National Senior Safety Week
You don’t need to ask a 16-year-old about the freedom and independence that comes with driving.
Driving is a symbol of independence and self-sufficiency for seniors, too. They rely on their cars for shopping, getting to and from the doctor’s or staying connected with family and friends.
But for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, driving can be an especially tough and deeply emotional issue. While some individuals are still able to drive in the early stages of dementia, as the disease progresses the skills needed to be safe on the road such as judgment, reasoning and orientation will diminish.
If a friend or family member begins to show changes in their road habits, it might be time to have a conversation about their driving. Understandably, driving is a privilege that no one wants to give up willingly, but safety of both the driver and others comes first.
Keep an eye on some of these warning signs courtesy of the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Dementia Network and get more advice from your local Alzheimer Society at www.alzheimerontario.org:
- Frequency of car crashes or mild fender-benders such as hitting, bumping or scraping another car
- Getting loss while driving to or within familiar places
- Forgetting where you are
- Near-misses with other vehicles, pedestrians and objects without realizing it
- Receiving traffic citations for speeding, driving too slowly or improper turns
- Other drivers honking at you or showing other signs of irritation
- Unknowingly running stop lights or stopping at green lights
- Confusing the gas and brake pedal
- Going the wrong way in traffic
- Merging without looking
-Public Education Coordinator
–Alzheimer Society of Belleville-Hastings-Quinte