A key decision that a family or home caregiver must face when an individual is diagnosed with dementia is whether or not that person should continue driving. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain independence for as long as possible without putting the dementia patient or other drivers in danger.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are progressive diseases and their symptoms will worsen over time. For this reason, many early stage dementia patients may be able to continue driving without issue. However, the disease progresses at different rates in each case, making it difficult to predict when it’s time to stop. Knowing how to care for a dementia patient at home before getting behind the wheel can help protect your patient and other drivers.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, it may be time for a dementia patient to stop driving if he or she:
- Has difficulty judging distance
- Becomes disoriented in familiar places
- Cannot effectively multi-task
- Struggles with decision making and problem solving
- Experiences drastic mood swings or irritability
Another tactic to assess a dementia patient’s driving skills is through an independent driving evaluation. These evaluations are conducted by a state’s DMV and a dementia patient may be required to pass in order to keep driving depending on the state where they live.
Personal care assistants (PCAs) that provide dementia home care should take the necessary steps to ensure their patients are kept safe both on and off the road. Along with providing in-home supportive services, a home caregiver should also plan for future transportation arrangements once the time comes to stop driving.
For years, Best Home Care has helped PCAs and family caregivers who are caring for a dementia patient at home more effectively manage their administrative work. Contact us for more guidance on dementia home care and to learn how our Minneapolis home care agency can assist you.