My oh, my – such a difficult subject to broach with a family member when you know that he should put down the car keys and let others do the driving for him. The article linked above from NBC Nightly News is a good source of tips on how to handle this very familiar problem. I address this issue in my article: Driving with dementia: the dangers of denial. Although dementia is usually one of the most talked about reasons for taking away someone’s car keys, there are other reasons that are just as important that must not be ignored:
- Age-related slow reaction times;
- Medications that might cause dizziness and/or slow reaction time; and
- Impaired eyesight and hearing.
Not wanting to hurt a loved one’s feelings should not be the reason to avoid this subject matter. Let’s face it, your loved one’s safety and the safety of absolutely everyone else is at stake here. There are already so many dangers on the road with drivers talking or texting on their cellphones, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, doing any number of distracting functions such as eating, personal grooming, changing a tune on your I-Pod, or being distracted by children or dogs in the back seat. Now add someone who is impaired by age or cognitive disease and the risks to others increases greatly.
If you or a loved one are facing this important and difficult step, please read the attached NBC article linked above and also take the time to look at my article, Driving with dementia: the dangers of denial that provides encouragement for how you might take care of this very important matter of safety.