SLM Independence Driving scaled
SLM Independence Driving scaled

How many years have your parents been driving?

Maybe 40 years? Fifty? Sixty?

However long, just like for all of us, it’s a major symbol of independence for the elderly. It’s the license, the key, the car: clear and tangible vestiges of personal power.

But let’s face it, driving also requires a host of skills—eyesight and depth of vision, hearing, eye-hand-foot coordination, reflexes; often, fast decision making, and more.

While a long and clean driving record is admirable, it’s not a guarantee that the longer you live the better you drive. In fact, it’s statistically likely that the longer you drive, the higher the probability of an accident. Especially as you age and not all personal systems are as finely tuned as they used to be.

How many elderly people do you know who still drive, but shouldn’t be? Yet they do, because they demand the right to drive and family often doesn’t have the heart to take them off the road.

There are lots of ways to get elderly people out from behind the wheel if we truly suspect they’re no longer competent drivers. One is to get they’re doctor to write a report noting driving isn’t safe any more, and licenses are instantly revoked. Another is to go with elderly parents to observe their renewal driving and written tests.

Still another— and perhaps the best— is to help an aging parent self-discover (with some very smart and unnoticed guidance) that owning a car is actually a rather expensive option. With limited income, there are other options that can net thousands of saved dollars annually.

It’s a tricky maneuver, but one that can save money, worry, accidents, and even lives.

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Bart Mindszenthy APR, FCPRS, LM
In writing the original edition of Parenting Your Parents in 2002 and the subsequent revised second edition in 2005 and US edition in 2006, Bart Mindszenthy, APR, FCPRS, LM drew upon personal experience with his elderly father and mother, listening to hundreds of people deep into eldercare, plus his professional expertise in managing crises. Boomers can best help themselves and their parents by planning, understanding the challenges and being prepared, he says. The new, North American edition, Parenting Your Parents: Straight Talk about Aging in the Family is his ninth book. "Everyone who has aging parents should consider what issues and challenges lay ahead," says Bart. "Waiting until something happens isn't fair to anyone in the family. But the trouble is, in most families aging parents are in denial and their boomer kids are in avoidance," he says. Since the publication of Parenting Your Parents, Bart has addressed hundreds of groups and has appeared on dozens of radio and television interview and talk shows and national television specials. He is also a regular contributing writer to Hospital News ( Bart also authored two books about family elder caregiving on his own in 2011: The Family Eldercare Workbook & Planner, a comprehensive self-directed complete guide to capture needed information and develop strategies for likely issues and difficult situations, and Aging Parents: 200+ Practical Support Tips from My Care Journey, a compilation of 40 columns that appeared in SOLUTIONS magazine tracking a range of specific caregiving issues and challenges with tips and tactics on how to deal with them; see Bart holds a Bachelor of Philosophy degree with a concurrent major in journalism from Wayne State Univesity. He is Partner in The Mindszenthy & Roberts Corp., a Toronto-based firm with a subsidiary based in Michigan that since 1990 has specialized in issues and crisis communications management and strategic communications planning. Bart has received numerous awards for his work and is principle author of No Surprises: The Crisis Communications Management System (Bedford Press, 1988), which is considered a seminal work on the subject. He is also co-author of Leadership@Work: Be a Better Team Leader Anytime, Anywhere, with Anyone, originally published in 2001and which was the fifth best selling business book of the year in Canada. Since, it's been totally re-written, re-deisgned and re-issued in 2011. It's now also available as an iPad, iPhone and iPod app. For more, see