As parents age many issues arise. In many of our meetings we listen to concerned children who are taking the time and responsibility of caring for their elderly parent. We commend you as we understand how difficult it can be – emotionally, physically, financially, and mentally – to do so.
Of frequent and often urgent concern is “The Car”. While many elderly are able to drive, others are a risk to themselves and the public. Often those least able to recognize and react to traffic situations, when faced with loss of freedom and isolation, are those least able to recognize and accept this fact.
We understand that the “take away the keys” solution is not so simple, and certainly no walk in the park to put in place. No one is out to agitate their parents or argue with an irrational parent over safety concerns. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to “convince” a parent as many believe they are giving up yet another aspect of independence.
One viable option is to leave the decision up to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you believe your parent is at risk, you can work with the DMV to have their license suspended – without your parent knowing of your involvement.
It starts with writing a letter of concern to the DMV, stating your relationship, your parent’s information including name, address, license number or social security number, pertinent medical conditions, and why they are at risk or unable to maneuver a motor vehicle in a safe manner. The DMV will send a medical review form to your parent. This medical form requires your parent to obtain a medical evaluation by their general doctor who will then make a recommendation to the DMV. Depending on the doctor’s recommendation, the DMV may then mandate a driving road test of your parent. If the DMV believes your parent is at risk, their license will be suspended.