How to Stop a Senior Loved One with Dementia from Driving

By , 9:00 am on

Since dementia tends to cause difficulty with coordination, spatial awareness, and logical thinking, it’s unsafe for most seniors with dementia to drive. However, driving is seen as a way of maintaining independence and self-reliance, so many seniors are understandably reluctant to give up their keys. If your aging parent has dementia but still wants to drive, there are a few things you can do to convince him or her to stay out of the driver’s seat.

Enlist the Help of Respected Professionals

Dementia can make it difficult for seniors to even recognize their own impairment, so simply asking your loved one not to drive anymore might not be effective. Seniors are more likely to listen to advice from a trusted and respected professional instead of their children. You might want to ask your parent’s doctor or ophthalmologist to speak with your parent about his or her impairments or get the family attorney to talk about the potential legal consequences if your parent gets into a wreck. Always make sure these conversations come from a place of care and concern, but help your parent realize that health care and legal experts are recommending that he or she avoid driving. 

Having these conversations and realizing that a parent can no longer be independent can be stressful for family members as well, and respite care may ease some of the pressure. There are a variety of reasons family caregivers should consider respite care. McKinney, Texas, families often have additional responsibilities that make it more challenging to provide the care their senior loved ones need and deserve. A professional respite caregiver can take over your important caregiving duties, allowing you more time to focus on yourself.

Discuss Driving Alternatives

Many seniors resist the transition to not driving because they worry about how they will get around. Offer reassurance and let your parent know you’re not trying to make him or her stay in the house. You can discuss ridesharing apps, offer to drive your parent places, get your parent’s friends to offer carpooling, and research public transit opportunities. Make sure you find valid transportation alternatives for your parent. 

Driving may not be the only safety concern you have about your parent, so you may find extra peace of mind by hiring a professional caregiver. Families looking for top-rated McKinney senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Make an Anonymous Report to Officials

The exact process varies a little by location, but all areas have a process for reporting unsafe drivers. You can report your parent anonymously if he or she continues driving after he or she is clearly unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. Being pulled over could result in your parent having to pass extra tests to retain a drivers license. A law enforcement representative telling your parent that he or she isn’t allowed to drive anymore may be enough to make him or her stop.

Make It Impossible to Drive the Car

If the dementia has progressed enough, it might be impossible to convince your loved one not to drive. When this occurs, you may need to take more proactive steps to keep your parent from accidentally driving away. For many seniors with dementia, something out of sight is out of mind. Parking the car at another property and saying it’s in the shop for repairs may prevent driving without causing arguments. You can also try hiding the keys, unplugging the car’s battery, or placing a lock on the steering wheel. Only take these measures if your parent is so impaired you have assumed guardianship. Otherwise, such extreme measures could result in legal complications.

Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. McKinney, TX, families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (972) 548-0392.

Employer-of-Choice