Baby boomers struggle with taking car keys away from aging parents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Many adult children struggle telling their aging parents that it's time to stop driving, because driving represents freedom and independence.  However, a 96-year-old woman, who gave up her car keys, said those children should not hesitate telling their parents to stop driving.

Betty Villaume, of Kansas City, Kan., is a volunteer at Saint Joseph Hospital. Five years ago when she moved to Kansas City from Florida, her children told her it was time for her to stop driving. They promised to make sure she gets where she needs to go. 

Five years later, her children have kept their promise. Betty also gets rides from Jet Express, a volunteer shuttle service for senior citizens provided by Jewish Family Services.

"I miss driving sometimes," Villaume said. "But most of the time I'm glad I'm not driving."

She said concerned children should be kind and direct when they know it's time to take away the car keys from their parents.

"I listened and I agreed with what they said, and so I gave up driving."

Villaume said it helps knowing that even though she doesn't drive, she will still get to the grocery store, beauty shop and continue her volunteer work. She said making sure they have a ride is reassuring them that they will not be stuck at home.

"We still want to have a life and be able to go and do things we love," Villaume said.

Car crashes, dents found in cars and getting lost are some warning signs that it is time to stop or limit driving. 

The AARP has the top 10 warning signs that it's time to stop driving, http://tinyurl.com/8yg5kdj .

Because there are a growing number of seniors who need a ride, Jet Express needs more volunteer drivers.  If you are interested, you can contact Jewish Family Services by calling 913-730-1410 or visit their website, http://www.jfskc.org/ .

Aging adults can also sign up for transportation services.

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