National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is December 1-7
Millions of people have Alzheimer’s disease. If you or someone you love has Alzheimer’s, talk with your family and your health care provider about it and how this disease can affect your driving safety.
There are early warning signs that Alzheimer’s may be affecting one’s driving safety and while some can happen to anyone, when many are combined together they can be an indicator of a greater problem. Some signs are:
Need more help with directions or with learning a new driving route.
Trouble remembering where you are going.
Forget where you parked your car.
Trouble making turns, especially left turns.
Misjudge gaps in traffic at street crossings and on highway ramps.
Trouble seeing or following traffic lights and road signs.
Get traffic citations or “warnings”.
Drivers often honk their horns at you.
Stop at a green light, or hit your brakes at the wrong time.
Trouble staying in your driving lane.
Less muscle control. Hard to push down on pedals or turn steering wheel.
Find dents and scrapes you cannot explain on your car, fences, mailboxes, garage doors, and curbs.
Other people question if you are driving safely.
Cannot control your anger, sadness, or other emotions that can affect your driving.
As soon as you notice one or more of these warning signs, please tell your family or someone close and see your health care provider. Understanding how this disease can affect your driving is critical. Your health care provider may suggest that you see two types of specialists that can help you:
driver rehabilitation specialist
can test how well you drive on and off the road. This specialist also can help you decide when you need to stop driving. To find a driver rehabilitation specialist, go to www.aota.org/olderdriver. Under “Driving & Community Mobility,” click the button in the center of the page marked “Search for a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.” This will link you to a national database. There you can search for names and addresses of driver rehabilitation specialists in your area.
An occupational therapist with special training in driving skills assessment and remediation. To find an occupational therapist, contact local hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.
Even if you have to limit or give up driving, you can stay active and do the things you like to do.
First, plan ahead. Talk with family and friends about how you can shift from driver to passenger. Try to coordinate rides with family and friends. Taking a family member or friend with you when you use public transportation or when you walk would be helpful in aiding to get you where you want to go without confusion. Services such as Uber and Lyft are additional methods of transportation besides the traditional taxis, shuttle buses/vans, public buses and para transit services for those with disabilities. Many community- based volunteer programs offer free or low-cost ways to get around.
See if grocery delivery services such as
(currently available for delivery to in Eliot, Kennebunk, Kittery, Kittery Point, Wells, Dover, NH and Portsmouth, NH) or food delivery services such as
are available in your area. With the advancement in technology and 1-2 day delivery options from Amazon Prime or even department stores like Target, it can take some of the stress out of worrying about how you are going to find a ride to get some of your mundane errands done.