Some aging adults want to stop driving as soon as they receive a diagnosis of dementia. That may not be necessary with your elderly family member, but it helps to have a plan in place.
Have “The Talk” with Your Senior
Once you’ve got the diagnosis, it’s time to sit down and have a frank talk with your aging adult. You can start to assess how her dementia is impacting her right now and go over the initial information from her doctor. This is probably going to be an emotional time for your aging adult because the diagnosis is still fresh. That can color her response.
Get a Baseline Idea of Her Driving
If you don’t already have a baseline idea about your senior’s driving, now is the time to get one. This can be as simple as riding along with your aging family member while she drives. You’re going to look for aspects of driving such as whether she’s having trouble maintaining her speed, whether she’s less coordinated than she used to be, or whether she’s aware of what’s going on around her.
Talk to Her Doctor
Once you have a baseline, you might want to have another talk with your senior’s doctor. This time you’ll want to determine how her dementia is likely to impact her driving and what you need to look for in terms of stopping driving. There may be some specific situations her doctor recommends that you watch for in your observations.
Monitor Your Senior’s Driving
It’s about more than that one initial driving assessment. You’ll need to keep monitoring your senior’s driving. She may feel comfortable expressing to you how she feels about her driving and that can be incredibly helpful. If she starts to feel as if she’s having trouble getting where she needs to go, it might be time for other options.
Line up Other Options
These other options aren’t about restricting your senior’s movements. On the contrary, it’s vital to ensure that your elderly family member still has a way to get wherever she wants to go. Elder care providers have an understanding of dementia and dementia behaviors and they can handle the driving for your senior. Your elderly family member can focus on just enjoying being a passenger.
Your senior may not feel comfortable driving after her dementia diagnosis and that’s okay, too. As long as you’re openly communicating with each other, how comfortable she feels while driving and how well she’s able to drive are the important factors. Checking those two issues periodically is going to be an important task for you as her caregiver.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN MOORESVILLE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF CHARLOTTE. (704) 246-5806.