Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys, and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.
I have one simple question. How do I help my wife feel like it is not her fault that her father had to stop driving? She asked him to stop after he got in his third fender bender in one month. He has macular degeneration pretty bad in one eye and we think that may be the problem. He stopped driving, but whenever the subject c omes up, he tells her it is her fault he’s not driving. He won’t listen to reason. Any ideas?
Your father does not want to accept that he has a physical problem severe enough to have him stop driving. He likely does not want to think about his mortality and the changes that come with aging. In truth, all of these thoughts cause him anxiety and his defense is to get angry or deflect the problem so he doesn’t have to think about getting older. Let’s face it; giving up driving is a big deal. We are a mobile society. We like to get out and go when we feel like it and it is very difficult to be confined to home waiting for an offer of a ride or a paid transport to pick us up.
Your wife is protecting her father from injuring himself or someone else. If she took no action and someone was hurt, she would beat herself up for not taking action. Your wife must decide whether her father will listen to reason in a heart to heart discussion or at a visit with his doctor.
I do recommend the following:
- Help Dad with transportation arrangements.
- Plan to take turns providing rides that he can count on; a set time and day to get groceries or go to the barber.
- If he continues to make comments, be prepared. Your wife might say the same thing each time, such as:
“Thank you Dad for listening to me. Neither one of us would have forgiven ourselves if someone had gotten hurt. I know you’re a good driver, the problem is your eyesight.” A comment like this reinforces why he stopped driving and helps him accept the reason. If this is all that is said, and it is said as good natured as possible, no one is being drawn into an argument. He may stop making jabs.
Good Luck. You and your wife have made the right decision.
SPRING IS COMING – START PLANNING TO GET OUT!
We are all feeling the effects of a long harsh winter. It’s time to start thinking about getting out and easing into more physical activity. The following are just some of what’s happening in our area. Why not make a new memory together?
March 7: 23rd Annual Spring Symposium at the Memorial Art Gallery 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
MAY: Register for a tour of Mount Hope Cemetery in the spring (starting in May.) The landscape is beautiful in full spring blossom. Learn about our rich history of amazing residents – so much mythology- so many stories.
MAY: Genesee Country Village and Museum is one of the largest living history museums in the country.
JUNE: Visit the Maplewood Rose Festival
ANYTIME: Highland Park Lamberton Conservatory. Open 7 days a week. It displays exotic flowers and foliage plants from around the world in lush tropical settings.
ANYTIME: Visit your Senior Community Center. Call your town hall. Some towns offer transportation.
ANYTIME: The Butterfly Museum at the Strong Museum of Play
ANYTIME: Wild Wings at Mendon Ponds Park: Every day except Wednesday & Thursday From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some special events too.
ANYTIME: Watch for classes at Home Depot, the local library, clubs and groups. Get out and live a little.
Brain Workout Trivia