My mother has middle stage Alzheimer's. When will I know my mother can no longer drive?

Asked by

I take her to most places right now.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
You have been given some very good advice. However I want you to think about this...

What if she kills someone.

Think about that for a while. What if she takes an innocent person's life (not even thinking about getting lost, having a minor accident, hurting herself, etc). What if someone dies...could you live with that guilt? Knowing that you should have taken her off the road? Knowing that her judgement is not good and she really shouldn't be judging whether she drives or not?

If a doctor says her Alzheimers is mid stage, it's time to stop driving. Either take the keys, disable the car, or report her to the DMV for a test, which she will not pass as in a test they put the person in unfamiliar situations.

The worst risk is not about getting lost. She will eventually wind up home in that case. The worst risk is that she couldn't react quickly enough in an emergency, that her memory failure would be about how to use the brake, that she would merge into a semi. I think that persons with dementia should be allowed some latitude in deciding what risks to accept BUT NOT when their decisions put others at risk.

When should she stop driving? Now.
It's pretty typical that people stop driving once they've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It can be a battle, getting the keys away, but it's a fight worth fighting. You wouldn't want your mom to become disoriented while driving or misjudge a situation on the road to realize that it's time for her to stop driving. Don't wait for something to happen, try to prevent something from happening.
Given a diagnosis of dementia is a sign driving a car is putting both the patient and other drivers at risk. Do you really want to subject your mother and others to the possibility of an accident and/or death of both. Sell the car, or store it, and take the keys away. No question about it, and you keep driving her.
Gagall, check your state's laws. She may need to have a driver evaluation done or even a road test. The MD is right, let her drive and you be a silent passenger. If it's a scary experience, she should stop driving.
My neighbors wife has Alzheimer's and she went to a facility that her insurance covered and took a battery of tests for all sorts of things. One of them was driving. Well, she flunked! She was so determined to drive but her husband had the doctor write out a prescription saying she could no longer drive. The car had to be completely removed so it would not be a reminder. I think having these evaluations every so often is an excellent gauge for caregivers.
For those that think driving locally only makes it alright to continue ..think again. Statistics prove most accidents happen within 25 miles of home. A man in our church, who had dementia, drove to his volleyball game, got lost and ended up 200 miles from home. There was Silver Alert out for him. The only reason he was found, was the Denton, Tx. Police found him driving the wrong way on a one way street. He drove from Oklahoma City all the way to the Dallas area!! So no, they don't always eventually get home when they are lost. When I first read your question, I was saying OMG! You must end her driving. It may not be easy, but to hell with her independence...she's as dangerous as driving under the influence. Would you let that happen? Mi think children don't want to confront parents as it's difficult, but let the doctor be the "meanie". Please take all these suggestions to heart. I was lucky that my dad KNEW he needed to stop. There is a national organization that can drive elders around. I forget the name, but check into that. Call your Alzheimer's Assoc. for help.
If your mom is mid stage now, it is time for her to stop driving. If she is driving and finding her way home she must be fairly early stage. My mom quit driving after she got lost coming home about ten years ago. She had lived in her house for forty years at that point.
Geeze don;t let her take you for drive in traffic Gagall! This was a wake up call for my Mom,, and she kept doing it until Dad "merged" into a semi. Luckily no one was hurt except for the (previously) sweet ride... Dad thought he was fine.. mom swore it wasn;t his fault.. UH the police and insurance company disagreed!
Allowing your mom to report how she drives is risky. Her condition impairs her judgment. She is not the one in a position to make that decision. And even if she drives okay with you in the car, it could be very different the next day. She could get her gas and brake confused and cause a crash. I would be very concerned that someone with mid stage was continuing to operate a car. What does her insurance company say about it?

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support