Dementia and DrivingTuesday, June 14, 2011
About 4 million Americans have some type of dementia and nearly all will eventually have to give up driving. Knowing when this should occur is tough. Dr. Edward Hill discusses some things to watch for in todays 60 Second Housecall.
Dementia is a problem that makes it hard for a person to remember things. People with Alzheimers disease slowly lose their memory, and over time they stop being able to take care of themselves.
People with early dementia probably will not have any problem driving. As time goes on, they might have problems like forgetting to move to the correct lane for a turn, not being able to watch the road and not being able to stop suddenly. This is when the driver with dementia becomes dangerous.
Look for a change in the persons driving skills. Do you feel safe riding with this person? If you think that a friend or family member might have dementia, talk to his or her doctor. The doctor will check this person for dementia and other problems that can affect driving skills.
It is important to help this person find other ways to get around. Older people can become depressed when they stop driving. Doctors and social workers can help.
For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.