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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it safe for someone with dementia to drive?

    My mother in law has symptoms of dementia. Is it still ok for her to drive?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Nicholas Bradfield

    Clinical Neuropsychologist, Psychologist

    Dr Bradfield is a Clinical Neuropsychologist working in private practice and in the public health system in Melbourne, Australia. He has clinical experience conducting neuropsychological … View Profile

    Dementia can affect a person's abilitiy to drive safely, but having dementia does not mean that someone cannot drive.  It depends on the severity and type of dementia.  If you are concerned about your mother in law driving, I would recommend raising the topic with her (if you felt that was appropriate) and contacting her GP with your concerns. 

  • 2

    Thanks

    Brad Williams

    Occupational Therapist (OT)

    Williams Occupational Therapy has occupational therapists trained in driver assessments and rehab specialising in getting clients back on road safely. WILLIAMS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY offer Adelaide … View Profile

    I completely agree with Dr Bradfield's comments. As an Occupational Therapist who conducts driver assessments for clients with medical conditions, such as dementia, it is my experience that two clients with the same cognitive scores (such as the Minimental State examination) can have significantly different outcomes on road. Research is currently very active trying and find a test that provides a cut off score to suggest when driving is no longer safe for a person with Dementia. The assessment with the highest validity at this stage(that I am aware of) is a tool called the DriveSafe DriveAware administered by driver trained OTs.

    I suggest, in addition to Dr Bradfield's recommendation of contacting the GP, that you look at the options of a practical assessment. Experience of the driver, reaction speeds, speed of processing, problem solving, topigraphic orientation, as well as memory can all impact on sound desision making and safe driver outcomes on road. An individual assessment, usually starting with the GP, is important for your mother-in-law and other people in this situation.

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