Critter Corner: New Virginia GrandDriver Resource Available Just in Time for the Holidays

Hayek is working from home 🙂

Dear Hayek,

My dad is in the early stages of dementia and I’m concerned about him driving. He’s gotten lost several times because he forgets where he is going. Is there a resource that can help me talk to him and offer suggestions for alternatives to him driving places, especially since he hopes to visit me during the holidays?

Thanks for your help!

Saif Driva

Dear Saif,

A resource just came out that can help you, your father, and others in similar situations when it comes to driving safely. Virginia GrandDriver was designed to help families navigate age-related changes to keep everyone safe on the road. Their toolkits and resources equip older drivers with information that will help them safely stay on the road for as long as possible, and provide alternatives for when it’s no longer safe to drive.

Driving Helps Keeps Seniors Independent But Safety is Most Important

15% of Virginians are age 60 or older. While most senior drivers are good drivers, there are physical changes that come with aging. These changes can affect our ability to drive safely.

For most of us, driving represents the ability to stay connected to friends and family and contribute to a community. When we can drive, we determine our own schedule. That’s why Virginia created GrandDriver to help seniors stay safe and independent at any age. GrandDriver offers resources for older drivers, caregivers, and professionals, such as articles, quizzes, booklets, and DMV offerings for seniors.

Tips for Driving with Dementia

Within GrandDriver is a great resource: When to Yield – Questions and Answers About Dementia and Driving, that offers tips that may be helpful for you and your father. According to the guide, “(p)eoplein the early stages of the disease are often able to continue driving safely, particularly on short trips in familiar places. However, even in cases of mild dementia, it is wise to have another rider along to offer monitoring and guidance if needed. As the disease takes a greater toll on the driver’s motor skills and mental judgments, time behind the wheel should be severely curtailed, carefully supervised, and eventually stopped. The sad fact is that everyone with dementia will eventually have to stop driving.” The guide discusses how one of the first signs drivers might notice in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is that they find themselves temporarily lost, even in familiar neighborhoods, similar to what you are noticing with your dad. But while this can be very worrying, there are other real dangers of driving while suffering from dementia. Learn more here.

Hope the guide provides some helpful tips and resources for your family and that you and your family have a very safe and happy holiday!

Hayek

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