For years we chase the dream of getting to do those things that require us to be “old enough”.. and then in the blink of an eye we find ourselves needing to ask the question later: why does my family say I need to stop now? For one thing, it’s not determined strictly by age! Everyone ages differently, and skillsets diminish because of either mental capacity or physical capacity. Some folks struggle earlier with dementia or other issues, and the same can be said with physical issues such as arthritis or joint and feet issues. All that being said, when the time comes it’s usually best hearing it from your family vs outsiders. However, the first time can be hard to take.. so a good plan is to start touching base every year with your parents or loved ones who need to be coached into making the decision to “give it up”.
Holding onto daily activities like driving or fun hobbies like hunting provides a sense of comfort in knowing you haven’t lost your independence or abilities. Having someone you trust speaking to you with respect also provides that sense of comfort. Providing a thoughtful and respectful way of talking about these issues helps keep everyone safe. Getting ahead of the game and establishing these conversations as normal check-ins will help ease the burden when the time does come.
To prove the point to family, letting a third party evaluate your driving abilities is simple, and a very smart move. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) provides a nationwide database of driving programs and specialists. The results can reveal Door #1, #2, and #3:
- Show you are perfectly fit to drive without restrictions.
- Indicate you would benefit from extra training or need special adaptive vehicle equipment.
- Reveal that you are no longer safe to operate a motor vehicle.
Hunting season is here, and “There’s an urgent need for resources and planning in advance to help reduce firearm injuries and deaths among older adults, while still respecting and promoting their independence, autonomy and rights.” Perfectly put, said by lead researcher Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, director of the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative. Short but sweet, check out this article on the subject: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-11-older-adults-firearm-access.html