Dementia and Driving: Tips for Driving Safe when Your Loved One has Dementia

If you’re loved one is suffering from dementia, it is important to know what he or she is capable of when it comes to driving, then a driving evaluation should be done to determine their capabilities. There are several local organizations that can perform this evaluation including, the Memory and Wellness Center at FAU. It is best to try to have this evaluation done during the earliest stages of memory loss. If you are unsure of when it is time to have a driving evaluation done, then see some of the tips below.

Signs to Watch Out for When Considering A Driving Evaluation for Your Loved One:

• A loss in problem-solving skills
• Dependent on personal care
• Difficult time processing information
• Frequently gets lost or easily disoriented
• Not alert or aware of things going on around them
• Increased experiences in memory loss
• Frequently loses coordination
• Is easily disoriented or gets lost frequently

Be Aware of the Warning Signs If Your Loved One Currently Drives:

• Getting into minor or frequent accidents
• Has difficulty maneuvering the car into turns or onto highways
• Becomes drowsy while driving
• Getting tickets frequently
• Does not use signals or uses them incorrectly
• Makes dangerous decisions such as driving on the wrong side of the road or drifting between road lanes
• Drives too slowly

It may be time to make some changes when your loved one shows signs that they are losing their ability to drive and may be endangering themself and others. Convincing them to use other forms of transportation, such as having family members drive them or public transportation, would be a safer option. If your loved one resists your ideas, then you may have to do more to keep them safe, such as hiding their car keys or even getting rid of their car. While these options sound drastic, doing them may preserve the health of your loved one and other drivers.