Off to Bonnie Scotland

very early tomorrow morning.  Visiting aged parent and helping him to buy a new car.  touchy subject this since we are the first people to complain when watching the elderly attempting to drive when it is clearly something they should no longer be doing.

Mein Papa is 87 now and still driving.  Not long distances but all the same... don't the statistics say that most accidents happen close to home?  I am a firm believer in the 're-taking of the driving test once you reach a certain age... say ... 70' school.  And that further re-takes are necessary in order to keep your licence. 

there would be a strong possibility that the aged one would not get to keep his licence... well it's a grey area... perhaps borderline... depending upon the day.  It has to be a good thing to keep other road users safe, all the same, his car is his independance.  He still works and he uses it to get to his job every day.  He plays golf with his buddies on a weekend (weather permitting) and he visits a local cafe on a regular basis for coffee and chatting with the staff.  He goes to the gym once a week or once a fortnight (a very gentle workout followed by a sauna).  Without his car he would be very stuck.

We live near Oxford.  He lives in Elgin in the north of Scotland.  Yes there are other family members up there but the aged one will not ask for favours and indeed will not even tell anyone if he needs anything.  He always presents a perfectly cheery outlook to all and sundry, concealing whatever ailment or malaise from becoming general knowledge.  I am sure it's a common thing.

Anyway... said aged parent's equally aged car is groaning it's last.  It doesn't even have power steering and with the onset of arthritus in shoulder and hand... well it's impossible to drive the thing anymore.  My brother has whispered to me 'look for something small, automatic, power steering and slow'.  Is there such a thing as a slow small car? 

We don't have long in which to do the deed either... and I fear we shall have to leave it half done and trust to the aged one to complete the deal... worrying.  Very worrying actually... so many things to consider.  And what does the aged one think of all this... oh he's having a great time... he's planned meals out everynight we are there, meeting his cronies and even dancing on the Saturday night at his local social club.  I shall take the camera... when he took my brother dancing at the club apparently some woman's skirt came right off!  She was only 74! 


  1. Oh this is such a familiar tale, and I do understand all your concerns - my heart goes out to you! There were entire years when I was terrified to ride in my father's car - he insisted on driving whenever I visited and we went into town for lunch or an appointment. My brothers and I discussed "maybe it's time to hang up the car keys" with Dad many times, but to no avail, and with increasing tension on all many elements of family dynamics at play! At last I realized that, after the death of my mother, the only self-controlled structure to my father's life was the round of errands, all within a few miles of his home, where he continued to live alone. He equated driving his car with independence, and nothing I could say would have any effect except to cause bad feelings. He finally hung up his keys at age 91 after a second accident in which no one, fortunately, was injured. The only suggestion I can offer is that, at least in our family's situation, one word from someone outside the family was more effective than anything my brothers and I had said. In fact, a neighbor who said exactly what I had said many times before (that risking one's one life as a driver is one thing, but what about the lives of other drivers? or, horrible to even imagine, what about a small child who runs, unseen, into the road?) was the one who helped my Dad finally see things differently. Two years later he still complains about it every time we speak, because despite the availability of transportation, the "independence" is gone. Good luck, and hugs! (And I didn't intend to write a novel...

  2. I fully understand and sympathise with your plight here. I aim to take the decision out of anyone else's hands and try to be objective enough to realise when I can no longer be trusted.

    That said though it's not just the old who are incapable of driving it has to be said.

  3. Compulsory re-testing makes good sense. Personally I would favour re-testing everybody at 5 year intervals, regardless of their age.

    I don't see that as a vote winner, though :/


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