The dreaded talk

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Senior Living

Published on June 02, 2021 with No Comments

Taking away the car keys from dad or mom

It’s the great debate – who’s the better driver?  Mom or Dad?  

Dads will love to hear in a recent national survey 63 percent of adult children say Dad is a better driver than Mom. However, if adult children had to take away Dad’s car keys because he’s unsafe to drive, many fear Dad would get so angry he’d cut them out of the will. 

The new national poll, commissioned by Visiting Angels, reveals more than 3 out of 4 (79 percent) adult children say telling their parents they’re taking away their car keys because they’re no longer fit to drive is the most uncomfortable conversation they could have with them. 

Sixty-six percent of adult children say it will be more difficult to have the car keys conversation with Dad than with Mom. And, three out of four adult children believe Dad will be more upset than Mom if he can’t drive anymore.

The national survey of 400 adults, whose parents are both living, 65 or older and currently driving, was commissioned by Visiting Angels, one of the nation’s largest in-home senior care companies with more than 450 offices throughout the country. 

Mom vs. Dad:

When asked how their parents will react to the car keys conversation … 

Dad is more likely than Mom to…

•    Deny there is a problem (78 percent)

•    Get angry (74 percent) 

•    Refuse to give up his car keys (75 percent)

•    Take away some of the inheritance (70 percent) 

•    Stop speaking to you (62 percent) 

Mom is more likely than Dad to… 

•    Cry (89 percent)

•    Say she’s relieved she doesn’t have to drive any more (75 percent) 

•    Agree with you and hand over her car keys (70 percent)

Who should talk with Dad: 

The survey reveals more than half (55 percent) of adult children would prefer their sibling/s have the car keys conversation with their parents. 

What’s so stressful about taking away parents’ car keys?  

•    The majority (61 percent) of respondents fear their parents will become depressed if they can’t drive. 

•    Nearly half (45 percent) say it will in some way damage their relationship with their parents. 

•    Forty-two percent say they worry they’ll now have to drive their parents around. 

“We often hear how families dread the ‘car keys’ conversation because it’s uncomfortable, emotionally charged and can strip their parents’ feelings of pride and independence. We would rather help families have this conversation than to have them avoid it all together. That’s why we started the Senior Driving Safety Program,” said Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels. “Our caregivers can help mediate the conversation and drive parents around so they’re not socially isolated and can get wherever they want to go. Plus, our caregivers are trained to spot elderly driving problems adult children often miss.”

For more information on Visiting Angels or to find a location near you, visit www.visitingangels.com.

Pullout:

“We often hear how families dread the ‘car keys’ conversation because it’s uncomfortable, emotionally charged and can strip their parents’ feelings of pride and independence.”

— Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels

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