Well, my mom is finally speaking to me again. But she is still driving whenever she wants and it makes me crazy, mostly because I am really worried and she isn't interested modifying her lifestyle (and she has plenty of good options available). She listens… and then totally ignores what my brother and I have said.
She's still not happy with me. This is an awkward position to be in because I don't want my mom to be unhappy (and I don't want her to be upset with me). But I do want her to be safe… as well as the rest of the world .
Obviously, I know it is about her sense of independence but at what point does that become secondary to her safety and the safety of others?
So here's an interesting twist.
I spoke with one of the support staff at Greenspring Village the wonderful retirement community where mom lives outside of DC. Cindy (who knows my mom well) told me Greenspring has just gotten a cutting edge new program call "Viva" where seniors can get a total overall evaluation to see how "at risk" they are in various situations, including their risk when driving. It was described to me that it works in a similar way to how a pilot uses a flight simulator to determine their responses to various situations when flying. This evaluation functions in the same way for driving. Here's how they describe the driving component of the Viva evaluation (the other components of the evaluation check things like how at risk a senior might be for falling when in an independent living situation).
Vision and Driver’s
Health Inventory Assessments
"We [have} introduced three new assessments to Viva. The first is a vision test that would be
similar an eye exam at the doctor’s. This is a screening to see if someone
should go to the eye doctor. We test visual acuity by asking the resident to
name the letters they see on the computer screen as they get smaller. We test
sensitivity to contrast by asking the resident to name letters as they get
lighter and darker. And we test visual field by having the resident focus on
the center of computer screen as dots appear in the peripheral field of view.
These tests can help see if one might need an eyeglasses prescription updated
and it can help see areas that may be blind spots that the eye doctor should
take a second look at."
""The second assessment is called Useful Field of View- this
assesses processing speed, divided and selective attention as the individual
identify objects on the computer. Poor results on the UFOV can indicate that an
individual is at risk for poor driving."
"The third new assessment is called
Driver’s Health Inventory and it incorporates vision and reaction time as well
as working memory as well as physical capability to help determine an
individual’s risk when driving. It can identify deficits and functional
abilities that have been established as having an effect on driving ability. "
This is only a three hour evaluation and only costs around $50. I told mom about the program and Cindy at Greenspring also talked to my mom about it and she was open to the idea. At this point, I believe, the issue is getting some objective data — data that will help determine what course of action needs to be taken, if any. That way, it isn't about me or my brother "pulling the rug out from under her" and it will give us something to focus on beside a battle of the wills (and since the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, we could easily both dig in our heals and only a crisis would bring resolution).
So far, mom has agreed to participate, mostly to prove me wrong. I sincerely hope she does.