You Know it is Time To Stop Driving When

March 11, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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You’ve been thinking about it, but you are not sure if it’s really time to take the car keys from your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease.  Below is a list to help you make the decision, but in the meantime keep these thoughts in mind.

Alzheimer’s is not just “getting old” and losing memory.   So the, “to drive or not to drive” issues are more complicated than driving too slowly, or getting a little turned around in terms of directions. 

Those with Alzheimer’s lose some visuospatial ability.  In English that means that they have difficulty perceiving and understanding the space between objects in their field of vision.  So, the car that is just ahead of them may appear to be way down the road.  And the man jogging across the the street two blocks ahead, may seem as if he is running out in front of the car.

Another issue is judgment and the ability to prioritize and respond to events in an appropriate manner.  So, that Uncle Bill may carefully give way to an ambulance with no lights or sirens, but may not respond at all to the stopped car in front of him.

So,  here goes, “You know its time to stop driving when…….”

10.   Dad, usually a careful and safe driver, has received several tickets or warnings in a short and recent period of time.

9.     You make lame excuses like, my puppy needs to practice her driving skills or the goldfish has swimming lessons, to keep your loved one from driving even short distances.

8.    There are unexplained scratches and dents on the car, garage doors, and mailbox.  And “vandals” have been showing up at night driving into the flower bed near the street or driveway.

7.     Uncle Bill perfectly straddles the yellow line in the middle  of the road.

6.     There is a hole or indentation on the floor where you or other passengers continually use the passenger side brakes.

5.     Grandma stops completely and waits a long time in order to merge with traffic or get onto a highway entrance/exit ramp.

4.     When you ride with Aunt Gertrude, you don’t see very much because your hands are covering your eyes.

3.    Mom sails through the red light and swears at the person who (had the green light) because he blew the horn.

2.     Dad drives 60 mph hour through the park and 25 mph on the highway.

1.     And the number one reason you KNOW its time to take the keys is if you have laughed AND related to one or more of the items in this list.

Hopefully, you smiled as you read the list.  It’s important to keep a sense of humor about these difficult issues.  However, safety is no laughing matter.  So, if you can relate to the above, then its time to get serious about taking those keys.

So, check out the joke below and smile.

 A guy is driving home from a round of golf.  His wife calls him and she is frantic.  “Honey, be very careful, I just heard the news and there is a crazy guy driving down the wrong side of the freeway.”  He replies.  “Honey, it’s much worse than that, there are HUNDREDS of people driving on the wrong side of the freeway.”

So, are you thinking of taking the keys? Have you already taken them? Do you have a funny or not so funny driving experience?  Let’s talk about it!

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