By starting the driving cessation discussion early, even prior to diagnosis you will have gone a long way in fostering enhanced quality of life after driving cessation. For instance, mobilizing family support and determining alternative transportation strategies and resources may be well under way. Accordingly, by the time of cessation, some of the following strategies may already be happening. Unfortunately, in many cases the first time you see a person they may be at a moderate or severe level of cognitive and functional impairment and need to stop driving immediately. Regardless, it is important to provide support after driving cessation.
By framing driving ability as a health issue and incorporating discussions about driving into routine health maintenance, you may have already conveyed the importance of developing a plan that explores alternative transportation options for the person with dementia. This provides support for the practical impact of cessation by helping to ensure that the person with dementia is still able to get around and is as independent as possible. Even if you haven't been able to do this yet, work with the person with dementia—or recommend that their family/friend carers or other healthcare providers work with them—to develop an alternative transportation plan. It’s important to involve the person with dementia so that they feel respected and have a sense of control.
Check in periodically regarding the person with dementia’s mental health and quality of life. To continue to validate and address the emotional impact, have supportive discussions with the person with dementia and their family/friend carers. Consider referrals to the Alzheimer Society where they can access support groups as well as referrals to a social worker or psychologist who can provide counselling.
Provide ongoing monitoring, counseling, and medication (as required) for the range of negative health outcomes the person with dementia may experience including greater cognitive decline and depression, as well as poorer general health and functional status. You may need to refer to other healthcare professionals to help with this - you don't need to do this alone. People with dementia also have a higher risk of long-term-care placement and mortality.
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