When an older adult is diagnosed with dementia, family caregivers may jump to make changes before it’s time. This is often the case with driving. It can be your first instinct to take their keys away because you fear they’ll make a dangerous mistake or become lost. However, many people with dementia are able to continue driving safely through the early stages of the disease.
How to Decide
The first step to knowing when it’s time for a person with dementia to stop driving is to have their driving skills evaluated. This step should take place as soon as possible after the diagnosis is received. This will give you a baseline to work from and could help with the conversation when it’s time to take the keys away.
Some State Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) offer evaluations or may be able to direct you to an agency that does. In fact, some states require that a person with dementia visit the DMV for a test. Contact the DMV where the senior lives to learn more about laws in their area.
If the initial evaluation shows the person can still drive, they’ll need ongoing evaluation and monitoring. Some things that may indicate it’s time to stop driving are:
Talking to the Dementia Patient About Driving
When it is time for your aging relative to stop driving, the conversation may not be easy. Be patient with the older adult. Imagine yourself in their position and think about how hard it would be to give up your own driving privileges. The Alzheimer’s Association offers the following tips for starting the conversation:
Giving up driving doesn’t have to mean that the dementia patient loses their independence. One way to allow them to continue to get out of the house and do the things they enjoy is by hiring a home care provider through an agency. Home care providers can be scheduled to come as often as needed through the week. They can drive the senior to the places they need or want to go, such as the grocery store, restaurants, religious services, or to the houses of friends and family. Home care providers can also drive the older adult to medical appointments and take notes for them so that the information can be passed on to family caregivers.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Highland Park IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.