One of the greatest successes in the psyche of an older person is the loss of a driver’s license. This is because having a driver’s license and a car gives us a sense of freedom, freedom to come and go as we please. Even if we do not go anywhere, knowing that we can is enough. Imagine if you lost your driver’s license? How would you deal with that? This is how an older person feels, only that it is worse because they know that they may never recover it. This thought can lead to depression, anger and a devastating blow to self-confidence, self-esteem and identity.
When hiring a caregiver, make sure they know that when they drive the client’s car, the loss of the driver’s license is not as important as if they felt stuck, unable to leave or go anywhere. After a while, older people feel comfortable, happy, even animated in their conversations, enjoying being driven or “drivers”, as they like to say.
An acquaintance of mine in Camarillo who collaborated with me to write this article has a tragic history. Years ago, her grandmother retired from the parking lot of the community pool. He stopped right in front of a garbage truck and died instantly. The driver of the dump truck was so distraught that he went to the funeral to apologize. The family forgave him as he cried saying he was sorry he had done it, even though everyone knew it was not his fault.
A friend of his removed the keys to his father because, while driving together, the father stopped in the middle of the highway to point something out on a mountain, forgetting that he was driving on the highway and almost killed them both, and another brother. he was devastated, he lost the use of the car, probably saved his life and lived another 10 years to see his grandchildren finish university.
We know of as many stories as you are, but sometimes the DMV or the court does not withdraw the license until a horrible accident or many moving infractions occur. There are too many stories of older people accidentally hitting the accelerator instead of the brake and running into a building, ditch, pole or pedestrian.
This tends to work well for all concerned. And, always remember to treat this sensitive topic with great care and understanding.