It is important to always drive safely and obey the laws of the road. Those with dementia, unfortunately, should not drive. When someone starts to develop dementia, the idea of not being able to drive might be overwhelming. However, it is usually in their best interest to stay off of the roads. To help through the transition, start the process early and help them understand it is for the safety of them and others.
Losing the Freedom of Driving
Driving requires a quick reaction time and fast decision making, which will become very difficult with those suffering from dementia. It can be upsetting to lose your independence, especially driving. When dealing with someone with dementia, make sure to be patient and gentle when having those tough conversations. Every situation is unique, but it is still helpful to start planning early to make the transition easier. Keep in mind that your support is going to be needed. Try to involve close friends and family to develop a system, especially when it comes to alternative transportation options. Of course, these conversations are going to be difficult, but you need to be firm, honest and open. You can still do this by showing sympathy and acknowledge how difficult it is. Just remember to never take anything they say or do personally or feel like you are to blame.
Alternatives to Driving
There are many alternatives to driving and make sure you give positive options. Things like, it is fun to be social and take the bus or it is a good time to ride with friends, plus you can just relax and not worry about doing any of the work. Always reaffirm the safety reasons behind it, while also showing plenty of support and love. It might even be a good idea to have a doctor write a letter to help enforce the no driving rule.
Signs to Look For
If your loved one is just seeing the onset of dementia and are still driving, look for these signs to know if it is time to stop.
- Forgetting familiar places
- Failing to observe traffic signs
- Slow or poor decision making
- Hitting curbs
- Poor lane control
- Multiple errors
- Confuse the break and gas pedals
By reading this blog, I acknowledge that I am not creating or entering a clinical or medical relationship with Dr. DenBoer and SMART Brain Aging. I understand that all materiel included in this blog is strictly for informational purposes only. The content is to provide me with information and knowledge and I will not substitute it for diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. I am aware the author does not hold a medical degree or license and is simply providing me additional information on a variety of health topics.