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How Can Dementia Affect Your Loved One’s Driving Abilities?

Senior Care Estero FL

Senior Care Estero FLAs your senior loved one’s family caregiver, you have a lot of difficult decisions to face. One such difficult decision can involve when your loved one should no longer be driving, particularly if she’s dealing with something as complicated as dementia. Understanding how dementia can affect your loved one’s ability to drive can help you to spot problems quickly.

She May Become Less Coordinated

As your senior loved one’s dementia progresses, she may start to have difficulty walking or keeping herself coordinated in general. This makes driving difficult as well, because your loved one has to work foot pedals in coordination with the steering wheel and keeping an eye on her surroundings.

Her Spatial Abilities Can Suffer

Driving is all about knowing where your car is and how far away objects are. As dementia progresses, your loved one’s brain is less able to accurately process spatial information. This can lead to more frequent “accidents” where your loved one misjudges where the car is in relation to other items.

She May Not Be Able to Multitask

In order to successfully maneuver her car, your loved one has to multitask quite a bit. Unfortunately, dementia robs your loved one’s brain of the ability to process information from multiple sources all at once. She may be able to focus on only one aspect at a time, which is exceedingly dangerous in a moving vehicle.

She May Be Less Alert in General

Dementia can rob your loved one of her ability to focus on the situation at hand. This is disturbing enough while in a conversation or while helping her understand a movie, for example, but it’s disastrous if she’s behind the wheel. Tuning out for even a moment can create a huge problem.

She May Have Difficulty Processing Information

If your loved one isn’t able to process simple information any longer, then driving isn’t going to be helpful at all. When driving, your loved one needs to interpret signs, understand signals from other drivers, and anticipate what could happen next. If her cognitive skills aren’t working properly, she’s not going to be able to process the inputs that her brain is getting.

Work closely with your loved one’s doctor to help determine when she should step out of the driver’s seat.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Estero FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.

Ted Wolfendale

Administrator at Dial-a-Nurse
Mr. Wolfendale is a graduate of Stetson University, and Stetson University School of Law, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988. He is admitted to practice in the Middle district of Florida, is an active member of the Florida Health Law section, and Lee County Bar Association.

In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.