Friday, June 25, 2010

Can I Have the Car Keys?

    Remember how excited you were to get your first driver’s license and to be able to go and come as you please? Remember your first car, the one you washed and waxed every day or so? Now remember how Mother, probably Dad too, worried about you and how you drove? Mom would always say, “Please drive carefully and don’t speed. Do you have gas in the car; here take a couple of dollars for gas.”   
   Many years later we were the ones concerned when our teenage sons and daughters became 16. I had 4 sons and one daughter. I can remember those first cars very well; never went to sleep until everyone was safely home.
   Now let’s think about when we are older, maybe a bit feeble, maybe a bit of mental confusion. Just a bit. Should we still be driving and who is worrying of us now? Of course, there is not a one answer fits all, nor does anyone agree on the question much less who should answer it.
   I can only share my personal stories on the subject of older people driving. First, my story. I didn’t learn to drive and get a driver’s license until I was 26 years old. (Now that is a subject of another blog post.) I love driving; in fact I said I love driving more that sex. About 5 years ago I stopped driving. I was having too many problems with feet and hands working, I began losing coordination, and reflexes slowed. Frankly, I didn’t have the strength to drive. Add in that I was frightened of hitting someone I made the decision to stop driving. I HATE IT. Bruce is the most understanding husband, takes me anywhere I want or need to go. But I HATE not having my independence.
   Many years ago my Dad said he would rather be dead than not drive. He was in his 80’s at the time, when he passed away at 83 he still drove a bit. Luckily, my sister and brother-in-law lived close and drove him places. A dear friend finally stopped driving in her mid-eighties when she bumped into another car, one driven by another elderly woman. The police couldn’t decide which old lady was at fault. I know of so many similar stories, geez...
   One of the very best articles I have ever read on the subject was in the Forbes Magazine online entitled “Boomers' Burden: Aging Parents Who Shouldn't Drive” 
Credit: Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, BSN, PHN, attorney, is author of The Boomer's Guide To Aging Parents, available at
   Bruce has been driving since he was teenager, in fact made his living in the transportation field. He is an excellent driver, so very careful. However, he knows there will be a day when one of our kids might say, “Can I have your car keys?
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