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When Should Someone with Alzheimer’s Give Up Driving?

Alzheimer’s Care in Houston TX

Don had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was 68 years old. He couldn’t admit it was a complete surprise to him when his doctor finally diagnosed that he was dealing with this form of dementia. He had his suspicions, at least in recent months.Alzheimer’s-Care-in-Houston-TX

When he first began dealing with memory loss, he thought it was due to stress or some other health issue. He passed it off as him getting older. After all, most people forget where they put their car keys, what they did with certain paperwork, or what they were going to the store for in the first place. That was no major concern.

When he began struggling to keep track of appointments, was using the wrong word in conversations, and knowing full well it wasn’t the right word but being unable to capture the correct one, he knew something was wrong. That’s when he went to his doctor.

While at his doctor’s office, Don was asked directly if he was still driving. He said, “Yes, of course I am. I may have memory issues, doc, but I’m not in invalid.”

The doctor offered a simple smile and paused. He then looked at Don with a serious expression on his face. He said, “That’s not the point. I know you’re fully capable of driving and staying safe, for now. But, Alzheimer’s disease will affect you more and more severely in the coming months and years. That could put you and anyone else on the road at serious risk.”

Don asked his doctor what he was exactly trying to tell him. His doctor responded by saying, “I’m asking you to consider giving up your driver’s license.”

At first Don was extremely angry with his doctor for even suggesting that. He didn’t mention that little fact to anyone in his family, including his wife. He brooded about it for weeks, but one afternoon while he was driving, he arrived at the post office and couldn’t remember why he was there in the first place. He looked through notes, his phone calendar, and there was no indication he had to get anything at the post office.

He had been going with the intention to get to an appointment with his doctor. That’s when he realized he could very well be putting himself and others at risk. Don gave up his ability and right to drive that afternoon.

Every person is different and every situation is different, but when somebody has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, it can and will impact and impair their ability to safely operate a vehicle. It’s a good idea to have an honest and open conversation with the senior about this after they’ve had time to absorb the diagnosis.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Alzheimer’s Care in Houston, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas.

 

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Sid Gerber

Sid Gerber is a founding partner of S. Gerber & Associates, a firm representing over 22 years of experience specializing in a broad range of long term care products and services including but not limited to care assessment, planning and management, care co-ordination, in-home caregiving services, quality assurance monitoring, and the securing of financial independence and asset protection utilizing insurance products from major carriers to pay for long-term care. Mr. Gerber helps family members make difficult long-term care decisions and provides them with the necessary education and resources to plan and manage their long-term health care and financial needs.

In 1989 after selling his family owned food service business, Mr. Gerber pursued his compassion for the elderly by completing his geriatric education and training requirements to be a licensed nursing home administrator (LNFA) from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.Previously he received his undergraduate business degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters in business administration (MBA) from the University of Houston.In 2003, Mr. Gerber earned his Certification to be a Senior Advisor (CSA).

During his eight-year tenure as an administrator, Mr. Gerber was responsible for managing and coordinating caregivers and long-term care professionals in the ultimate delivery of quality care and providing a quality of life for countless residents in the three skilled nursing facilities that he managed.

He has also spoken with numerous groups of adult children and their parents on subjects such as long-term care housing options available today, tips on how to select a long-term care provider, assessing when it’s time to consider long-term care, the caregiver’s role reversal when caring for an aging parent, how to legally make your long-term health care wishes known to other family members and health care providers, and how to finance long-term care.

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