Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Encore: What? Take Away My Car.....!!!!

Some readers have asked me to republish some of my more popular older posts. This article, first published in June, 2008, deals with one of the stickiest problems faced by caregivers of loved ones with dementia.

In the September 2003 issue of the AARP Bulletin, John Eberhard, former senior research psychologist at the National Highway Safety Administration, wrote, “Telling seniors they can no longer drive is as hard as telling them they have terminal cancer.”

What caregiver has not faced this issue? How to tell Mom or Dad that it isn’t safe for them to drive and to hand over the car keys? For me, this was one of the hardest things I had to face in the 16 years of being my mother’s caregiver. I write about it in my book. See the chapter entitled: “Should a Caregiver be a Cargiver?”

As a society, we need to become much more creative about meeting the need for independence and transportation mobility among older adults while at the same time protecting the public’s need for protection from sensory deprived drivers. Fortunately, there are several new models of transportation systems that bring exciting possibilities to this sticky issue. To my mind, the one that deserves the most attention is the Independent Transportation Network® and ITNAmerica™.

Here is a quote from ITN’s website:

“ITN provides rides with door-to-door, arm-through-arm service to thousands of seniors nationwide. It's a truly innovative solution with unique programs that allow older people to trade their own cars to pay for rides, and enable volunteer drivers to store transportation credits for their own future transportation needs. ITN's Road Scholarship Program converts volunteer credits into a fund for low-income riders, and the gift certificate program helps adult children support their parents' transportation needs from across the street or across the nation.”

I strongly recommend the review of the ITN website by all community leaders interested in addressing this important issue:


I think you will find it to be innovative and challenging, and worthy of widespread emulation.

Bob Tell
Author "Dementia Diary, A Caregivers Journal"