According to David W. Hart, Ph.D.
The contribution of the writer
The privilege of driving a motor vehicle is deeply rooted in the freedoms of most Americans as freedom: freedom and freedom. We have the ability to pick up and go whenever and wherever we like America with apple pie. Especially in the Southern expanse of California, where military roads and highways can be part of the passing events, holding appointments and visiting friends and family, driving is considered crucial to try to happiness and live in our city. best life.
However, it is likely that he will not say that driving is our constitutional or human right. Drive is a privilege that requires cognitive and physical ability to operate a vehicle safely. The main concept here is safety. Unfortunately, people with Alzheimer's disease or associated brain neurological disorders experience a progressive and harmful impairment of cognitive functions required to drive safely.
Memory loss can affect an individual's ability to recall the rules of the road; visual spatial decompression of a single driver can be lost in common environments; lack of judgment could influence decision-making at present; and a reduction in the speed at which an individual processes sensory information is the difference between a leg or the accelerator.
Physicians who diagnose dementia patients are required by law to submit a confidential report to the county's health department if the cognitive impairment is sufficiently severe to impair driving capacity (California Health and Safety Code Section 103900). This information is then forwarded to the Motor Vehicle Department (DMV), which is then authorized to act.
Whether or not physicians return their patients to the county health department, we all have a collective responsibility as a community, including people with dementia, to ensure the safety of our roads. The question must be: Am I (or my lover, neighbor, patients, etc.) able to go behind the wheel with confidence and without the risk of an accident that could harm me, your passenger, or other traveler on the roads and sidewalks?
Diagnosis of dementia does not require immediate cessation of driving. On the contrary, many patients with recent diagnosis of dementia in the early stages retain the physical and cognitive ability to drive safely. Some patients living with dementia maintain a sense of reduced driving capacity and make adaptations including driving within a given perimeter, not just driving during the day, and avoiding overcrowded highways.
Or, I have some clients who have retained their independence by accessing other transport options, including Access, Uber, Lyft and GoGo Grandparent. In an effort to maintain prudence and accountability of all parties, I recommend prescribed occupational therapy through driving rehabilitation programs available at USC and the Center for Optimal Aging by Little San San Pedro Company or to schedule quarterly evaluations at a professional driving school.
Unfortunately, many families take care of patients with limited vision of their driving abilities. These families and spouses need to act against the will of their loved ones and the process can be dissatisfied and uncomfortable. The following is a list of questions you could ask to objectively drive capacity:
- Did you notice a change in your driving ability?
- Do other drivers honor you?
- Have you ever lost while driving?
- Have you had any fever trays in the last year?
- Do the people of the person feel unsafe driving with you?
- Did you mention traffic last year?
- Have you noticed that other daily living activities are impaired, including challenges to dressing, grooming, financial organization, or loss of short-term memories?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, some form of action is likely to occur, depending on how hard your answers are. A confidential report could be made to the DMV Safety Division for immediate evaluation (within 30 days). In severe circumstances, families often have to disable or remove the vehicle from the house. These interventions may be excessive but an accident could have tragic consequences as a result of maintaining the status quo.
You're not alone and help is available for those who need it. The following is a list of resources that you may find useful:
DMV California Safety Driver Office – El Segundo
390 Pacific Coast Coast, Suite 2075, 90245-4470
California DMV Dementia Evaluation
Dementia and Driving
GoGo Grandmother – Use Lyft or Uber without a smart phone
Finally, you are welcome to join my carers' support group on 2th and 4th Wednesday of the month from 10:30 pm – noon to learn more about driving safety solutions. Please contact me directly for more information.
David Hart, Ph.D., is the director of clinical services at Best Care Services in Torrance and is a faculty member in the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton. Hart, the original chair and member of the South Bay Dementia Education Consortium, focuses on working with older adults with dementia and their families. For more information, go to everybestcaresouthbay.com or contact him at email@example.com or at (310) 792-8666.