One of the biggest hits to a senior’s psyche is the loss of a driver’s license. This is because with a driver’s license and car gives us a sense of liberty, freedom to come and go as we please. Even if we do not go anywhere, knowing we can is enough. How would you cope with that? That’s the way the senior feels too, only it’s worse because they know that they might never get it back. This thought can cause anger, depression, and a devastating blow to self-confidence, self-worth, and individuality.
When choosing a caregiver make sure they understand that if they drive the customer’s car the reduction of their driver’s license isn’t too big of a deal as it would be when they felt stuck, not able to get out or go anywhere. After a while elderly folks become comfortable, joyful, even revived in their discussions, enjoying being pushed around or being”chauffeured” as they like to say.
An acquaintance of mine in Camarillo who collaborated with me to write this article has a tragic story. Years ago his grandma pulled out of neighborhood pool parking lot – pulled right in front a professional wildlife removal truck, she died instantly. The family forgave him, as he cried saying how sorry he was that it happened, even though everyone knew it wasn’t his fault.
A friend of his took the keys away from their dad because while they were driving around together the dad stopped in the middle of the freeway to point to something on a mountain, forgetting he was driving on the freeway, and almost killed them both, and yet another sibling. The dad was devastated he lost use of the car, they probably saved his life and he lived another 10-years to see his grandchildren finish college.
We know of so many stories like these, but at times the DMV or court won’t take away the permit until there’s a horrible accident or too many moving violations. There are far too many stories of seniors accidentally hitting the gas instead of the brake and running into a building, tree ditch, pole or pedestrian.
Due to liability issues, it’s important to find caregivers who can drive clients in the customer’s car for insurance purposes. This tends to work out well for all concerned. And, always remember to treat this sensitive issue very carefully and with understanding.