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How a Test Can Help Seniors with Dementia Decide When to Stop Driving

Driving safely requires a complex set of skills that people with dementia may no longer possess, and research suggests that elderly drivers who are showing signs of dementia may be at a greater risk of an accident. This does not mean that all people with this diagnosis can no longer drive, but monitoring the progression of the disease especially as it relates to driving skills is a necessity for dementia caregivers in Santa Clarita.

Dementia leads to visual-spatial disorientation, decreased cognitive functions, and memory loss, which can impair a senior’s ability to drive safely. Outward behavioral signs can be an indicator of a senior’s inability to drive, but using the Clinical Dementia Rating scale is a reliable way to determine whether or not it’s time for a senior to give up the keys.

Clinical Dementia Rating

Clinical Dementia Rating, or CDR, is a numeric scale that helps identify the severity of dementia and accurately assess the stage of dementia someone is in. This evaluation helps determine a senior’s ability to drive based on a score ranging from 0 for no symptoms, 0.5 for mild dementia, 2 for moderate, and 3 for severe.

The Test

The test is given by a clinician who is specifically trained to administer, score, and interpret the results. The procedure is a bit time consuming for both clinics and patients but is worth the effort as a way to determine the current stage of dementia and how it may affect the driving abilities of the senior in question.

Seniors Who Drive

Seniors want to retain their independence by driving for as long as possible, and determining just how long a senior can drive safely is often a cause of conflict between seniors and their loved ones. The Clinical Dementia Rating scale has become the standard for many professionals in the senior care field and offers a neutral third-party opinion on the subject. Combining self-evaluations with the CDR has proven to be an effective way for Santa Clarita elder care professionals to determine if a senior is safe to continuing driving after a dementia diagnosis.

If your senior loved one is no longer able to drive safely, consider reaching out to Home Care Assistance to find out about our hourly and live-in home care for seniors in Santa Clarita. Our experienced caregivers can provide transportation for appointments, errands, and events, help with cooking and cleaning, and offer companionship and emotional support. Call us today at 661.259.9914 to request a complimentary in-home consultation.