Driving is part of everyday life for many people. It is also a symbol of independence. While the concentrated concentration and fast response time required for safe driving tends to decline with age, Alzheimer's Disease dramatically accelerates this process.
If you are caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease, you will need to address the issue of driving and facilitate the transition to various ways of locomotion.
Start the conversation.
At some point, a person with Alzheimer's disease will not be able to drive anymore. Talk to your relative early about this eventuality and plan his or her retirement from driving.
This could be a tough conversation – possibly the first of many. The loss of independence that driving offers can be annoying. Think of the feelings of your lover. Show support and empathy. If you encounter resistance, state that it is a security issue and appeal to the person's sense of responsibility. Talk about the alternatives to driving. You can also ask the person's doctor, a respected authority figure or your lawyer to help you strengthen your point of view.
If possible, have the person with Alzheimer's disease sign a contract in the early stages of dementia. The contract gives you permission to help him if you stop driving when it is necessary.
When to stop driving
The earlier you deal with your relative, the better. Research suggests that people with Alzheimer's disease tend to overestimate their driving skills, although even those with mild dementia are at greater risk for unsafe driving. However, caregivers can more accurately identify insecure driving in Alzheimer's patients.
Watch for signs of unsafe driving, including:
- Difficulty navigating to familiar places
- Bad track control
- Confusion of brake and gas pedals
- Traffic signs disregarded
- Meeting slower or worse Decisions
- Driving on the curb
- Driving at an improper speed
- Getting angry or confused while driving
To be proactive, the person suffering from Alzheimer's has been judged by a rehabilitation expert. The American Occupational Therapy Association has a national database of driving specialists. A specialist can assess the impact of the illness on a person's ability to drive and assess safe driving strategies, as well as the timing and timing at which driving is reduced or stopped.
To facilitate the transition
If your loved one stops driving, arrange an alternative transportation. Have family and friends do errands with your loved one, or arrange transportation via a Senior Bus route. Set up a taxi or car service account so your relatives can visit places without having to deal with the money.
Consider ways to limit the need for your loved ones to drive a car. Many items – such as groceries, meals, and prescriptions – can be delivered to your home.
It also distracts the person with Alzheimer's disease from driving. If possible, have someone sit in the backseat with your loved one to distract him or her.
Stay firm as the disease progresses.
If the person suffering from Alzheimer's disease is driving, consider these preventive strategies:
- Access the control keys. Keep the buttons out of sight. If your loved one insists on having a key phrase, offer keys that will not allow the vehicle to start.
- Disable the vehicle. Remove a battery cable to prevent the vehicle from starting, or ask a mechanic to install a "kill switch" that must be activated before the car starts.
- Sale of the vehicle. If you can manage without your loved one's vehicle, you should sell it.
Whether your beloved person stops driving Once or in stages, he will probably fear the loss of independence. Be patient, but firm. The consequences of unsafe driving can be devastating.
Release Date: 2000-09-25