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Driving Cessation Information

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DIGITAL VERSION

One of the most important concerns for cognitively impaired older adults is when to cease driving a vehicle due to a decline in driving skills that potentially place the person and others at risk.

Aspects of cognition that are crucial for driving and that are affected most by dementia include loss of memory, poor sequencing skills, impaired judgment, slower processing times, and visual-perceptual deficits. Because of the progressive nature of dementia it is difficult to determine when the person with the disease needs to cease driving. For example, studies have shown that during the very early stages of dementia, the person with the disease can continue to drive but may need monitoring so as to detect the frequency of occurrence of driving errors.

Families need to play a major role in assessing their relative’s driving capabilities in the context of a progressive disease such as dementia. Family caregivers need to plan the best strategies for engaging their relative in discussions about driving cessation.

In addition, accessing the help of professional healthcare providers such as the family’s doctor will add authority to discussions about assessment of driving ability and raise issues as to individual and public safety.

Most of the responsibility for driving cessation is assumed by the caregiver as they are the first to notice decline in driving skills yet are reluctant to share their observations with the cognitively impaired family member.

Driving cessation has an impact on both the driver and caregiver especially if both have relied on the driver for transportation, food shopping, doctors appointments, social gatherings etc. Consequently, the caregiver needs to obtain support from family members and professionals in achieving the goal of driving cessation for the cognitively impaired relative. Achieving the goal involves engaging the cognitively impaired relative and other family members in a planning process leading to a mutual decision to give up driving and accepting alternate forms of transportation.

Listed below are some strategies for caregivers to follow.

Recommended Strategies to Limit or Discontinue Driving (Perkinson et. al., 2005)

  1. During the early stage of dementia begin to discuss with the cognitively impaired person and other family members the need to start thinking about limiting driving, and plans for discontinuing. Accompany the driver and observe whether the person is anxious and possibly aware of loss of some driving skills.
  2. Engage family members in devising a plan for determining the cognitively impaired person’s driving capabilities; for example, have them ride with the person to observe driving skills. Ensure that all family members are on board and represent a united front in dealing with the necessity for driving cessation.
  3. Enlist the help of your physician, local police, nurses, social workers or occupational therapists to convince the person to stop driving.
  4. Provide the driver with concrete evidence of their struggles with safe driving by having them undergo a driving evaluation at your local motor vehicle driving authority.
  5. Have your doctor write a letter stating that the person should not drive.
  6. Make plans with the cognitively impaired person as to how he/she will manage transportation without driving a car. Arrange alternate transportation; family members, buses, taxis etc.
  7. Depending on the stage of the disease, the person may insist on driving and deny any problems. Then it may be necessary to remove the keys, license and automobile.
  8. Driving cessation is often accompanied by depression due to the loss of function and self-esteem. Consequently it is important that the cognitively impaired person be involved in making plans for driving cessation at the very early stage of the disease. The more involved the person is in making the decision the more likely that the transition from being in control of driving to being driven can be achieved with minimal conflict.

Perkinson, M.A., Berg-Weger, M.L., Carr, D.B., Meuser, T.M. et al., (2005). Driving and Dementia of the Alzheimer Type: Beliefs and Cessation Strategies Among Stakeholders. The Gerontologist, 45, 676-685.

Appendix

In Canada it is possible to obtain a driving ability test through an organization with branch offices across country.

DriveABLE Centres by Province

Alberta

Calgary

25C, 9620 Elbow Drive SW, Haysboro Plaza
Calgary, Alberta T2V 1M2
Phone #: 403-252-2243 Fax #: 403-253-2627

Edmonton

Corporate Office and Assessment Centre, Suite 304, 10050 – 112 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 10050 – 112end_of_the_skype_highlighting St.
Edmonton, Alberta Canada T5K 2J1
Phone #: 780-433-1494 Fax #: 780-433-1531

Lethbridge

DriveABLE Program, Seniors Health and Bridges Program
Unit 207, 200 – 4th Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 4C9
Phone #: 403-317-1463 Fax #: 403-327-6241

Medicine Hat

2805 – 13th Avenue SE., Medicine Hat, Alberta T1A 3R1
Phone #: 403-528-4860 Fax #: 403-527-7414

Peace River

2805 – 13th Avenue SE., Medicine Hat, Alberta T1A 3R1
Phone #: 403-528-4860 Fax #: 403-527-7414

Red Deer

Regional Rehabilitation Services
Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre
3942-50A Avenue, P.O. Bag 5030, Red Deer, Alberta T4N 6R2
Phone #: 403-309-6180 Fax #: 403-343-4419

Wainwright

501 10 Street, Wainwright, Alberta T9W 1R5
Phone #: 780-842-3341 Fax #: 780-342-5858

