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The Dangers of Driving with Alzheimer’s


Memory problems caused by Alzheimer’s make driving unsafe. See how. Watch this thought-provoking video to open up the discussion with family members, friends and patients.

See below the video for the 15 signs it may be time to stop driving.

15 Warning Signs for Driving with Dementia

  1. Driving too slowly or too fast
  2. Receiving traffic tickets
  3. Being honked at or yelled at by other drivers
  4. Becoming upset or angry while driving
  5. Dents, dings or scraped paint on the car, mailbox or garage
  6. Misunderstanding or not noticing signs on the road
  7. Getting lost in familiar places
  8. Stopping at a green light
  9. Changing lanes without looking
  10. Drifting into another lane
  11. Having difficulty making left turns
  12. Misjudging distances
  13. Mistaking the gas pedal for the brake
  14. Causing any crash or near crash
  15. You can also follow the “grandchild test”: If you would not feel safe having this person drive his or her grandchild, it’s time to have a talk about handing over the keys.

Should you or your loved one be driving? Let common sense be your guide.

Johns Hopkins Health Alert, Posted in Memory, September 15, 2014
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August 6, 2014 9:44 pm

Please note that the video does not place the "blame" on memory problems alone. Other dementia symptoms, such as visual agnosia, can make it hard for the patient to recognize where he is, to judge the relative speeds of the vehicles around him and his own, and to tell where his car is with regard to the lanes. The dementia brain does not process events and thoughts as quickly as a healthy brain. The stress of unexpected events (a car slamming on its brakes or changing lanes without warning, the sudden loud honk of a truck horn, etc) can cause a sudden worsening of symptoms, leading to confusion and failure to react appropriately. The dementia patient may be easily distracted by sights and sounds around him and focus on them instead of where he's going. Don't trust your judgment about whether your loved one can safely drive, and for heaven's sake, don't trust the doctor's — the doctor only sees your loved one for a few minutes once every few months. Special driving tests to evaluate dementia patients are available in many locations. Have your loved one tested. And arrange for alternate transportation before you think it's really necessary — don't wait too long. Someone could die, and it could be your loved one, you, or someone's child.

Nanna Toone
Nanna Toone
January 13, 2017 10:21 pm

Thank you Lizzie! Your advice is wise and well spoken. You must be a therapist or work in the rehabilitation field in some aspect. I am an occupational therapist and have a husband with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a form of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. He only qualifies for 2 of these suggested symptoms right now, but I am observant of other changes as they occur.

AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association, along with the Hartford Insurance Company have developed a program called: "We Need to Talk" regarding family conversations with older drivers and their family caregivers. This is involves a qualified Occupational Therapist to meet with families (upon request) to discuss driving issues of their senior loved one. It helps families to initiate productive conversations with older adults about driving safety. The suggestions during the conversation are based on a nationally representative survey of drivers over the age of 50 and focus on groups with older adults who have modified their driving. The discussion involves & interviews the family caregivers of the person with dementia. Assistance and resource guides are available at: and

January 16, 2017 1:15 pm

As a recent (3 years) sufferer now, can someone please point me to assistance on the following frustrating …
Firstly . Card with my details and family contact details. Secondly, my wife is my official carer but we often get separated in busy shops or streets.

A system for us to be seen each to the other on a tracker system would be great…

Peter Gifford

Reply to  (Radlett)
March 23, 2017 12:25 am

What you need are a pair of these new tech walky talkies they have out these days, FRS Phones, look into it. They have a 20 mile range, but in big city not so far, but if you and the wife are only a block or two apart, they would work.

March 23, 2017 12:21 am

I have sent emails to all the GPS makers, asking them to make a device, that can be hooked to a computer and 1 address can be entered, that then can be sewn into a garment or slipped in Pocket, when the button on it is pushed, a voice tells the person how to get home(The Address you entered on it) and then sell this device through Alzheimer society locations throughout the world. They replied in the shoe, it can be done, but I replied, I only where one type of shoe, and that type does not have the option for this to installed. It would have to be device that the user has on them when they leave the house.

B. Berger

B. Berger

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