As a child of aging parents we ask ourselves this very question. As a Certified Driver Examiner in the province of Ontario, I know when it’s time. Unfortunately senior don’t either.
In this province, every driver has to go for a written and vision test when they reach the age of 80, and every 2 years after. These folks got their drivers license before Driver Education classes began and there were not so many vehicles on the road.
My father (aged 87) told me he did his drivers test, landed on someone’s front lawn and the examiner jumped out of the car and threw the license at him saying “You passed”.
If someone is involved in a car accident (whether they caused it or not) at age 65 or over, they automatically have to go for a road test, which is a regulation.
In this province, the only one that can suspend a driver’s license for medial reasons is a doctor. It’s the law. When the family speaks to a senior’s doctor regarding concerns for unsafe driving, the doctor has to put the license under medical suspension. The file then goes to Medical Review at the Ministry of Transportation. The suspended driver has to prove they are competent to drive and the process begins. They have up to 3 years to take driving test to regain their license and have to see a doctor to establish that they are healthy enough to drive. Every province and state should adopt the same rules, as we frequently travel to each others country.
If you find yourself in the position of caring for your elderly parents, get some support.
Continue on with YOUR life, do the things that make you happy. Go to the movies; enjoy watching and participating in sporting events that you love. Perhaps get counseling. I did, it really helped. It helped me deal with their aging brains and not get upset at the weird things they said to me.
Seniors don’t realize their senses have diminished; their reaction time has lessened. It’s a known fact that seniors can suffer mini strokes while driving, usually lasting for only second, but that’s all it takes – right?
Once a senior has failed a driving test, the family usually becomes unhappy because they realize now they have to drive the senior around to appointments. But as a caring society, we have to stop being selfish – we can’t have unsafe drivers on the road.
I know the Cancer Society will arrange for transportation if a person is undergoing treatment. In my town the mobile bus (for people with disabilities) will come directly to the house to pick you up if you call before and arrange a time. There are options. If you inquire you can find assistance in your town.
Also, try to pace yourself and get support, from us, from other family members, from neighbors. It will all work out and you will be blessed for your efforts.
Submitted by Carol