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Driving & Alzheimer’s Disease: A guide For Families & Patients

 

Driving and Alzheimer’s Disease: A guide for families
and patients.

For most people, driving represents freedom, control, and independence. Driving enables most people to get to
the places they want to go, and to see the people they want to see when they want to see them. But driving is a
complex skill. Our ability to drive safely can be compromised by changes in our physical, emotional, mental, and
cognitive conditions.

How can having Alzheimer’s disease affect my driving?

There are some early and clear warning signs that Alzheimer’s is affecting your driving. For example, you might:

  • Need more help than you used to with directions, or with learning a new driving route;
  • Have trouble remembering where you are going, or where you left your car;
  • Get lost on routes that were once familiar;
  • Have trouble making turns, especially left turns;
  • Feel confused when exiting a highway, or by traffic signs such as a four-way stop;
  • Receive citations for moving violations;
  • Find other drivers often honk their horns at you
  • Stop at a green light, or brake inappropriately;
  • Drift out of your lane;
  • Have less control over your muscles so it may be harder to push down on the pedals or turn the steering
    wheel
  • Find dents and scrapes on your car that you can’t explain
  • Find that others are questioning your driving safety; and
  • Have a hard time controlling your anger, sadness, or other emotions that can affect your driving.

What can I do when Alzheimer’s affects my driving?

You can keep your independence even when you have to stop driving. It may take some planning ahead by you
and your family and friends, but that planning will get you to the places you want to go, and to the people you
want to see. It may also reduce the stress of driving. Consider:

  • Rides with family and friends
  • Taxi cabs
  • Shuttle buses or vans
  • Home companion services
  • Senior transport services

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