Dementia and driving...balancing the individual's need for independence and safety for those on the road...This is one of the most troublesome conversations families have to deal with when a person is suspected of showing signs of a dementia as in Alzheimer's Disease.
During the June 10th caregiver support group meeting at Statesboro First Methodist Church, the facilitator will share information from the Alzheimer's Association and from the Hartford Insurance Company to help families deal with the driving dilemma and ideas to discourage or limit driving will be shared.
The Alzheimer's Association and Hartford Insurance handouts remind readers that "a diagnosis of dementia should not be the sole justification for suspending driving privileges." The individual and his family should look for signs of unsafe driving such as: forgetting how to locate a familiar place, failing to observe traffic signs, making slow or poor decisions in traffic or becoming angry or confused while driving.
The person with Alzheimer's disease is experiencing progressively more severe neurological changes in his brain that affect reasoning, motor skills, visual perception, as well as memory. As the disease progresses, the person may not be aware that he is making driving errors but the family may begin to notice dents and scrapes on the car, more phone calls from concerned neighbors, and instances where the person cannot start the car or find their way home.
There are significant legal and financial liabilities if a person entrusts a vehicle to another person who they know is not capable of driving safely.
While a diagnosis of dementia does not have to mean a no driving rule, it should mean a careful consideration of the circumstances when a person may drive. Ask yourself: "Would you ride with this person?" "Would you let your young grandchildren ride in the car this person is driving?" These and other questions of concern to family caregivers will be discussed and materials will be shared during the support group meetings which are open to anyone in the area with no reservation necessary.
Call 1-800-272-3900 for additional info about Alzheimer's and other dementias or to learn about the services of the Alzheimer's Association, regional office at 201 Television Circle, Savannah, Ga 31406
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