How to talk to elderly loved ones about unsafe driving

As we grow older how we feel about our ability to drive shifts. When you get your driver’s license for the first time you get a new sense of freedom and independence. As an adult the privilege of being behind the wheel is one many of us rely on. Also, as you age more and more your driver’s license becomes a valued symbol of self-sufficiency.

However, aging can come with a number of common physical changes that can make driving increasingly difficult and eventually dangerous.  Stiff joints and weaker muscles can make it harder to turn your head, brake in a safe manner, or turn the steering wheel quickly enough. Reduced quality of eyesight and hearing can become dangerous when it comes to taking in visual and auditory signals on the road. Also, slowed reflexes and side effects from medications can impact your driving ability.

If a loved one of yours is becoming an unsafe driver due to age, having a conversation with them about turning in their keys for good can be a difficult conversation to have. Following some of these tips might help make it smoother:

Avoid confrontational language

When initiating a conversation with an elderly loved one about their ability to drive it can be easy for them to feel like a calling-out of their deteriorating ability to drive is an attack rather than an expression of care and concern.  Make sure to emphasize your concern.  When deciding what you will say and how you will say it, structure your statements referencing yourself more than them.

Focus on safety

After a lifetime of driving to everything they love, feeling a push to give up driving can also feel like a push to give up everything else they love. Make it clear that the focus in getting them to stop driving is on safety, and that they can still continue doing the things they love.

Have alternatives prepared

Offering reliable alternatives instead of driving can make prospects of them giving up driving not as daunting. It’s possible that they may not be aware of what is available to them. Help them find more information if needed to start using alternative modes of transportation or, if possible, help by driving them.

Use specifics and multiple voices

You want your loved one to take this conversation seriously. Avoid sounding like one person nagging. If multiple people have concerns let them come together with you on this to show your elderly loved one that they have a group of people who care about them and are concerned about their safety. Also, when having the conversation voice generalizations less and offer specific examples instead.

Show empathy

This is likely a difficult conversation for your loved one to have or thing for them to hear. Make sure to approach the conversation with an empathetic view of how they may be feeling when facing these prospects. Be supportive, show respect and offer positivity.

If you have been injured, and need legal assistance, call #1000 on your cell phone for free. We will offer you a free claim assessment.

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For active seniors: a guide to safe walking in the winter

Winter can be a beautiful season in Canada. But, the cold weather brings with it lots of hazards—especially while getting around. Whether you’re out and about to enjoy the season, or just get from point A to point B, you need to be careful.

Sustaining an injury from slippery conditions on the ground can bring with it serious long-term health problems and a fear of staying active. To prevent a slip and fall this winter here is the Canada Safety Council guide for active Canadian seniors:

1. Make your pathway a safe one

Make sure that surfaces around your home are safe by having them cleared of snow and sprinkled with salt, or sand, if necessary. If you have trouble removing the ice and snow on your own contact a local support agency or other community services for assistance. Report hazards on your walkways to your landlord or your municipal government.

However, while venturing beyond your property you have less control when it comes to the conditions you will face. Carrying a small bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter with you can come in handy when confronted by icy sidewalks while out and about.

2. Be prepared for the weather conditions

Dressing for the weather can make all the difference while you’re out and about in the winter. Proper footwear is key. Wear boots that are insulated, waterproof and light-weight with wide heels, and soles that are thick, treaded and non-slip.

For added grip in icy conditions ice grippers can be helpful but they can easily become dangerous and need to be removed before walking on smooth surfaces like tiles. Be careful if you are considering using them.

To help with balance walking aids like a cane (which an ice pick can be added to) or a walker can help. Also, wearing a hip protector and bright or reflective clothing can help prevent injury while walking outdoors.

3. Know what to do if you’re caught on ice

Walking on ice should be avoided, but if somehow you end up caught on an ice patch on your route walking in a certain way can help make you more stable. First, slow down, keep your body loose and your base wide (feet more than a foot apart). Keep your knees loose but bent to lower your centre of gravity and make your steps with your whole foot, shifting your weight slowly before bringing your feet together again. If shuffling your feet feels better just remember to keep a wide base.

Unfortunately, despite everything we do to prepare for a safe walk we can meet unsafe conditions while outside in the winter. A slip and fall outdoors due to dangerous conditions can change your life.

Fast dial #1000 free from your cell and we’ll get you the support you need.

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