Many baby boomers face a dilemma as their parents age: Mom and dad's driving skills are slipping but it's a challenge discussing ways to keep them safe while protecting their independence.
That's the thrust of a new survey released this week by Liberty Mutual Insurance. The insurer polled 1,000 boomers and found that more than half (55 percent) worry about their parents' driving, but only 23 percent have talked with them about it. And 29 percent say they're "likely to avoid the conversation entirely," according to the report.
The survey also showed that 59 percent are more concerned about a parent's diminishing skills than the possibility of a family member driving under the influence (43 percent). Further, only 38 percent believe their parents would be open to discussing potential problems behind the wheel.
"If people take away one lesson from this study, it is to have this conversation with your loved ones - and have it soon," David Melton, Liberty Mutual's managing director of global safety, said in a press statement.
What are the biggest worries for boomers? The report lists them as:
Why is talking about it so hard? Many respondents predicted these reactions from parents:
The report notes that the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to jump from 47 million in 2015 to 72 million by 2030, meaning more senior drivers will be on the roads.
Do you cherish your independence and want to keep it? Well, so do mature motorists, no matter how old they are. Be sure to keep that in mind when talking about ways to help them make their highway lives safer. The Automobile Association of America (AAA) and the American Occupational Therapists Association (AOTA) have other suggestions:
One way to hone driving skills -- and to snag an auto insurance discount anywhere from 2 to 15 percent -- is for mature motorists to take state-approved driver safety classes. Thirty-five states mandate the discounts, according to AARP. You can check with your state's department of insurance website or your agent to find out if your state is among those that require insurers to give a discount to senior drivers who take a safety class.
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