone out of their way to see that she gets to wherever she wants to go.
When asked later, Barbara’s daughter said that she was not only relieved that her mother had made a peaceful retirement from driving, but added that she was equally grateful that this issue did not escalate to the point that it strained her valued relationship with her mother.
Our programs are designed to save lives while simultaneously helping to ease the burden of the family as they find themselves faced with this very challenging issue. I have said many times before that as the founder of Keeping Us Safe, I would much rather have these difficult conversations now, rather than having a State Trooper knocking on your front door tomorrow.
For more information on our programs, or if you are interested in becoming a Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professional, visit Keeping Us Safe at http://www.keepingussafe.org.
On a side note, Barbara ended up selling her vehicle and used that money to take her dream vacation with her lifelong friend, Betty.
Thank you for taking time to read my post,
Matt Gurwell, Founder & CEO of Keeping Us Safe