Talking with senior parents about driving: Part 4

Remember your purpose   

Earlier in this series, gerontologist Judi Bonilla reminded us why it’s so difficult to talk to your senior parents about giving up driving. She said it’s because there’s no model to follow—increased lifespans mean that many people won’t be driving for the last decade of their lives. And, of course, she reminded us that most seniors feel there are no good alternatives to driving.

But we need to do it. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released this chart showing the involvement of older adults in fatal car crashes—and the number starts spiking when drivers are over 75. Starting this conversation—and seeing it through to get unsafe drivers off the road—protects us all.

Judi likens these conversations to the #metoo movement, in which women started cautiously opening up about their experiences and eventually unleashed a flood of shared, familiar stories. “If the #metoo movement can open up these conversations, we can have these uncomfortable conversations too,” she says. It’s worth it, for the safety of our loved ones and everyone on the road.


This is the final post in a four-part series.

In Part 1, Judi discussed the importance of empathy in these conversations, and we learned how she put herself into the shoes of someone giving up driving.

In Part 2, Judi gave us tips for broaching the subject and starting the conversation with your parents about driving alternatives.

In Part 3, Judi talked about tangible ways you can support your parents in developing alternative driving plans—even if you don’t live nearby. It included a transportation planning template to get you started. 


Judi Bonilla is a San Diego-based gerontologist on a mission to help seniors stop driving when it’s no longer safe for them. Her book, Freewheeling After Sixty, is available on Amazon.

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