Nebraska-based Home Instead Senior Care has developed a program that has become the gold standard for prompting positive conversations between Baby Boomers and their parents.
The program, called the 40-70 Rule, encourages adult children to talk to parents before an accident or emergency. The concept is simple - if the adult child is 40 or the aging parent is 70, it's time to start talking about driving and other sensitive aging issues.
Research shows that many Boomers avoid talking to their parents about issues such as driving because they don't want to impede on their parents' independence.
Most adult children don't discuss sensitive topics with their aging parents, like driving, until an emergency happens. For example, many times an incident (like a car crash) is the trigger for the conversation. With the 40-70 Rule, the program is removing the crisis trigger and instead saying if you are 40 or your parents are 70 it's time to begin the conversation about driving and other issues that come with aging.
LB 351 was introduced after at least one lawmaker heard from constituents who had a difficult time talking to their aging loved ones about driving. That's not surprising, because our research shows that for 30 percent of adult children -- that's the most difficult topic to address with their aging parents.
Nearly one-third of adults have communication breakdowns with their senior parents because they feel their parents still view them as a child -- it's clearly the obstacle that prevents many necessary conversations.
When talking to senior loved ones about driving, offer solutions that allow the maximum amount of independence. Seek out public transportation options and enlist the help of family members, friends, neighbors or professional caregivers to make sure they can still get out and about.