Do you have an elderly relative who seems to be driving worse as they get older? Have they been in numerous small accidents, resulting in multiple bills for dented fenders and other vehicle repairs? Your relative may have the same driving ability that he or she has always but is now struggling with deteriorating eyesight. While this can be a normal part of aging, it's right for you to be concerned that these small accidents may turn into a larger one in the future. But getting your relative in to see one of your local eye doctors may not be as easy as simply mentioning your concerns to him or her. Here are some tips on how to convince your relative that an eye exam will be in his or her best interests.
Make it a family outing: Your older relative may have grown up in a time and place where needing glasses was seen as a serious personal failing. This no longer holds true today, but it can be difficult to shake these preconceptions. On the other hand, if everyone is getting eye exams, your relative may realize how silly his or her ideas are. If you have small children, your relative may be convinced to get an eye exam to show the kids that there's nothing to be scared of.
Discretely offer to pay: Your relative may realize that his or her sight is less than it used to be, but may be unable to pay for an eye exam or glasses. Unfortunately, Medicaid doesn't cover eye exams in many states unless there is an underlying condition such as glaucoma. If you're retired and on a fixed income, getting new glasses may mean an inability to buy food or pay bills. Many eye doctors routinely offer specials and discounts that you may be able to afford, but that your relative could not. Even if he or she isn't able to get the most stylish glasses in the office, being able to see would still be appreciated.
Take away the car keys: If polite reasoning doesn't work, taking away the car keys should be considered as a last resort. When the car is registered in your name, this should prove to be no problem. If the car belongs to him or her, you may need to resort to jumping through legal hoops to take this course of action. Unfortunately, many family members may be reluctant to take this final step when their relative refuses to visit the eye doctor. They may dislike the idea of taking away independence from another person or for now being a taxi service for the former driver. But if the car keys are not confiscated, your elderly relative could graduate from minor fender benders to being involved in a fatal accident. Hopefully, this concept and the threat of having the keys taken away will be sufficient to move your relative to get and use glasses.
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