When Are My Driving Days Over? Author Learns from
Helping Her Mother
Noted book author offers tips she learned from
helping her mother
Dr. Eva Mor, author of “Making the Golden Years Golden”
March 7, 2011 -
Several months ago, I was interviewed for a magazine article on the
subject of seniors and driving and an uncomfortable question came up.
“When should we take away our aging parents' driving license,” I was
I was taken
aback by the question, because I never thought about the subject in
those terms. “Never,” I replied. Taking away the keys to the car is the
only option to consider, and even that is only under extreme cases.
seniors deep into their eighties, or even nineties, that are fully
functional behind the wheel. There isn't a mandatory age after which
they are prevented from driving - as long as their vision, hearing and
reflexes are good.
It must be
extremely difficult for a fully alert and able person to give up
something they have done most of their life that gave them independence
and pleasure. Yet most of us only consider the safety issue when
confronted with the dilemma of weighing when to end our fathers' and
mothers' access to a car. We do not pay much attention to the
psychological and emotional issues arising from the decision to stopping
wrestled with this very issue with my own mother. An eighty-eight year
old woman, my mother has reached the point where I believe she should
give up her car. The lease on the car has expired, forcing my brothers
and myself to make a decision: should we lease her new car or
essentially cut her off.
My mother was
very forceful about voicing her opinion. She wanted, no needed a new
car. I sat down with her a week before her lease expired to review the
The fact is that
my mother has been using the car less and less. My brothers or I drive
her around to most of her doctor appointments. Even when she goes for a
drive in her own car, most of the time, my younger brother is behind the
wheel. But it made her feel good just to have the car parked in front of
her house. Of course she did not see it that way.
There is no
question that as we age we are forced to give up parts of our old life,
whether through physical changes - such as giving up tennis, running, or
reading if our vision is impaired - or financial changes - moving to
smaller place, reducing travel, or giving up a car. It is not easy.
A sense of
helplessness or hopelessness may follow. It is important that we all are
aware of these feelings that our aging parents are experiencing, and
provide a supportive environment for them, reassuring them about the
changes in their life.
About Her Book...
"Watching my parents’ age has been quite
disheartening, their illnesses slowly eating away at their ability to do
simple things that are taken for granted by all of us.
I have worked
most of my adult life with the elderly and the disabled, and was quite
unprepared to deal with the emotional connotations of my parents’
situation. This brought me to the subject of how to improve my parents’
daily life, prolong it, and enrich it…
"In the last few years I headed an agency providing
home care. This allowed me to see the quality of daily life in different
situations: that of an elderly person residing in a nursing home or in
another institutional setting, and that of one residing in his or her
In this book I examine society’s relationship to and with
the elderly, as well as the organized cultural relationship with the
aging population today. Evaluating the impact of today’s family
structure on the aged and their lifestyle, and how different this is
from the familiar structure in the past, makes it clear how difficult it
is to get older in these times…
"This book was written with the premise to help you
navigate through the landscape of health systems and guide you through
the maze of options that are available to you. The idea is to make it
easier for you to evaluate the best choices for your situation. I hope
this book will guide you, and help you on this journey.
convenience, the material has been arranged in chapters that concentrate
on specific topics relating to aging, needs, and services. Throughout
the book you will find cases of real clients of mine and their
When you are
faced with this issue with your own parents, please consider the
1.Give some time for them to
adjust to the change in lifestyle and the loss of their driving
2.Talk to them about the
situation, so the decision is mutual and not imposed on them.
3.If your parent will not be
willing to consider the subject, introduce to a neutral person, whether
a friend, clergy member, doctor, etc.
In my mother's
case, I have asked her to try to go without a car for three months, and
see if she can live without one. If she absolutely cannot, we will see
our way to provide her with one. She agreed.
We provided her
with adjustment time, allowing her time to get used to the fact that
there is no car parked in front of her house. And if we are there to
drive her, as we were doing in the last year anyway. In a sense we can
steer her way of thinking to realize she doesn't need the car anymore
after all. She may not miss the car physically, though she may miss it
Eva Mor was born
in Poland to Holocaust survivors. Both her parents lost most of their
immediate family to the Nazis. She was born after the war, and her early
childhood was in Poland, after which she immigrated to Israel with her
family. Dr. Mor adjusted quickly to her life in Israel and loved it
The only thing
she missed terribly was not having grandparents. Both sets of her
grandparents were killed by the Nazis. This fact has colored her
professional life. After the obligatory military service, in which she
served in the Air Force, she came to the United States where she
completed all her higher education.
She has since
returned to Israel for two years to do epidemiological research for the
World Health Organization of the United Nations. She is an
epidemiologist and a health care specialist. She also holds a Masters
degree in Gerontology and Health Administration.
For the last 23
years Dr. Mor has dedicated her career to bettering the lives of the
elderly. She has done so through work in nursing homes, chronic disease
institutions, and acute care hospitals, as well as in home care
services. She has been part of planning committees for the improvement
of health services for seniors, and has done research to find out what
services are available for this specific population, and what should be
developed in the future.
With that in
mind, Dr. Mor says she set out to write the book “Making the Golden
Years Golden”. The book brings to you, with much love and care, the
information you need for yourself and those dear to you, in order to
make the golden years truly golden, according to the publisher.
More Links to Archived Reports on
Senior Citizens and Driving