A recent study was done to help determine when people suffering from various types of dementia should no longer be legally allowed to drive. The issue with people with advanced types of dementia driving is that dementia affects the brain and memory and in its advanced stages can affect a person’s memory, attention, language, and ability to problem solve. This can be dangerous for a driver because paying constant attention to the road and being oriented to what is going on is crucial to be safe on the road and help avoid car accidents.
According to The American Academy of Neurology, new guidelines have been issued to determine at what level of advancement people with various forms of dementia are no longer safe when driving. A type of rating scale has been implemented that allows doctors to use a combination of information received from both a person with dementia’s caregiver and from an observation of the person themselves to determine what level of dementia they are suffering from. The reason that this testing scale is appropriate is that doctors have found that not all patients suffering from dementia are incapable of safely driving and that as many as 76 percent of patients with mild dementia are safe to drive.
It is important for caregivers to be alert and aware of dementia patients driving and if anything seems out of the ordinary such as car crashes, moving violations, avoiding certain driving conditions, or generally becoming more aggressive or impulsive, as these may be warning signs of dementia advancing or getting to a point that may make driving unsafe. If you notice these type of changes, please contact a doctor to the get the dementia patient tested for driving. To read more about the new guidelines for safe driving and dementia patients, please click on this hyperlink.