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Drawn from real life: difficult times with aging parents

Early in her graphic memoir about her parents’ final years, Roz Chast still has conversations with them about driving. Scary conversations.

This one is just after her mother has had cataract surgery.

“I still have a patch over the eye, though. But not to worry: there’s plenty of food in the house – Daddy and I just came back from Waldbaum’s!”

“Mom! Listen to me. You can’t drive with one eye. You have no Depth Perception!!!”

“Not a problem. Daddy guided me.”

At Via, our mobility specialists regularly talk to adult children who are concerned about a parent who may need to limit or stop driving. The advice they give is to start with a conversation and follow these steps:

  1. be understanding;
  2. don’t wait; and
  3. offer options.

Russ M., age 90, said that his son started the driving conversation with him several times without success. “I was resenting his intrusion into my decision making, and he was resenting my stubbornness,” Russ said.

With the help of an online program (see our “Have You Had the Talk” online resources) Russ and his son were better able to see each other’s point of view. And while the program resolved the family conflict, it didn’t make Russ’ decision to give up the keys any easier.

But having his son’s understanding and support helped Russ as did the knowledge that community resources were available to help him maintain his independence. Resources like Via’s travel training and paratransit program.

Learn more about starting the conversation and about options from Via that will help your loved ones stay connected to their active life when it’s time to reduce or stop driving. Call 303-447-2848 ext. 1047, or email Via’s mobility specialist.

For more about Chast’s graphic memoir, “Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” click here.