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Driving and Dementia Debbie Ricker, OTR/L Executive Director The Adaptive Driving Center The Memory Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Driving and Dementia Debbie Ricker, OTR/L Executive Director The Adaptive Driving Center The Memory Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Driving and Dementia Debbie Ricker, OTR/L Executive Director The Adaptive Driving Center The Memory Center

2 Skills Needed for Safe Driving Visual acuity Visual perceptual skills Problem solving Decision making Quick reaction time Ability to process information quickly Ability to multi-task Memory

3 Changes with Normal Aging Often have arthritis, so movements in legs and arms may be slow, range-of-motion may be limited Peripheral vision becomes limited Loss of high frequency sounds Difficulty dividing attention Brain processes information more slowly Inability to make quick maneuvers

4 Compensatory Strategies Older adults may be able to learn compensatory strategies: Use a GPS if he/she gets lost easily Limit driving to day time Drive surface streets only Restrict driving on rainy/snowy days Stay off the road during rush hour traffic

5 Reasons Older Adults May Stop Driving Difficulty paying for car upkeep, gas, insurance May become nervous or angry when driving Visual difficulties Slower reaction time Lack the confidence to drive Medical conditions or medications that interfere with driving Pattern of near misses

6 Dementia Causes… Impaired abstract reasoning Difficulty with multi-tasking Lack of accurate self assessment Slower reaction time Slower processing of information Easily confused with busy traffic, sudden movements of other cars, construction zones Confusion about which is the gas pedal and which is the brake

7 Medical Professionals May Observe Patients Who … Have difficulty filling out forms Do not take medications correctly Have visual impairments Have problems with coordination or ambulation Forget appointments

8 Time to Stop Driving? Gets honked at a lot Stops at green lights Has difficulty staying in the correct lane position Complains of cars coming out of nowhere Gets lost, even when driving to familiar places Is easily distracted (by conversation, turning on radio or heater or air conditioner) Unexplainable scratches or dents on car

9 If concerned about driving of an individual… Refer to an Occupational Therapy Driving Program (information about older adult drivers, links to other web sites)

10 More Information National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Alzheimers Association AARP American Medical Association Guide book for Physicians

11 Debbie Ricker, OTR/L


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