The following tips may be helpful to you when it’s time to talk to a family member about driving and dementia:
Explain the situation directly and share your feelings of concern and worry. Sometimes this will work.
Recognize that your loved one may genuinely worry about losing his or her independence and being cut off from familiar friends and activities. Offer alternatives like a senior transportation service, a taxi, or rides from another family member.
When choosing in-home help, look for someone with a valid driver’s license. “A well-trained and supportive caregiver becomes the life-line for a person with dementia and can take them on drives to the market, medical appointment, or social events,” says Paul Hogan, co-founder of Home Instead Senior Care®, an international in-home care company that has helped thousands of Alzheimer’s families.
Don’t become the bad guy. Encourage the person to quit driving because it is the doctor’s order or the wishes of the family as a whole. You can also hire an expert to give an independent driving evaluation and agree to follow his or her advice. Many state motor vehicle departments provide this service or can suggest names.
When a person becomes quite confused or disabled, drastic steps may be required, such as hiding the keys, disabling the car, or removing the car altogether. One family simply told their dad that his car was in the shop. He accepted the explanation and the problem was solved.