If you fall into the generation known as thebaby boomers, there’s a good chance that you also fall into the sandwich generation. Why? Because we are sandwiched between the responsibilities for our growing kids and the growing needs of our elderly parents. While we usually accept both responsibilities, it can be stressful to step in and play the “parent” to our own aging parents.
As tough as it is to teach our teens to drive, it’s much tougher to police our parents’ driving. One important—and difficult—issue we may have to face is evaluating the safety of older drivers in the family.
It can be very hard to summon the courage to tell the people who drove with us the first time—andpossibly paid for our first accident—that their own driving habits make us nervous. But sometimes, for the safety of our parents and other drivers and even to comply with auto insurance company and state regulations, we have to force the issue.
You may take some comfort in knowing that you are not the first adult child to have to tackle this problem—and that help already exists.
Many elderly people can still display maturity, experience and strong driving skills, but some infirmities of age can make other older drivers a true road hazard.
If you have concerns about one of your parents’ driving, you are right to address the issue. One ticket or accident isn’t a sign of a problem, but a change in the frequency of tickets, accidents or even small incidents should alarm you.
The most difficult part of this discussion will not necessarily be about handing over the car keys. The argument will most likely focus on your aging family member’s fear of giving up their freedom, responsibility and even identity.
In our culture, one major rite of passage is earning a driver’s license. Aging adults may feel as if they are being treated like a child when they give up the car keys.
You will have to accept the fact that you may be regarded as the bad guy for a while, but it will eventually pass. In the meantime, you can take comfort knowing that your actions may have saved your elderly loved ones’ and other drivers’ lives.Guest blogger Marilyn Katz is the founder of www.over50web.net , an online community for boomers.