Welcome to Driving with Dementia


I am a family/friend caring for a person with dementia who is still driving. I am interested in:


Managing when the person with dementia won't stop driving

There are a number of things you can do if the person with dementia refuses to stop driving or if they keep forgetting that they are unfit to drive.

Try to be patient, but firm. Also, don't blame yourself or the person with dementia for the difficult transition. Dementia can impair insight and judgement so the person with dementia may not fully understand that their driving is unsafe. The dementia may also cause mood or personality changes that lead to reactions that seem extreme like very strong anger or despair. To help manage the situation when the person with dementia won't stop driving try these ideas:

  • Ask authority figures within the person with dementia’s family, or professionals like a lawyer, to reinforce the message to your loved one that they must not drive anymore.
  • Appeal to the person with dementia’s sense of responsibility by emphasizing that they need to consider the safety of other people on the road.
  • Consider gifting the car to a relative, possibly in return for the recipient's providing a certain number of drives a month for the person with dementia.
  • Consider, as a final recourse if nothing else is working, taking away the car keys, selling or disabling the car, or using a type of lock that makes it impossible to use the steering wheel.
  • Call the police if you feel the person with dementia or others on the road are in immediate danger.
  • Ask the person with dementia's doctor for a letter like this (click here) outlining why the person with dementia can no longer drive. Use this letter to reinforce to the person with dementia that they are legally no longer allowed to drive. It was produced by the Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario.
  • Learn about licensing and reporting responsibilities (click here).  

See this leading educator in dementia, Teepa Snow, recommend strategies for talking to people with dementia about giving up driving in the first two vidoes.

Here she recommends how to talk to a person with dementia who is reluctant to stop driving.  

Source: Teepa Snow 


Here she recommends what not to say to a person with dementia who is reluctant to stop driving.

Source: Teepa Snow  


Learn some ideas about what to do when a person with dementia is no longer safe to drive. 

Source: www.careblazers.com 


See how a family/friend carer handles a person with dementia’s emotional reaction when the conversation about giving up driving does not go well.

Source: Alzheimer's Association