Dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a word used to describe symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common form.
If you have dementia, you will eventually become unable to drive, due to challenges with reaction time and decision-making. However, a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t necessarily mean senior drivers should stop driving right away. If you have been diagnosed with early-stage dementia, it’s very important that you discuss driving with your doctor and your family to determine when you need to stop and how you will get around without getting behind the wheel.
Warning signs that dementia is affecting your driving and that you need to stop:
- Forgetting how to locate familiar places.
- Failing to observe traffic signs and signals.
- Becoming angry or confused while driving.
- Often hitting curbs while driving.
- Confusing the brake and gas pedals.
- Forgetting your destination during a trip.
As an older driver, if you have experienced any of these warning signs, consult your doctor. You might be referred to an occupational therapy driver rehabilitation specialist for an evaluation to help determine your fitness to drive. Get a brochure >>
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration