One of the dilemmas a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s faces is whether or not they should continue to let their loved one drive. No longer allowing your loved one to drive can lead your loved one to a feeling of defeat and taking away their keys can mean the loss of your loved one’s independence; however, you must balance that loss with the safety of others on the road.
An issue that many caregivers face surrounding the driving issue is their loved one’s insistence that there is no reason why they can no longer operate a vehicle. Even if you get the doctor to insist to the patient that they should no longer drive, due to the memory loss, the patient may completely forget what the doctor told them. So, you will find yourself in a seemingly never ending cycle of your loved one insisting on driving and you telling them no.
In this case, the best thing to do is change the topic of conversation when the driving topic is brought up. Diverting to a lighter topic of conversation by saying something like, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” may feel odd at first, like you’re ignoring your loved one, but the truth is, switching to a lighter topic of conversation can be a great stress reliever for both you and your loved one, even if it is only for a brief moment.
Changing to a lighter topic should not take away from the overall seriousness of the driving issue, but for the time being, it provides some relief and you both can move forward.
It is important to realize that driving is one of the most challenging issues surrounding Alzheimer’s today. Helpful answers to this issue can come from the Alzheimer’s resource center at abferrarolaw.com/senior-resource-kits/alzheimers-resource-kit/.
-Anthony B. Ferraro