Persuading an elderly relative to give up driving can be an emotional and difficult task, but when they become a danger to themselves and others, you’re left with very little option.
However, while one woman succeeded in convincing her 89-year-old mother not to renew her driver’s licence – she has revealed she still drives her two cars round the roads near her home to “keep them running”.
Desperate to make her stop amid worries she could have an accident, the woman wrote to the Washington Post‘s Ask Amy column pleading for advice – and admitted she’s even considered reporting her to the police.
“My siblings and I have told her that her behaviour is irresponsible, illegal and dangerous, but she ignores it,” the woman explained.
“She has developed contacts (friends, relatives, Uber) to transport her to activities, but last week she told one of my siblings, ‘I’m still driving the car around the block, and you’re not the boss of me’.
“What is the best way to handle this? We have tried reasoning with her, but that hasn’t worked. Should I call the police and report her?”
However, the response was sceptical, as ‘Amy’ questioned if they were certain their mother was actually driving – and wasn’t just telling them she was to remind them she’s “in charge of her life”.
Insisting it would be “poor judgement” if it is true, the response went on: “It is illegal for unlicensed drivers to drive — even around the block. Your mother knows this, and in some sense, her choice to do this proves that she isn’t being a very good boss to herself.”
It added: “You and your siblings have told her what to do – probably repeatedly. But have you asked her substantial and open-ended questions lately, and listened carefully to her answers?”
Advising the woman to sit down with her mum for a lengthy and compassionate conversation, ‘Amy’ concluded: “Don’t threaten, wag your finger, or tsk tsk her. You are not an 89-year-old woman. You don’t know what it feels like. Be humble enough to recognise this.”
Drivers in some states of Australia are already required to carry a medical certificate with them in the car, but there are calls for more restrictions, such as annual driving tests, to make it harder for elderly drivers to get on the road.