joy loverde
Joy Loverde

Path Carver.
Keynote Speaker.
Best-selling Author.

Solo Aging ♦ Senior Living ♦ Aging Parents

Got Aging Parents? Should you take away the car keys?

If you like to listen to TED Talks as much as I do then you might have come across the lecture by Bran Ferren and his inspiring presentation titled, “To create for the ages, let’s combine art and engineering.”

When Bran Ferren was nine years old his parents took him to see the Pantheon in Rome — and that experience changed his life. As he dug deeper into studying the building’s architecture, he began to understand that science and engineering become even more powerful when combined with art and design.

Currently, his life’s work evolves around searching for convincing modern-day equivalents to Rome’s masterpiece. As examples, he references leaving this world and setting foot on another (the moon) and then returning safely back to earth. Using the Internet as a tool to create novel concepts (the smart phone) is another example, connecting phone users world-wide to knowledge and each other.

Toward the end of his TED Talk he offers the example of the next big leap for mankind – autonomous vehicles. He believes this mode of transportation will save tens of thousands of lives each year, and millions of lives globally. Air pollution will be cut dramatically. The cars will enable compelling new concepts on how we design cities, work, and the way we live.

People of all ages can’t even begin to think about life without driving. Looking to the near future of autonomous vehicles offers great hope in solving this dilemma – and the cars can’t get here fast enough.

As caregivers we are well aware that when the driving stops, so is the ability to be connected to the outside world. Rightfully so, we remain quick to take away the car keys from unsafe older drivers. But not addressing the long-term effects of getting them off the road will cost us continued sleepless nights. When mobility stops, isolation creeps in.

If your plan is to have the conversation with your elders about retiring from driving, your discussion must include alternatives to driving. Carpool? Grandchildren drivers? On-demand taxi service? You will find a variety of suggestions in the “Transportation and Mobility” chapter in The Complete Eldercare Planner.

A world filled with autonomous vehicles is on its way. In the meantime, when everybody responsibly makes plans to retire from driving, wonderful and unexpected consequences will come of it.