My parents (79 and 80, with multiple health and mobility issues) have decided that they want to drive to the beach, about a 10-hour drive under ideal circumstances. Dad says he will do the driving - he hasn't had any accidents yet but has had several near-misses and is very aggressive behind the wheel. Flying won't work because of their health, mobility issues, and size (Mom is very overweight). I have offered to drive them but they have rejected my offer. They have taken a bus tour to the beach once before, but complained constantly about their difficulty getting on and off the bus, not enough bathroom breaks, seats were uncomfortable, etc. Any suggestions?

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It's me again - after some discussion with various family members, and multiple offers of someone else driving them, Mom and Dad seriously considered flying...but have now decided to do some home repairs instead of going to the beach at all. Everything appears to have been a tempest in a teapot...but it was a two week long tempest!! I have taken to heart some of your suggestions, and will try to use some of these techniques to encourage them to live their lives while balancing with safety and health concerns.
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The first step is developing a compromise is to understand what matters to each "side" in the bargaining. One couple in our extended family wanted fourth honeymoon trip after 60 years of marriage (second and third honeymoons were at 40 and 50 years respectively). They were surprised when their children resisted the idea of them traveling alone.

Why do your parents want to make this trip? Why this trip at this time? What reasons are your parents giving for not wanting you to drive them? Do they need to change their schedule to accommodate your availability? Would you be adding yourself to their beach time (staying with them until you drive them home)? Do you parents want a multi-day road trip where they enjoy the drive? Maybe you are more of a hit the road and drive through personality?

Are you concerned with your Dad driving 10 hours, driving over high speed interstate roads, or his general driving skills? Concerned he will have problems navigating beach area traffic? Are you more concerned about them being targeted and mugged at some rest stop?

Is there another couple they could travel with (maybe from church)? Or a younger family member (grandchild/grandnephew/grandniece/cousin) who has more availability that your parents might be more accepting of joining the trip?

Have you proposed a travel plan that facilitates the trip but leaves them as much independence as possible? A phone with a travel service plan and GPS activated? A multi-day travel route planned along lesser used highways (instead of interstates) with hotel arrangements in smaller cities? An older couple in our family travels about 200 miles a day in the morning then stops for lunch, checks into a hotel for an afternoon rest, goes out to do something in the town (park, movie, etc) during the late afternoon and repeats.

I suggest making a list of your parents' wishes and another list of your concerns, then work at determining how you can enable your parents to have as much of the trip experience they want as possible while adding reasonable safety measures to address your concerns.

I would also encourage you to consider that life is for living. While your father's driving abilities raise concerns for other people sharing the roads, other health concerns that only impact the individual are more personal choice. The family of one of my mother's friends didn't want their 89 year old father to garden anymore following a heart attack, concerned another attack would kill him. My view was what a great way to go: living independently in your home doing something you loved. The old man knew the risks, worked in the cooler early morning hours, and enjoyed living his life. One day four years later, after a morning of gardening and lunch he reclined in his favorite chair for a nap, had that second heart attack and was gone before EMTs could arrive. After 80 years of life, my view is preserving the quality of life is more important than always safe guarding the quantity of life. Better to be happy than safe and depressed living in a fish bowl (house).
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Unfortunately, there's no way to convince a person who's hell bent on doing something NOT to do it. You know it's a mistake, but they will have to find that out the hard way, more than likely. The only way my father would give up driving was to have 3 back to back car accidents. Although they were minor, thank God, it scared him enough to finally agree to stop driving. My mother decided she was too afraid to drive and so she refused, leaving them pretty much helpless in Florida while I was living here in Colorado. Long story short, I had to move them out here to a senior apartment building that had mini bus transportation available to take them to run errands. And yes, the bus was too difficult and the complaining was endless. Sigh. Dad passed 4 years ago & mother lives in Assisted Living all this time & refuses to take the mini bus anywhere. Driving doesn't work, neither does the's always something, isn't it?

Good luck. I hope they decide not to take such a long trip, and, if they do, that nothing terrible happens. I sure hate waiting for those phone calls to come in.
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I don't know, but I think it would be a very bad idea for them to drive that far, especially if your Dad is an aggressive driver. Way
too dangerous.
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