Senior Connection

Apr 3, 2013

Care To Ask?

Answering Your Caregiving Questions


My 77 year old uncle is having some issues with his driving. He is very persistent about driving and says he is not willing to give up his keys yet. My brother and I have found a few dents and scratches on his car and feel it is time he stop driving all together. Right now he has stopped driving at night and only drives short distances but I feel this isn’t enough. How do I get my uncle to give up the keys? What options does he have for transportation when he does? Any help would be great!


It is easy to understand why someone would not want to stop driving. Our society is centered around the private vehicle and being able to go where we want when we want. Think about how your uncle will feel needing to ask for a ride every time he wants to leave his house. That being said there is a time when an older adult may not be able to safely drive anymore. First, suggest that your uncle have a medical exam including vision and hearing as his driving issues may be related to something that can be corrected. Next, you may want to propose your uncle partake in driving assessments whether online or with a driving specialist. Having an impartial evaluation of his driving ability may be helpful for all of you. A driving specialist may be able to suggest vehicle adaptations that can help his driving.

If you do have to have a conversation with your uncle about giving up the keys it may be helpful to present him with the options for transportation that are available in his community. You can check with the local senior center to see if they offer any transportation. The senior center and/or council on aging may also be able to give you information on private and volunteer transportation programs in the area. Also if there is public transportation available in his community this may be an option for him. Some transportation authorities offer a travel training program to teach individuals how to use the fixed route bus service. If you think your uncle may have problems utilizing the fixed route service due to a disability there are ADA paratransit services available. The paratransit service offers curb to curb transportation. The person must be able to independently or with his or her own companion make it to the curb to wait for the ride. The ride must be scheduled in advance and may involve wait times. Once you have fully researched all of the transportation options available you can present these to your uncle to help calm his fears or giving up his keys.

You should also give your uncle a list of family and friends who would be willing to give him rides. Specify the times they are available for him to call. Offering multiple names may make your uncle more likely to utilize the list because he won’t feel that the burden is on one individual. When talking to your uncle, be sure you respect him and are empathetic to the situation, this is a hard transition.

Have any readers dealt with this situation? Share your experience in the comment section below.


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.