Monday, July 12, 2010

More on Driving with Dementia

In our last post, we outlined warning signs it may be time for a loved one with dementia to stop driving. We also mentioned the huge psychological toll it can take since the loss of driving often is seen as a loss of independence.

Still, for everyone's safety, sometimes we need to take action, starting with a conversation about taking away the keys. The National Institute on Aging has some recommendations we're republishing here from its Caregiver Guide:

• Be sensitive to the person’s feelings about losing the ability to drive, but be firm in your request that he or she no longer do so. Be consistent—don’t allow the person to drive on “good days” but forbid it on “bad days.”
• Ask the doctor to help. The person may view the doctor as an authority and be willing to stop driving. The doctor also can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and request that the person be reevaluated.
• If necessary, take the car keys. If just having keys is important to the person, substitute a different set of keys.
• If all else fails, disable the car or move it to a location where the person cannot see it or gain access to it.
• Ask family or friends to drive the person or find out about services that help people with disabilities get around their community.