My husband has dementia and opens passengers front door while driving.
putting him in back seat is demeaning as an adult.

Find Care & Housing
When dementia has regressed an adult back into a toddler who has to be secured with child locks in a car, put them in the backseat. When a person has gotten to this point it really isn't safe to treat them like adults anymore.

Safety first. Back seat. I was a caregiver for 25 years. Anytime I had to take a client with dementia in my car they always sat in the backseat whether they wanted to or not. This was a condition of travelling in my car. It was either the backseat, or we don't go.
Helpful Answer (21)
Reply to BurntCaregiver

The whole dementia experience is demeaning. While driving home from a walk at a local park, my wife opened the passenger car door and tried to jump out. I quickly grabbed the seat belt to keep her from getting out. She was delusional and thought I was going to hurt her. She struggled to jump out, I struggled to keep her in. Without going into detail, the 20 minute drive home was hair raising. After that experience, I piled some large books in the front passenger seat and would ask her to please sit in the back because I didn’t want to move all those books. I also engaged the child proof locks in the back. Demeaning or not, it’s about their safety and your sanity. That was the experience that put me over the top. The next week she was in MC.
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to sjplegacy
geddyupgo Jan 22, 2024
Oh my. That must have been so frightening. Glad you are both safe!!
My Aunt with dementia used to sit in the front passenger seat until one day when she decided to grab the wheel and try to turn it while we were driving on the highway. And she used to roll down the window and scream HELP! at passing cars. So, lock the windows as well.

The back seat is the safest option.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to Geaton777

There’s nothing demeaning about riding in the back. He doesn’t need to be anywhere near the steering wheel.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to LoopyLoo
BurntCaregiver Jan 16, 2024
Safety first at all times.
He has dementia and can't distinguish between safe and unsafe behavior so I dont think he thinks it's demeaning. Always put him in the back furthest away from the drivers side.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to sp196902
CaringinVA Jan 21, 2024
Yes! She needs to be able to see him in the back in her peripheral view. Thanks for suggesting that side of the back seat👍🏾
The back seat may seem demeaning to you, but it is the most safe. It also keeps them away from the controls of the car. Remember, unexpected behaviors in a car can be deadly.
Helpful Answer (14)

I don't get the demeaning part, his brain is broken, safety first. Sounds like it is an embarrassment to you. Many adults ride in the back seat.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to MeDolly

Safety first. He should ride in the back seat for all the reasons the posters gave. If he has dementia he has no perception of being demeaned anyway.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Hothouseflower

How very dangerous for both you and him that he's opening the car door while driving. And how silly that you think that putting him in the back seat and keeping you both safe is "demeaning."
Just pretend that you are his personal chauffeur like in the movie Driving Miss Daisy, or in your case it would be Driving Mr.(fill in the blank).
Either that or just don't take him anywhere anymore. Or perhaps it's getting to be time to think about having him placed in a memory care facility, where he will be kept safe and you can get back to just being his wife and advocate.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Geaton777 Jan 16, 2024
Factoids du jour:

"Shotgun" (front passenger side) is called such from the days when the Wells Fargo stagecoach used to deliver money and mail. There were always highway robbers to watch out for.

The back passenger side is the "Presidential seat" so that the VIP can easily see and talk to the driver (and visa versa).

Treat the hubs like a VIP.
This does not sound at all safe.

I have 'child' car door locks on all my passenger doors yet this wouldn't stop an adult reaching over to grab at the wheel, grab me, fiddle with the radio volume.

If being a passenger is not safe, next is having another adult to sit along side in the back to supervise & manage.

If this is not safe either, then no transport in private cars. He must stay home with a sitter when you go out. For his own appointments that must be face-to-face, non-emergency medical transport will need to be looked into.

This gets very hard if you & your husband don't have sitters or transport options.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Beatty

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter