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When should I consider taking away the car keys?

As young people, the greatest thrill that can ever be imagined is getting a driver’s license and setting off for the open road. A driver’s license represents freedom, independence and mobility, but as we mature, we come to depend on that mobility to survive. For many of us, driving is essential for us to get to work, to earn money, to go shopping, get our kids to school and activities, etcetera. It is a factor in helping us to provide for our families, to a certain extent. Once that freedom of mobility is experienced, there is no going back. 


Taking away someone’s privilege to drive is a very serious matter. A set of car keys equals independence to many people, so this choice can have far reaching psycho-social implications. Making the decision to revoke a driver’s license on behalf of a loved one is a hard decision to make and does not have to be made alone. A physician is ultimately responsible for making that final decision. Your loved one’s doctor may order a driving evaluation to be performed by a Physical Therapist, or another credentialed professional who is trained in making such determinations.  

When professionals perform a driving evaluation, they typically use an adapted car with duel controls to ensure a safe atmosphere while the evaluation is being performed. This person will make recommendations based on the results of the evaluation and report those findings back to the ordering physician. This process removes the burden from the family member of being the “bad guy” and reduces the stress of the situation by having a third party providing an objective opinion.  


Safety is the ultimate consideration that when making this decision.  The evaluation will assess the driver’s reaction time on the road, their mobility and agility when driving, as well as their ability to make judgments as they relate to safety. This entire process boils down to one simple statement, Safety is Key! By involving a doctor, an outside objective voice is being brought into the conversation. This voice typically has a greater impact, because most elderly people trust doctors implicitly. The doctor’s word is gospel! This third-party voice will displace the anger away from the children and family members, and will offer an objective opinion based on data and not subjective emotion and thoughts. 

One of the services provided by Allegiance Home Health, is having the caregiver drive on behalf of the party in question. This service allows the older person to maintain their mobility, independence and autonomy, while staying safe on the road. This helps to keep them socially active as well, by reducing the effects of isolation that often come with taking one’s car keys. Ultimately, that feeling of freedom is maintained. This service option will allow a sense of independence to stay intact, while making sure all needs are met, and ensuring safety is the first consideration for all involved. Being mobile is a part of healthy aging but so is being safe on the road. 


At Allegiance Home Health and Rehab, “We pledge our allegiance to you.” We provide your loved ones with services custom designed to fit their individual needs. Our trained caregivers fully comprehend the condition and personality of the patient, providing them options to choose from various activities that include going on short walks, reading to them, and accompanying them to the store. 

If you are interested in hiring an aide for your mother or father, you can call us right away for a consultation. Click here to sign up for our free Newsletter and receive an exclusive report on “Suggestions for Successful Home Care Placement.” We look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!

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