Some persons in early stages of dementia may have sufficient driving abilities to continue driving with limitations. They should be given the opportunity to make decisions about driving, if safety is not compromised.
Over time, such individuals will become incapable of accurately assessing their driving skills. Anyone with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, or any other form of progressive dementia, will eventually lose the skills necessary for safe driving. In these cases, families and doctors must collaborate to protect the individual and may need to take immediate unilateral action.
Families of persons with dementia may not realize that getting lost in familiar places is a serious warning sign. Persons who are confused and forgetful may also lack the ability to respond appropriately to ever-changing road conditions.
Families should be vigilant about observing driving behavior. Firsthand knowledge of driving behavior will help families know if and when they need to intervene.