One of the most challenging and dreaded conversations a caregiver faces is telling a family member they can no longer drive. Losing the independence that driving provides can be upsetting. So, it is important to acknowledge a person’s feelings and preserve his or her independence, while ensuring the person’s safety and the safety of others.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is not, on its own, a sufficient reason to surrender driving privileges. The determining factors in deciding when it’s time to stop driving should be based on an individual’s functional abilities and driving competencies. An evaluation by a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist through the Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital can be of great value in helping to make this difficult decision. A driver evaluation will assess the components of driving that may be compromised by this progressive condition. Areas assessed should include: vision, visual spatial skills, attention, memory, processing speed, decision-making, judgment and motor function. Depending on the results of these assessments, an on-the-road assessment of actual driving abilities can determine how impairments impact driving performance.

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