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Elderly Parents Driving Vehicles
Old 10-19-2015, 10:22 AM   #1
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Elderly Parents Driving Vehicles

At what age did your parents stop driving? Or are they still on the road?

My Dad stopped of his own volition around 82-83. I think he realized his legs were no longer strong enough to operate the gas/brake pedals. And I suspect he had a scare or two on the road that we didn't know about.

Mom is 85 and still drives. No long trips, just around town. For now, I think she is still capable. But just like when we were young, you get too many friends in the car and you increase the distraction level.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:31 AM   #2
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My mom did not drive. My dad died at age 81 and vouluntarily gave up driving about a year before that. He realized that his observational skills and reaction times were deteriorating. He confided to me that he had come close to knocking down a little girl and feared inadvertently causing an accident.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauAnn View Post
At what age did your parents stop driving? Or are they still on the road?

My Dad stopped of his own volition around 82-83. I think he realized his legs were no longer strong enough to operate the gas/brake pedals. And I suspect he had a scare or two on the road that we didn't know about.

Mom is 85 and still drives. No long trips, just around town. For now, I think she is still capable. But just like when we were young, you get too many friends in the car and you increase the distraction level.
My mother still had her car at age 90. She was even blind in one eye at that age. My brothers and I were frantic with worry, and she said she didn't drive it MUCH... We persuaded her to sell it but she was at least 90 before she did (I have forgotten the exact age).

F and I were talking about this yesterday. Part of the reason I moved next door to him (other than the obvious benefits), is that his neighborhood is pretty walkable.

I am only 67 and after my recent cataract surgery I am hoping my driving will improve somewhat. Still, I anticipate possibly getting rid of my car sometime in my 70's maybe. Guess I'll play it by ear.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:37 AM   #4
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My parents died relatively young (77 and 67)... so they drove till they died.

My grandmother had longevity... In her early 80's she stopped driving at night. She gave up her car (and her sense of independence, unfortunately) in her mid 80's. My mom would take her shopping and on errands twice a week. She moved in with my sister in her later 80's.

My MIL never drove... still doesn't. She never had a license but was a power user of public transit in Philadelphia. FIL drove past when he should - he kept his license for a decade past when he had his last car. After his car was stolen when he was in his late 70's my husband and SIL sat MIL down and said "don't buy him a new car - he's unsafe on the road". That was the end of his driving except a very occasional car rental to get to the Jersey shore, or similar.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:37 AM   #5
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My mom was about 93 or 94 when she gave up driving....

The last 4 or so years she only drove to the YMCA, bank and stores all the same direction.... all within 3 miles of her home....

The 4 or so years prior to that she did drive longer distances, but never out of town.... nor did she use the freeway....
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:41 AM   #6
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My parents are 78 & 76 and still drive but their driving days are numbered. DF can't drive at night. DM drives OK for now but I worry about their driving.

( Their last 5 cars have been either paid by me - 2 leases and a brand new car, or hand me downs from me - 2. Their stop driving me will help me reduce my ER budget as well as theirs. ).
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:46 AM   #7
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My parents both drive, at 74 and 73, but mom has been an awful driver pretty much always, so I haven't seen much deterioration, honestly. Dad is getting worse, I think, but I must say I haven't gone out of my way to ride with them anywhere.
This is the problem with living far out from services--they, like me, live in a rural area and there's no other options but driving.
Makes me think about what I'll do at that age, and that I'll need to be somewhere like W2R has moved.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:53 AM   #8
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Mom didn't drive much as her mental capacity diminished. Probably only one time past 85, she shouldn't have driven then but DF needed surgery. Dad drove until 94, he shouldn't have in retrospect. He had successfully covered up dementia for many years. Actually the reason he stopped was a stint needed replaced and he was miserable. Otherwise it would have been impossible to get him to stop without going to war.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:08 AM   #9
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DM drove till about 72 when she had a stroke and developed Alzheimer's. DF drove till the end. He died relatively young from cancer.

