What Do You Mean I Can’t Drive?

Good morning and happy National Caregivers Month! During each week in November, I am going to highlighting a different caregiving issue. This week, we’re tackling driving.

A topic that comes up regularly with caregivers is the difficult time they have convincing the loved one with a diagnosis of dementia that he or she should stop driving. It seems that not all medical personnel report a dementia diagnosis to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and so the family is faced with being the deliverer of this unwelcomed news.

Occasionally, a person with the diagnosis will offer to stop driving – maybe because of a near accident or because they got lost returning from a location they have navigated for years and that concerns them. However, more often than not, the caregiver is the one who has to discuss the issue of giving up one’s driver’s license.

Take heart, any of you who are dreading facing this milestone on the dementia journey! Our National Alzheimer’s Association office has launched a new section of www.alz.org to help you have this discussion. It is called The Dementia and Driving Resource Center and is located at:

http://www.alz.org/safetycenter/we_can_help_safety_driving.asp

This much-needed resource contains a video of a discussion between a husband and wife with suggestions as to how one approaches this difficult subject.

There are materials about planning ahead, before the situation reaches a crisis point, as well as signs to look for that indicate an unsafe driver.

I hope you will take the time to go to these websites and check out the materials there. If you attend a support group, share this information with others who, if they have not yet had to face this uncomfortable conversation, will probably have to in their future.

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