When starting a conversation about driving risk with the person with dementia, it is important to show compassion and empathy. Think about how it would feel to no longer be able to drive. Share your thoughts with the person with dementia while encouraging them to also talk about what the loss of driving means to them.
The most appropriate person to start this conversation should be someone who is familiar with the person with dementia’s health condition and their driving abilities. Of course, this person should also be someone whom the person with dementia trusts. Start the conversation early and have ongoing discussions that:
It’s important to involve the person with dementia in driving
discussions so that they feel respected and have a sense of control. Ideally, the person with dementia will transition to no longer driving
over time, providing the opportunity to work together on a plan of
Be prepared for reactions like anger or sadness, which can sometimes be
extreme due to the memory and insight issues that are often part of
dementia. Once the person with dementia buys into the idea of no longer driving, use this Agreement with my Family about Driving (click here), produced by The Hartford.
Family members often have different ways of approaching difficult issues, such as stopping to drive. However, family members can provide support for both you and the person
with dementia as you face tough decisions. Try to create opportunities
for family members to observe the person with dementia’s driving
For example, the person with dementia may:
In addition to family members, you might also want to encourage the person with dementia to reach out to others regarding a future without driving. You might also find talking to a friend or joining a support group helpful.
For example, you could encourage the person with dementia to:
Here’s what some family members have to say:
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See a wife having a supportive conversation about giving up driving with her husband who has dementia.
Source: Alzheimer's Society
See various family/friend carers having conversations about giving up driving with people with dementia. Although some of the content is specific to Australia, most of the ideas are helpful no matter where you live.
Source: Alzheimer's Australia Vic.
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