An editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this week emphasized the need to help seniors adapt when it’s no longer safe for them to be behind the wheel. After the age of 75, it explained, the crash rate per kilometre surpasses that for teenage drivers. And by 2025, it noted, one in four Canadians will be 65 or older.
It's NOT 'Grandma', it is our parents. It is the responsibility of adult children to watch our failing parents. And it is one that many undertake reluctantly. It is difficult to get doctors on board. Both children and physicians do not want to be the one responsible.
Someone has to bite the bullet. I have documented many individual incidents, doing a search over the years. Since adult children are not objective, perhaps it is the responsibility of physicians to bite the bullet. They are the professionals. Adult children are reluctant, when fighting with parents as it is. Many, in the stories I hear, are trying to assist senior parents in finding adequate support in the home. Many are spending hours providing extra care when parents cannot manage ADLs (cooking, cleaning, food preparation) or IADLs (banking, grocery shopping). Then, when a frail parent falls, and/or a spouse cannot help pick them up, it is the adult child who gets the 2:00 a.m. phone call to come and rescue them. This all takes a toll on adult children juggling their children, and jobs.
Surely this is one area where physicians must step up. One death caused by a frail driver is one death too many.
SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010
I think the better question: How frail is too frail to drive? Not a legal term, but one which requires examination. More often than not, we see those with canes, hobbling away from a car, people who cannot navigate their bodies well when standing, have issues with mobility when navigating a 4,000 lb. vehicle. It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to protect us from ourselves.