Family and Caregiver Resources
Families, partners, and friends play a large
role in aging road user safety and mobility. Resources to help
prepare families and caregivers to discuss driving concerns,
including the process to reduce or stop driving, can be found here
Research indicates that driving discussions between older adults and families and friends can be effective to help address the issues of aging and safe driving. In a survey conducted by The Hartford/MIT AgeLab of 7,200 adults aged 50 and older, more than half followed the suggestions made in conversations they had with their families about their driving.
Even when family members and friends are willing to tackle these difficult conversations, research shows they want more information to begin the discussion.
Before even starting the conversation it is important for everyone involved to know and understand:
- The warning signs and symptoms indicating driving problems (visit our Driver Skills page for more info)
- Tips on observing the older adults driving abilities
- How to understand the meaning of driving from the loved one’s perspective
- How to begin the driving discussion
- How best to talk about appropriate driving choices and ways to travel around the community as a non-driver
- What are the community resources for driving evaluation and remediation
- Strategies for driving reduction or retirement
- Local transportation options (visit our Find a Ride page for options shown by county/city)
This conversation can be difficult for everyone involved but do not let these reasons stop you from having it:
- Apprehension about the older driver's response
- Fear of being disrespectful
- Family may not live nearby to help meet their loved ones transportation needs
- Isolating the older driver if they life alone
- Older adult may not want to burden others for rides
- A crisis has not yet occurred
Postponing the discussion until after a crisis has occurred or bringing it up out of the blue at family gatherings, can bring stress to everyone involved. You may feel that there never is a good time to bring up the issue, but properly planning and preparing can help you.
Under Florida law, any physician, agency, family member, or the general public, who knows of any licensed driver's mental or physical disability to drive, is authorized to report this information to the Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The Medical Reporting form should provide the full name, date of birth, and address of the person being reported along with a description of the problem. Anyone reporting the driver must include their own contact information and sign the report. However, this contact information is not shared with anyone, including the driver being reported, it is only used when the report information needs to be clarified.
The reports are kept strictly confidential and no civil or criminal action may be brought against the person who submits the information. For more information on reporting an unsafe driver, visit the FLHSMV website.Other Resources
- Florida's Guide for Aging Drivers - order your free copy here
- AARP's "We Need to Talk" On-line Seminars - Available in both English and Spanish
- SeniorDriving.AAA.com website "How to Help Senior Drivers in Your Life"
- The Hartford's "Family Conversations with Older Drivers"
The American Occupational Therapy Association has valuable information for caregivers and families and they also publish brochures, publications, and fact sheets, one of which is "Keeping the Older Driver Safe".
The American Journal of Occupational Therapy has a special issue on "Older Driver Safety and Community Mobility".
For most Americans, a driver license is considered the first outward and visible step toward becoming an adult. Today, many of us see cars as physical extensions of ourselves - transporting us wherever we want, whenever we want. However, the time may come when driving is no longer a safe option. The decision to stop driving is never an easy one. But, the key for a positive transition from driving is PLANNING.
To help Floridians properly plan Florida's Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan, contains a Transitioning from Driving Emphasis Area where we have developed specific objectives and strategies to help achieve our goal to "Bridge the gap between driving retirement and mobility independence." Working with our national, state, and local partners we will continue to develop programs and resources to help older adults and their families prepare for a safe transition to help them maintain independence and remain active in their communities.
The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition created a "Retirement from Driving" section in our Guide for Aging Drivers that contains resources and information to help individuals and families properly plan for the transition. To get your free copy, click here.Other Resources
- Florida Dept of Elder Affairs, "Do You Have a Driving Retirement Plan?" Elder Update article
- NIH's "Other Ways To Get Around"
- Visit our Driving Skills page.
NHTSA's Driving Transitions Education: Tools, Scripts, and Practice Exercises Handbook was developed to prepare professionals for effective conversations about driver safety and community mobility issues with older adults, their families, and concerned community members.
“Hanging Up the Keys? Options When Driving Retirement Becomes a Crisis.” is a guide that was developed by Annie Harmon of the University of Missouri - St. Louis as part of a 2009 Student Scholars initiative. The document is designed to assist individuals and families in better understanding the current level of risk older drivers face and to direct them to comprehensive resources. The free guide includes a driving checklist, risk factors to consider, communication and safety tips, and information on alternatives to driving.
The Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) was legislatively created in 1985 to provide a continuum of services to meet the changing needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and similar memory disorders, and their families. The Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) coordinates and develops policy to carry out the statutory requirements for the ADI.
Florida has designated 15 memory disorder clinics that provide comprehensive assessments, diagnostic services, and treatment to individuals who exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and related memory disorders. The clinics also develop training programs and materials and conduct training for caregivers, respite service providers and health care professionals to help care of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related memory disorders. The DOEA website has a location map and contact information to help you find a Memory Disorder Clinic near you.
Florida’s Aging Resource Centers are committed to helping individuals age 60 and above and those who care about them understand and navigate the complex web of available services, agencies and other options. Their goal is to help you find the information, resources, and services you need to make informed decisions.
Florida’s eleven Aging Resource Centers help find agencies and individuals who can provide assistance on a variety of issues – from housing and home care to meals, transportation and other areas of concern. Visit their website to find an Aging Resource Center in your area.
Information for Health Care Providers on Counseling Older Drivers
Doctors and other health care professionals play an important role in the safe mobility of their older patients. The AMA encourages physicians to make driver safety a routine part of their medical services. NHTSA's website contains helpful information for physicians in the Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers.
Each state has its own licensing and license renewal criteria for drivers of private motor vehicles. In addition, certain states require physicians to report unsafe drivers or drivers with specific medical conditions to the driver licensing agency. Information on Florida’s Medical Advisory Board can be found on our Laws page.Other Resources
TransAnalytics Health & Safety Services sponsored website DrivingHealth.com includes information on medical fitness to drive, medications that might impair driving, screening and assessment, and training/remediation.
"Driver safety in older adults: The physician’s role
in assessing driving skills of older patients" an article written by
Germaine L. Odenheimer, M.D. in Volume 61, Number 10 in Geriatrics.