You and your siblings have been paying attention to your father's driving habits for a while now. Maybe Alzheimer's or dementia is interfering with mental processes, or perhaps his vision and reflexes simply aren't as sharp as they used to be. Whatever the case, you know that it's time to take the keys. Before you sit down to tell Dad he can't drive, make sure you have a plan in place.
Make sure everyone is on the same page. Sit down with your siblings and discuss it ahead of time rather than going in alone. If you're arguing about whether or not it's time to take Dad's keys, he'll be sure to side with the sibling who insists that he's going to be just fine for a long while yet. Instead, present a united front to be sure you'll get the best results.
Decide who is going to be the spokesman. No, you don't have to plan out everything you're going to say ahead of time, but it can be helpful to know who's going to take point when you're talking to your father. Elect the sibling your father is most likely to agree with to be the one to come out and say it, but don't be afraid to let others speak up if it's necessary.
Be prepared for objections. Obviously, if your father is still driving, he still believes that he's capable of it. You may, on the other hand, have noticed that he's sticking closer to home or that he's less likely to go out than he used to be, which may be a good sign that he's seeing the same problems you are.
Develop a plan of action. No one wants--or is able--to stay home all the time. Make sure that you and your siblings are ready with a plan of action that will allow you to get your father where he needs to be even after you take his keys.
Decide what will be done with the car. Dad is, of course, welcome to have some input, but it can be helpful to decide together what a good plan of action will be. If you don't all have vehicles that he can easily get in and out of, for example, you might want to keep the car in the driveway at his house for a little longer. Should you hide the keys, or are they fine where they are? Thinking through all of these issues ahead of time will make it easier to have the conversation with your dad.
Taking your aging parent's independence isn't a fun experience, but it does sometimes become necessary. As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!