Supporting Someone With Dementia Who Shouldn’t Be Driving

Do you have a friend or family member who sufferers from dementia and who therefore should not be driving? Watch the following video to learn the steps you might want to take to approach this sensitive subject…

Relatives or carers frequently ask me what they should be doing when they’re concerned that a person in their family is still trying to drive and shouldn’t be. This is a very difficult situation and I think the first step is to try and encourage someone to go and talk to their doctor about it.

Often when you think someone is a little confused or you think their dementia has gone undiagnosed; there may be reversible elements. There may be an undiagnosed condition, maybe an underactive thyroid or anaemia or some other issue that’s muddling their mind. There may be steps that can be taken to help people improve their help and improve their situation. Also that can be the fist step to identity that someone had cognitive issues or some sort of earlier dementia.

Its much easier then to move the issue from the relative or the loved one into the hands of the professional because the doctor can then advise the patient that you really shouldn’t be driving, you need to contact the DVLA that there’s an issue or that you need to take a further test and asses and make sure that you are competent to drive. This makes it much easier for a relative or carer who feels they can’t take action to then be able to stand up and say for instance ‘your doctor says you’ve got to do something about this’, so it gives you a bit of power and authority to get things done.

Quite often people go on driving anyway. I’ve had lots of patients who will in one way or the there get in the car, find the keys or have a spare key hidden away somewhere. It’s such a basic freedom to be able to drive so people loathe to give it up. So sometimes you do need to resort to other tactics to hide the keys, deactivate the car or even move the car somewhere else. There may be arguments or issues that you have to work through but, as long as the person has plenty of other options for getting about, then you can work your way around the issues.

Any ideas that you may have as to how people may tackle it then write them down, add them to the blog as they could be useful!