British Columbia

General Phone #: 1-877-224-5355 General Fax #: 1-604-852-5828

Abbotsford

DriveABLE at CBI Health Abbotsford, 34252 Marshall Road, Suite 4
Abbotsford, British Columbia V2S 1L9
Phone #: 1-877-224-5355 Fax #: 1-604-852-5828

Surrey

DriveABLE at CBI Health Surrey, 202 – 7350 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202 – 7350end_of_the_skype_highlighting King George HWY
Surrey, British Columbia V3W 5A5
Phone #: 1-877-224-5355 Fax #: 1-604-852-5828

Vancouver

DriveABLE at CBI Health Greater Vancouver, 1861 West Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1Y5
Phone #: 1-877-224-5355 Fax #: 1-604-852-5828

Vancouver

DriveABLE at Holy Family Hospital, 7801 Argyle Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V5P 3L6
Phone #: 604-322-2617 Fax #: 604-321-6886

Victoria

DriveABLE at CBI Health Victoria, Suite 101, 605 Discovery Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8T 5G4
Phone #: 1-877-224-5355 Fax #: 1-604-852-5828

Manitoba

Winnipeg

325 – 530 Kenaston Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3N 1Z4
Phone #: 204-791-7736 Fax #: 204-489-6048

Nova Scotia

Halifax

Physioclinic – West End Mall, 6960 Mumford Road, Unit 240
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3L 4P1
Phone #: 902-423-2605 Fax #: 902-423-4151

Ontario

Brampton

169 Queen Street East, Suite 103, Brampton, Ontario L6W 2B2
Phone #: 905-796-4959 Fax #: 905-796-4952

Guelph

The Wellness Rehabilitation Centre, Unit 1, 41 River Road E.
Kitchener, Ontario N2B 2G3
Phone #: 519-749-6787 Fax #: 519-749-6880
Email: wellness@smgh.ca

Hamilton

565 Sanatorium Road, Suite 204, Hamilton, Ontario L9C 7N4
Phone #: 905-388-1035 Toll Free: 1-800-669-0423
Fax #: 905-318-8892

Kingston

The Professional Building, 11 Princess Street, Room 101
Kingston, Ontario K7L 1A1
Phone #: 1-613-655-0034 (Toll Free) Fax #: 1-613-224-0270

Kitchener

The Wellness Rehabilitation Centre, Unit 1, 41 River Road E.
Kitchener, Ontario N2B 2G3
Phone #: 519-749-6787 Fax #: 519-749-6880
Email: wellness@smgh.ca

London

St. Joseph’s Health Care London, Parkwood Campus, Room A241
801 Commissioner’s Road East, London, Ontario N6C 5J1
Phone #: 519-685-4028 Fax #: 519-685-4040

Milton

245 Commercial Street, Milton, Ontario L9T 3C3
Phone #: 1-888-881-3414 Fax #: 1-888-881-3414

Oshawa

223 Brock St. N., Whitby, Ontario L1N 4H6
Phone #: 905-666-8033 Fax #: 905-666-0113

Ottawa

1893 Baseline Road, Ottawa, Ontario K2C 0C7
Phone #: 613-224-6965 Fax #: 613-224-0270

Owen Sound

733 – 9th Ave. E. Suite 4, Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 3E6
Phone #: 519-370-2165 Fax #: 519-370-2441

Smiths Falls

DriveABLE at Smiths Falls, 275 Brockville Street, Unit 1F
Smiths Falls, Ontario K7A 4Z6
Phone #: 613-283-1980

Toronto

Saint Elizabeth Health Care, 1140 Sheppard Ave. West, Unit 4
North York, Ontario M3K 2A2
Phone #: 416-398-1035 Fax #: 416-398-3206

Waterloo

The Wellness Rehabilitation Centre, Unit 1, 41 River Road E.
Kitchener, Ontario N2B 2G3
Phone #: 519-749-6880 Fax #: 749-6880
Email: wellness@smgh.ca

Whitby

223 Brock St. N., Whitby, Ontario L1N 4H6
Phone #: 905-666-8033 Fax #: 905-666-0113

Windsor

Windsor Regional Hospital, Western Campus
Geriatric Assessment Program
1453 Prince Rd., Windsor, Ontario N9C 3Z4
Phone #: 519-257-5112 Fax #: 519-257-5242

Quebec

Montreal

Suite 109B Décarie Square, 6900 boul. Décarie
Côte St-Luc, Québec H3X 2T8
Tél #: 514-733-1414 Fax #: 514-733-5005

Yukon

Whitehorse

Department of Community Services
Phone #: 867-667-5811 or 867-667-5812

Or visit the DrivABLE website at http://www.engaged.is/tools/www.driveable.com