Driving demands quick reaction time and fast problem-solving. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, every person with Alzheimer's will eventually become unable to drive. The Alzheimer's Association recommends that families discuss driving before a crisis, ideally while the person with Alzheimer's is still able to participate in the conversation and decision-making process.
"Driving is often associated with autonomy, so relinquishing car keys can be a very emotional and stressful process," said Beth Kallmyer, MSW, director of constituent services at the Alzheimer's Association. "Educating yourself on approaches and options prior to having this difficult conversation can help ease the transition for everyone involved."
To assist with these conversations, the Alzheimer's Association created four short videos depicting difficult scenarios for approaching driving and dementia. Watching the videos may give families an idea of how to start the conversation or how to respond to a particular objection. In one video, a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's drafts a contract saying she will reach a point when she can no longer drive and gives her children permission to step in. If the person with the disease is more resistant, another technique shown in the new videos is to secure a doctor's "prescription" advising the person the Alzheimer's to no longer drive.
Following each of the videos is a list of tips and techniques families can use when having the conversation about driving. The videos are housed within the Alzheimer's Association online Dementia and Driving Resource Center, which contains helpful information about recognizing when driving is unsafe, finding alternate transportation and getting a driving evaluation.