Dementia Care Site Map
Dementia and driving

 

A diagnosis of dementia does not always mean that the person is immediately incapable of driving. In the early stages of dementia, some people may still possess skills necessary for safe driving, however as the disease progresses a driver's ability may be affected, due to loss of memory, limited concentration or sight problems.

Resources

Alzheimer's Association (USA) have resources available on Dementia and Driving on their website. It includes a collection of four videos with topics covering - recognising the signs of unsafe driving and how to plan ahead.

 

1. A Supportive Conversation:

Frank has early stage Alzheimer's and the doctor said it's no longer safe for him to drive. His wife doesn't drive, but knows it's time to discuss finding alternative transportation.

 

2. A Bump in the Road:

Cindy lives out-of-state and is visiting her mum, Renee, who's had some fender-benders. Cindy talks with her mum about having her driving evaluated and other options to get around town.

 

3. A Plan in Place:

Janet is in the early stages of younger-onset Alzheimer's. She's doing well now, but realises that eventually she'll have to stop driving. She talks with her family about a plan for the future.

 

4. A Close Call:

Martin has early stage Alzheimer's and hit a parked school bus today. No one was seriously hurt, but his partner, Dan, recognises that Martin must stop driving - for everyone's safety and well-being.

 

Watch how the four families approach the subject

 

Bill and Betty's Story

Bill has been a driver for over 60 years and did a lot of driving as a salesman. When Bill was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease the specialist recommended that Bill should undergo an Occupational Therapy driving assessment.

 

To read more about Bill's assessment and recommendations go to page 3 of this document.

(Document sourced from health.gov.au - Department of Health and Ageing)

 

 

 RACV Guide

 

RACV offer a guide to dementia and driving.  This guide is for professionals, carers, families, friends and for people with dementia. It summarises key issues surrounding driving and dementia including mobility options for people who can no longer drive.

The law in Australia

In all Australian states and territories, except Western Australia, drivers have an obligation to tell their licensing authority of any medical condition that might affect their ability to drive safely. Diabetes, some heart conditions and dementia are all medical conditions that need to be disclosed because of their potential effect on a person's driving ability.



The licensing authority will generally advise the driver to see a doctor who will assess whether it is safe to keep driving for a period of time. If the doctor determines that dementia is affecting the person's ability to drive, the licensing authority may place conditions on their licence. These conditions might be that they can only drive close to home, at certain times or below 100km/h.



Regular medical and driving tests may be required as dementia will cause a person's ability to decline over time.