Monday, April 12, 2010

The American Academy of Neurology is advising that mild dementia is no longer a reason by itself to demand the car keys!

The American Academy of Neurology is advising that mild dementia is no longer a reason by itself to tell someone (usually elderly) to stop driving. 76% of people tested with mild dementia could pass a driving simulator test. The story appeared on ABC World News Tonight, with the written story by Joseph Brownstein, link here.  The full title of the story is “New Guidelines Issued For Drivers With Dementia: Neurology Group Says Some With Alzheimer's Can Stay Behind The Wheel”.


A common sign of driving difficulties is inability to stay in a lane, which will often result in a police pullover, or make the driver more vulnerable to a sideswipe accident.

The AAN paper, “Evaluation and management in driving risk with dementia”, has link here.

Caregivers (especially “responsible party” relatives) may feel that they risk liability if they don’t take away the keys. The negligence laws in some states may support that concern. But this paper probably would countermand the concern. However, the instinct of a family caregiver (adult children) is often the most reliable indicator as to ability to drive safely. It would not appear that taking anti-dementia medication early during symptoms ought to disqualify someone from driving, since some of these medications, however expensive, seem quite effective.



Picture: unrelated, from DC Cherry Blosson season, April 2010.

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