When To Talk to Seniors About Driving

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How old is too old to be behind the wheel? It’s a common question that has recently been brought to light in my local households due to a bill that is currently in Nebraska’s legislature.

LB351 would require drivers older than 80 to pass a cognitive test to ensure they're physically and mentally capable of driving.

Monica Kuhns of Home Instead Senior Care says a conversation about driving should take place between an adult child and a parent far before the parent turns 80.

They recommend that when an adult child turns 40 or his or her parent nears 70, it’s time to start talking.

"Most people have the most difficult time talking to their parents about driving," said Kuhns. “It's better to talk when they’re in their seventies because it's a way you can bring up tough topics. It’s a way to say what your expectations are and what their expectations are before you get into a crisis moment.”

She recommends that children come prepared with safe transportation alternatives like family, neighbors, public transportation, or even professional caregivers.

“Lb351 actually gives you a way to talk to your parents about the issue and makes the government be the bad guy and not you,” she said. “That's always the hardest thing for them to give up. They perceive it as taking away their independence, and it's a really difficult thing.”