Thursday, July 8, 2010

When to Take Away the Keys

People with mild dementia often continue to drive for a number of reasons, most importantly for fear of losing a major source of independence. But as the dementia becomes more serious, caregivers must eventually decide when and how to take away the car keys for everyone’s safety.

The Hartford Financial Services Group and MIT AgeLab provides guidelines to help families find that balance between independence and safety. Today we’re exploring warning signs for drivers with dementia. Consider the following driving behaviors as you deliberate, including how often you observe or hear about these incidents.

Does your loved one with dementia:

Have less confidence while driving?
Have difficulty turning to see when backing up?
Ride the brake?
Becoming easily distracted?
Get honked at by other drivers?
Use incorrect signaling?
Find it difficult to park within a defined space?
Hit curbs?
Have scrapes or dents on the car or on the garage?
Become agitated when driving?
Fail to notice traffic signs? Important roadside activity?
Fail to stop at stop signs or traffic lights?
Drive at inappropriate speeds?
Show bad judgment making lefthand turns?
Move into the wrong lane?
Confuse exits?
Receive moving violation tickets?
Get lost in familiar places?
Get into an auto accident?
Confuse the gas and brake pedals?
Stop for no apparent reason?