How to Keep a Senior with Dementia from Driving

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Since dementia tends to cause difficulty with coordination, spatial awareness, and logical thinking, it’s unsafe for most seniors with dementia to drive. However, driving is seen as a way of maintaining independence and self-reliance, so many seniors are understandably reluctant to give up their car keys. If your aging parent has dementia but still wants to drive, there are a few things you can do to convince him or her to stay out of the driver’s seat. 

Enlist the Help of Respected Professionals

Dementia can make it difficult for seniors to recognize their own impairment, so simply asking your loved one not to drive anymore might not be effective. Seniors are more likely to listen to advice from a trusted and respected professional instead of their children. You might want to ask your parent’s doctor or ophthalmologist to speak with your parent about his or her impairments or get the family attorney to talk about the potential legal consequences if your parent gets into a wreck. Always make sure these conversations come from a place of care and concern, but help your parent realize that medical and legal experts are recommending that he or she avoid driving.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional at-home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Discuss Driving Alternatives

Many seniors resist the transition to not driving because they worry about how they’ll get around. Offer reassurance and let your parent know you’re not trying to make him or her stay in the house. You can discuss ridesharing apps, offer to drive your parent places, get your parent’s friends to offer carpooling, and research public transit opportunities. Make sure you find valid transportation alternatives for your parent. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services Edmonton, Alberta, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Make an Anonymous Report to Officials

The exact process varies by location, but all areas have a process for reporting unsafe drivers. You can report your parent anonymously if he or she continues driving after he or she is clearly unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. Being pulled over could result in having to pass extra tests to retain a driver’s license. A law enforcement representative telling your parent that he or she isn’t allowed to drive anymore may be enough to make him or her stop. 

Make It Impossible to Drive the Car

If the dementia has progressed enough, it might be impossible to convince your loved one not to drive. When this occurs, you may need to take more proactive steps to keep your parent from accidentally driving away. 

For many seniors with dementia, something out of sight is out of mind. Parking the car at another property and saying it’s in the shop for repairs may prevent driving without causing arguments. You can also try hiding the keys, unplugging the car’s battery, or placing a lock on the steering wheel. Only take these measures if your parent is so impaired you have assumed guardianship. Otherwise, such extreme measures could result in legal complications. 

Driving may not be the only safety concern you have about your parent, so you may find extra peace of mind by hiring a professional caregiver. There are a variety of reasons to consider professional dementia care. Edmonton dementia caregivers are available 24/7 to help seniors maintain better cognitive health, and they can also assist with various tasks like medication reminders, transportation to medical appointments, and nutritious meal preparation. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (780) 490-7337 to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.


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