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Driving - doubled edged sword

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Caregivers especially family caregivers frequently find themselves thrust into the very difficult situation of helping someone give-up their driver’s license. This loss is one of great emotional and personal tragedy for older people. As caregivers we must remember that the person we are talking about balanced their independence and identity on having and driving a car. This loss is one of personal degradation for many.

Because we are the one on the front lines of caring and keeping the person in as peak of health as possible, we should not being in this position. Let another professional be the bad guy here, this is the best option. Also remember that just because our person no longer has a driver’s license does not meant they will not get in the auto and drive; especially when the illness involves short-term memory loss. The best answer to this situation is to let another professional make the decision with the person to take away the driver license; while at the same time having a family member or friend move the car to an out of sight parking area.

This is really as difficult a conversation as telling someone they have a terminal illness. As caregivers we must be prepared for the fallout. Just as it is not the best choice (in some cases cruel) to tell a person their spouse or child has passed away, the driver license can be just as emotionally charged. Preparing ourselves ahead with some answers is a very prudent direction for a caregiver to take. Also, this is one of those times when we (caregivers) can take solace in knowing if our person was as they were years ago, they would understand and not want to drive.

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