Will My Parent Be Able to Keep a Car in Assisted Living?
If you and your senior parent are considering the possibility of your mother or father moving into an assisted living community, you have many questions. One of them may be, “will your parent be able to keep a car when living in assisted living?” This article provides the information you and your aging parent need regarding automobiles, your mother or father, and assisted living.
Importance of Access to Transportation for Your Aging Parent
Access to transportation is essential for seniors who wish to maintain their independence and remain active in their communities. Keeping a car in an assisted living facility can be a great way for elderly adults to stay mobile. It allows them to visit family and friends, meet important appointments, go for dinner or drive in the countryside. While assisted living communities typically allow residents to keep their cars and use them as needed, some restrictions and rules must be adhered to when bringing a vehicle into the facility.
Assessing Your Parent’s Ability to Drive
Before deciding if your senior parent should have a car in an assisted living facility, it’s important to consider any applicable rules or regulations regarding parking and driving privileges. Many older adults must have their doctor assess their health and physical ability before being allowed to drive; furthermore, some communities also impose age restrictions on driving within the premises. Residents may need to sign agreements about parking rules and safety measures related to using their cars upon admission into an assisted living community.
Once these requirements have been met, families will need to work with the management staff at the assisted living facility they chose to ensure all necessary documents are provided, such as proof of insurance coverage and car registration details, driver’s license information, etc. It is also important that your elderly loved one understands how they will fund fuel expenses associated with owning a car while living in an assisted living community. Some seniors opt out of keeping their vehicles because they can become too expensive if not managed properly.
Transportation Provided by Assisted Living Communities
In cases where seniors are unable or not medically cleared to drive by themselves anymore, many assisted living facilities provide transportation services for residents so that they don’t feel like they have lost all mobility options available just because they do not own a car anymore. Having access to reliable transportation helps elderly adults stay connected with their peers and participate in activities outside of the facility. Furthermore, having various transportation options available ensures seniors can travel safely by reducing the risk of getting behind the wheel on busy roads or highways.
Other Transportation Resources for Seniors in Assisted Living
Apart from personal vehicles or transportation services offered by the facility, many senior citizens rely on public buses or trains nearby and rideshare apps for trips beyond just running errands around town. Whether it’s through keeping a car at an assisted living residence or relying on alternative forms of transportation – having access to adequate mobility solutions is key to ensuring elderly adults remain independent despite age-related challenges or physical limitations associated with aging.
How to Discuss Giving up Driving With Your Senior
You may be in a position where your aging parent is no longer safe driving. One of the most difficult conversations an adult child can have with a parent is that surrounding giving up the keys and not driving any longer. Indeed, one of the primary reasons you may think that the time has arrived for your parent to enter assisted living is because of driving and transportation issues.
As an adult child of a senior parent, it’s important to approach the topic of your mother or father not driving with sensitivity and understanding. The ultimate goal of such a discussion is to find a suitable solution for your senior parent. There are five tips to help make the driving conversation easier:
- Have a frank discussion about safety concerns: Arrange for a private setting where you and your senior parent can openly and honestly discuss the safety risks associated with driving in their current condition. Explain that their safety is your top priority and that you are only offering advice out of concern for their health. Explain that these conversations should not be considered aggressive but rather conversational topics that arise out of love and care.
- Listen more than you talk: Listening is just as important as talking when having a productive conversation. Let your parent explain why they want to keep driving and what they would miss if they stopped. Ask questions to understand better their feelings, such as “What were some of the reasons why you enjoyed driving?” or “In what ways do you feel like giving up the car would limit your independence?” This will allow them to express themselves without feeling judged or unheard.
- Offer alternative transportation solutions: Once you have discussed the risks associated with driving, offer other transportation options as alternatives, such as public transit, ridesharing services, taxis, or volunteer driver programs for seniors in your community. Occupational therapy programs may also be available to help assess mobility issues and provide recommendations on how best to get from point A to point B safely and independently.
- Address any feelings of loss or sadness: Losing one’s license can evoke grief, sadness, or depression for many seniors who view it as the end of their independence. Acknowledge these emotions by expressing empathy instead of trying to minimize the importance of this milestone or cheer them up with false promises; instead, focus on celebrating all they have been able to achieve throughout their lives while reminding them that this isn’t necessarily goodbye but simply a change in lifestyle due to age-related concerns which we all inevitably encounter at some point in our lives.
- Seek outside support if needed: If either party needs additional support during this transition process, don’t hesitate to seek help from family members or mental health professionals who specialize in working with elderly adults facing similar changes in lifestyle due to aging issues such as losing their driver’s license or mobility challenges impacting everyday life activities. Talking through this difficult transition can help everyone involved develop creative solutions so your senior parent can maintain some sense of freedom while still being safe on the roads.
In closing, keep in mind that the staffs of assisted living facilities regularly face issues regarding seniors needing to get out from behind the wheel once and for all, according to Davis Zavik, writing in his book Assisted Living: Everything You Need to Know to Compassionately Care for Your Elderly Parent. If the issue of your parent continuing to drive comes up after your mother or father has moved into an assisted living community, staff support will aid you in working with your parent to get an agreement to stop driving.