When Should Seniors with Dementia Give Up Their Car Keys?

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Family members caring for a senior with dementia must eventually make the decision to prevent their loved one from driving. Taking away a parent or other elderly relative’s car keys is a common struggle. According to the Alzheimer’s Association and Rockwall elderly care providers, there are a few red flags that determine when a person with dementia should stop driving. 

Difficulty Multi-Tasking

Driving requires that an individual has the ability to keep a vehicle in the appropriate lane while maintaining the correct speed and monitoring the road for possible hazards. For someone with cognitive problems like dementia, the multi-tasking skills required to drive may become too overwhelming. 

Decreased Alertness

The action required for driving may also diminish if the elderly adult loses the ability to remain mentally alert. They may begin to frequently ignore the speed limit, stop signs or traffic lights, which poses a risk for them and other vehicles on the road. 

Problems Processing Information

Drivers must be able to respond quickly when the situation warrants immediate action. Someone with dementia may not be able to recognize a potentially hazardous situation and act accordingly. An elderly person suffering from dementia might also see a dangerous situation while driving but be unable to mentally determine the right course of action in time to avoid a collision. 

Loss of Propriety

Seniors with advanced dementia have no sense of right and wrong. Thus, the rules of the road have no affect on them. Under these circumstances, seniors with dementia may drive recklessly, become involved in near misses, minor fender benders or a more serious motor vehicle accident. 

Easily Confused

Seniors who lose the ability to recognize familiar places or who cannot remember how to travel from one location to another are at risk for becoming lost when driving alone. It’s not uncommon for seniors with dementia to experience blackouts before realizing that they don’t know where they are.

Memory Loss

Should an accident occur, dementia could keep seniors from remembering basic information. In the event of getting lost or becoming involved in an accident, seniors may not recall the names or phone numbers of loved ones or Rockwall dementia caregivers to come to their rescue. 

If your loved one displays any of the above signs, it’s time to take away the keys and hire a trusted home care provider like Home Care Assistance of Rockwall. We provide comprehensive dementia and Alzheimer’s care in Rockwall, TX, that stimulates senior cognition, promotes a healthy diet, and encourages physical and mental exercise. Let us help your loved one today. Call (972) 722-7833 to customize a care plan with a trusted Care Manager.