FIL quit driving at 77 when he had a stroke, which greatly impacted his mental capacity. He's now 83 and still has a license but he knows he can't drive. MIL still drives at 82, but only around town for shopping, doctors appointments, or to our house. Anywhere else, we drive them. She had 3 minor fender-benders in close succession a couple years ago. But after cataract surgery, she's been doing much better. Still, we'll probably take away the keys in a couple years, or certainly if anything more serious happens. It's a tough call that DW and I talk about frequently.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:12 AM   #10
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My FIL is 85 and had macular degeneration. He can barely read his Kindle but he insists on continuing to drive. He doesn't drive very far and only during the day but he lives in a busy neighborhood. He is very stubborn. He doesn't want to talk about the subject of giving up driving.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:19 AM   #11
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Dad is 89 and still driving. He lives in a rural area and doesn't like driving after dark and won't drive in the city. I have been with him on a ride in the last few months and he seems to be doing fine and is very careful. His wife is younger so she does most of the longer distance driving especially in the city. He had cataract surgery earlier in the year and has remarked about how much better he sees and especially the colors. No signs of dementia with him so hoping he won't develop it.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:03 PM   #12
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My Dad died at 84 and he gave up driving at least 5 years earlier. He had arthritis in his neck and couldn't turn his head well enough to see. I pulled the plug on my Mom's driving at 90. Scratches started to appear on the side of the car. She didn't mind stopping. Passed away at 95..
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:43 PM   #13
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Mom will be 85 next month and is still living on her own and driving... just short trips and not at night. Funny thing... we had her over for a farewell dinner a few weeks ago and it was dark when she left and she drove the whole way home (only ~ 1/3 mile) with just her DRLs... she never turned the lights on!

I suspect her no longer driving is an issue that we will have to address sometime in the next 5 -10 years.... I'm not looking forward to it.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:46 PM   #14
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My dad became incapable of safely driving very early, so I'd "volunteer" to drive his car to places to prevent him from doing it.
It caused the family a lot of anxiety when he drove.
We often discussed calling the licence bureau to pull his licence or force him to be tested (he was too young for mandatory testing).

Once when he was out, the police pulled him over thinking he was drunk because he was weaving, etc. That was how bad he would drive.

He also bought a new car during this time, which mom sold since she never drove.
She had plenty of freedom by using public transit all her life so she never considered getting a licence for the car.
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:15 PM   #15
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Mom is 87 and still driving. I haven't ridden with her to evaluate whether that is good or bad.

Her companion is 90 and still driving. He bought a new BMW M3 about 3 years ago. He gave us a ride about a year ago without scaring us, a pleasant surprise.

Both know they have some limitations. They stay mostly local in the suburbs, but have driven into San Francisco for doctor appointments.
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:36 PM   #16
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My mother stopped driving around age 82, at her doctor's suggestion, and sold the car. She was living in a CCRC so transportation wasn't an issue for her, they had a small bus to take people on grocery runs, doctor's appointments and the like.

The one problem in the family was DW's father. He drove for about two years past the point when he should have stopped. In everyone's opinion he was the proverbial "accident going someplace to happen" and no one would ride with him. Since he insisted he was driving fine I finally wrote a letter to MVA asking that he be tested. I would have bet my next pension check that he would fail but to everyone's astonishment he (barely) passed!

It wasn't too long after that that the car developed mechanical issues that he didn't have the money to fix so the situation finally resolved itself.
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:46 PM   #17
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My MIL gave up driving on her own at about 80 yo, and lived another 8 years. Something must have happened that scared her, but we don't know what it was.

My Mom was still driving at age 93, about 2K miles per year, though she shouldn't have been on the road. Fortunately she never had an accident, but she got lost once, and she scraped the front fender of her car on the side of the garage opening three times that I know of. My Dad and sister finally took away her keys about 6 months ago. That did not go well, but she got over it eventually.

My Dad is still driving at age 93. Fortunately he only drives about 5K per year now, and never after sunset. He used to tailgate horribly, but that stopped thankfully (no idea why) and so he's not a bad driver, though he does make some mistakes. There is no way we could stop him from driving, though he has said he expects to fail his drivers test next year.
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:55 PM   #18
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My neighbor is 92 and still driving. As far as I can tell, he's still doing fine.

My parents both gave it up in their 60s. Living in NYC, they didn't need a car, so that was a big factor.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:04 PM   #19
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One more data point - my step mom.

She was 87 when she gave up teaching nursing. She gave up driving at night a year earlier and arranged a shuttle/limo service to take her to/from her twice weekly evening classes that she taught. Her neuropathy got worse and she no longer felt safe driving, even during the day. A few months later she moved to an independent apartment in an assisted living community. The community has regular shuttle bus access for routine stuff like shopping, and for a small fee you can get one-off shuttle bus service for things like doctors appts.

It was interesting observing her transition to no car - similar to my grandmother. A feeling of loss of independence. But both recognized it was time.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:14 PM   #20
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I would not use age as any kind of gauge (yeah, I know, poet and don't know it).

Capability is what is key. Vision, agility, reflexes, awareness (especially to the side and behind) are what matters. That could be any age for anyone.

We wanted my FIL to stop driving, but he was stubborn. It scared us, but we couldn't really get through to him. Then his driver test (with road test) was coming up, and we said, fine, he will flunk and that's that. We don't have to be the bad guy.

He passed!

I've gotta believe the instructor thought he was doing him a favor, probably told just drive in the day, no highways, etc. It wasn't long before it got so bad that he let us take the keys though. And yep, that was pretty bad.

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