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Adult kids worry about their senior parents' driving but stay mum
By Insure.com staff

Baby boomers are worried about their parents' driving skills, but most of them are afraid to talk to them about it, according to a new survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance.

The poll found that 55 percent of baby boomer children are concerned about their parents driving abilities, but only 23 percent are actually talking to them about it, and 29 percent say they probably will avoid the conversation entirely.

The dilemma is going to affect more people in coming years. The U.S. population aged 65 and older is expected to increase from 47 million in 2015 to 72 million 2030.

Of the 1,000 boomer children surveyed, 59 percent say they're more concerned about their aging parents' driving than they are about family members driving under the influence.

Top concerns about senior parents' driving are:

  • Poor eyesight: 47 percent
  • Drives too slow: 38 percent
  • Poor hearing: 30 percent
  • Drives distracted: 25 percent

Thirty-eight percent of boomer children think that their parents will be open to a discussion about giving up driving.

  • 46 percent think their parents will be angry or hurt
  • 31 percent think their parents will say it is too hard to find other modes of transportation
  • 22 percent think their parents will be more determined to keep driving

"Earlier and more frequent conversations about senior driving are essential," David Melton, driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety, said in a press statement. "If people take away one lesson from this study, it is to have this conversation with your loved ones -- and have it soon."

Liberty Mutual suggests adult children ride with their senior parents to observe their driving, discuss the topic early and have realistic expectations. The issue is not likely to be resolved in the first conversation. The insurer also recommends researching alternate transportation solutions and be prepared to discuss options.

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