Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Taking Keys From Parents - When is the Right Time?

Monday and Tuesday of this week, popular local columnist John Schneider of the Lansing State Journal (MI), took on the tender subject of when to take the car keys away from parents. He describes the recent accident that landed his mother in the hospital, and the family's decision to not return her car keys to her. The decision was based on the fact that the car was totalled, but also they decided not to replace the car.

Yesterday several readers responded, one with a very similar story to what happened with my mother. In the readers case, the doctor told her mother not to drive, her children disagreed, and the doctor ordered a driving test. The woman passed the written, but failed the driving test.

In my mother's situation, we all knew she shouldn't be driving, but none of us wanted to be the "bad guy" and tell her no. Also, as my father couldn't drive due to his eyes, if Mom lost her license, the rest of use would have to step up to the plate. It sounds selfish, but we were all working and most of us lived out of town.

One family member worked at a hospital and the hospital carried forms people could fill out to request a driving test, but the family member, emotionally, couldn't fill it out. Another family member talked to Mom's doctor and his office sent a letter to the State of Michigan. The State sent a formal letter to Mom letting her know that due to her age, she needed to take a drivers test. That kept the family out of the "bad guy" column.

Well, Mom, Dad and Sister went to the license bureau, Mom took the test and did fine - until they got back to the parking lot. As she was attempting to park, she hit a car and flunked the test.

I remember she was extremely angry at the person who administered the driving test. It helped the family immensely that she was able to place blame on a nameless, faceless person rather than have someone in the family receive her ire. We all appreciated the efforts of the doctors office and the State in helping us with the transition.

If your family is in the same type of situation, check with your local Secretary of State's office, doctor's office, or hospital to see if they have a similar system.

Taking a parents car keys away is a very emotionally trying situation. Thankfully, we had an alternate solution presented to us that helped ease the transition.

Have you had a similar experience? How did you or your family handle it?

1 comment:

Romad said...

I knew mom hit a car during the driving test. I didn't know what casued her to have to take the test. Thanks for the update.