Category: Driving with dementia

Take Keys

When to Take the Keys Away to a Senior’s Car

Most of us think we know when an aging loved one should stop driving, but most elderly people think they still can drive safely, and they strongly resist giving up the keys to the car.   Would you know when it’s time when to take the keys away from yourself? The chances are good that the answer is “No!” We are all loathe to give up the independence that driving gives us, and it’s hard for us to recognize that our driving skills, or other physical and mental skills, are not as good as they used to be.   State laws: As a group, seniors age 80 and older have the highest rate of fatal crashes per mile driven — even higher than for teens — according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Only 19 states make seniors renew their licenses more often than younger drivers. North Dakota drivers who are 70 years of age or older at the time their current driver license expires are generally required to renew their license in person at a local DMV office. There are no other restrictions on senior drivers. All licensees must take a vision test before renewing a license and may, in certain situations be asked to take a written test, as well.   Because most states aren’t much help, it’s up to families to act when a loved one is no longer a safe driver. As you observe your elderly parent driving, watch for these 10 common warning signs of unsafe driving: Slower reaction times Drifting from the middle of the lane Being late to enter turn lanes, turning from the wrong lane and/or not signaling Backing up or changing lanes without looking back or checking mirrors Taking too much time to accelerate when merging onto the freeway Driving below or above

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Driving with Dementia: When Is It Time to Stop?

My husband is still driving, even though it’s been 17 months since I last blogged about “When Is It Time to Give Up the Car Keys,” and I reported how on a road test he had just squeaked past the minimum score required to keep his license. In that time he hasn’t had an accident or been pulled over for any kind of moving violation. Whenever we’re going someplace together, I drive. He doesn’t drive at night and he rarely drives anywhere that he hasn’t been before. The few times I have been with him, the only problem I’ve noticed is that he doesn’t always notice speed limit signs and tends to drive under, rather than over the limit. (This IS a warning sign.) He seems to have learned from the things the person testing him warned him about. Alzheimer’s Association PositionsThat my husband is doing so well—so far—seems to support the Alzheimer’s Association positions that: A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is never by itself a sufficient reason for loss of driving privileges. They do not support mandatory reporting as a solution to the driving and dementia issue because it can have unintended consequences, including an unwillingness for individuals to seek early diagnosis; risk to the relationship between the physician and patient; and even an unwillingness of physicians to appropriately diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease. California and some other states do require reporting a probable diagnosis to the DMV. They recommend that the person with dementia, along with his or her family and friends, are educated about the need to plan and address the issue of driving with dementia. Normal Aging vs. DementiaNormal aging does cause physical problems that may affect driving, such as diminished visual and auditory acuity, slower reflexes and lack of flexibility. However, we all age at different rates,

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