A person with dementia may not need to stop driving straight away. However, dementia is progressive and will affect their ability to drive, so they will need to stop driving at some point.
People may feel a loss of independence or identity when they can no longer drive. For someone in the early stages of dementia, making the decision to give up driving can be very challenging.
If you are worried about a person’s ability to drive, try talking to them or their doctor about your concerns.
You could contact your local police or Land Transport Licensing Authority. They might be able to contact the person to say that a medical and driving test has become necessary.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport agency also has some useful information on their
website around dementia and driving safely.
You can also contact your local Alzheimers organisation on 0800 004 001 to talk about any specific concerns or situations you’re facing.
Alternatives to driving
There’s a lot you could do to reduce a person’s need to drive:
- Offer to drive them to appointments, social gatherings, shops and services.
- Encourage them to use buses, trains or taxis when possible – and help the person with dementia to use them.
- Encourage walking – tracking and routefinding technology, such as GPS, can help.
- Encourage the use of home delivery services for food, medical prescriptions and ask about other services such as delivery of library books.
- Ask family and friends to help.
Helping to stay connected
When people stop driving they often stop making social trips – visiting friends, family, going to parties or doing hobbies. It’s important people with dementia stay connected so try to do all you can to help them continue these trips as much as possible.
Booklet: Supporting a person with dementia
A guide for family/whānau and friends
This booklet gives you information and tips on helping a person with dementia with their personal care, such as washing and dressing, nutrition, sleeping and travelling, as well as communication and ideas for meaningful activities and ways you can look after yourself – which is very important, too.