How to ease the transition
When your loved one stops driving, arrange for alternative transportation. Have family and friends run errands with your loved one, or arrange transportation through a senior van route. Establish an account with a taxi or car service so that your loved one can go places, but won't have to handle money.
Consider ways to limit your loved one's need to drive. Many items — such as groceries, meals and prescriptions — can be delivered to your loved one's home.
Also, distract the person living with Alzheimer's disease from driving opportunities. If possible, have someone sit in the backseat with your loved one to distract him or her.
Remain firm as the disease progresses
If the person living with Alzheimer's disease insists on driving, consider these last-resort preventive strategies:
- Control key access. Keep keys out of sight. If your loved one insists on carrying a set of keys, offer keys that won't start the vehicle.
- Disable the vehicle. Remove a battery cable to prevent the car from starting, or ask a mechanic to install a "kill switch" that must be engaged before the car will start.
- Sell the vehicle. If you can make do without your loved one's vehicle, consider selling it.
Whether your loved one stops driving all at once or in stages, he or she will probably grieve the loss of independence. Be patient, but firm. The consequences of unsafe driving can be devastating.
May 25, 2016
See more In-depth
- Dementia and driving resource center. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-and-driving.asp. Accessed April 22, 2016.
- Driving information and contract. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-and-driving.asp. Accessed April 22, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Driving restrictions. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research;2015.
- Iverson DJ, et al. Practice parameter update: Evaluation and management of driving risk in dementia. Neurology. 2010;74:1316.
- Driving safely as you age. The American Occupational Therapy Association. https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/Adults/OlderDrivers/DrivingSafelyAsYouAge.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2016.