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Driving | Doctor's Diary

Having to tell someone they can't drive can be a very trying part of the job. As a specialist , I do it very often, because my relationship with the patient is not as familiar, and will not be as ongoing, as the relations between a patient and their family doctor . So I do it to help preserve that relationship. Many people react more strongly to being told that they cannot drive than being told they have dementia. They see it as acomplete threat to their independence. Sometimes it is, and if so, it might mean that they have to move - for example, move from rural home into town, with all that entails. Often, however, it is not as bad as they feared. When they consider the cost of maintaining a car that gets little used - the resale value of the car, plus insurance, gas and maintenance, this often makes taxis much less expensive. Many people are able to establish a routine with a given taxi driver, and for the regularity of that schedule - and a decent tip - it often works out to their advantage. We have known some taxi drivers who get to know our patients so well that they can alert family members to changes in the condition.

There are many ways to carry out driving assessments. How this is done, and whether the results must be reported to licensing authorities varies between jurisdictions. An excellent, research-based assessment is carried out through the company DriveABLE.

See Also:
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Unsafe Actions
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Independence
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Decision Making
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Attention/Concentration (lack of)
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Last updated December 4, 2018
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