Spouse Driving With Dementia
How to Stop a Spouse From Driving With Dementia
If the person with Alzheimer's is unwilling to stop driving when it is apparent to others that it is necessary, then someone needs to step in and make the decision for him. It is generally more emotionally difficult for men to stop driving than for women. You can't talk the person out of his reactions, which are totally understandable from his perspective, even though they may be painful for you to tolerate. You need to listen with empathy and an open heart to the effect of this loss on this person.
You may feel guilty for having to take the steps necessary to assure that the person with dementia stops driving, but it may be a matter of life and death and the decision should not be avoided.
It may be easier for a respected professional, such as the doctor, or family friend to inform the person of the end of his driving career. This may feel more comfortable to the family who will be the receivers of the feelings of anger, loss, and even betrayal from the person with dementia. But if necessary you may have to hide the keys, disable or even sell the car to prevent the person from driving.
Some caregivers continue to let a person with dementia drive because they have never learned how and don't want to feel trapped at home. If there are no good alternatives you may have to learn to drive, which may feel frightening to you, especially if you have been reluctant to do so for many years. On the other hand, it may be empowering to acquire a new skill. It will be safer than relying on the person with dementia to drive you. You may not have been considering relocation, but if there are no reliable and convenient means of transportation available to you, you may need to take this step.