Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Is now the time to stop driving? Resources for older drivers and their families

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Sorry Detroit.  It’s been a long time since we bought a new car.  We’ve been buying “Mom” cars for years. Used, low mileage cars purchased because someone’s Mom, Grandma, aunt couldn’t drive it anymore. 

 There’s always a story behind the car; and, unfortunately, it’s often about loss.  The automobile is so tied to our independence –our ability to go where we want to go, when we want to go. Most of us don’t live in neighborhoods where it’s easy to walk or take public transportation to get what you need.  So, losing the car means relying on someone else. And for the sandwich generaion, it’s adding another level of responsibility and duties.

 It’s tough to stop driving.  And for family members it’s difficult to step in because the topic is so emotional. And you’re just not sure when and how to approach the topic.  A new website from AAA can help (www.aaaseniors.com).  

 The website is focused on the senior driver and provides great tips and resources for on assessing the skills of an older driver and how to create a plan of action when the time comes to stop driving.  Here are three planning tips:

  •  Think about and discuss the gradual adjustments that may need to be made as you or the senior in your life gets older. Sometimes, just a few simple adjustments, such as limiting driving to certain times of day, avoiding night driving or adding an extra-wide mirror, can help prolong a senior’s driving.
  • Identify alternative modes of transportation well before skills diminish.
  • In choosing a retirement home, look at access to public transportation, the ability to walk to services, and whether transportation is provided by the facility

AAA also provides a self-assessment tool for the senior driver that can help raise awareness about the current level of their driving skills.

Like the conversaions about money, talking about whether it’s time to hang up the car keys is an emotional discussion.  Take advantage of these resources to help you and your older drvier make the right decision at the right time.

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Written by Laura Rossman

June 23, 2009 at 9:55 am

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