Driving And Dementia

For a lot of people, driving represents freedom, independence and mobility.

Deciding when a person living with dementia should discontinue driving can be difficult. There are many considerations to take into account, including the type of diagnosis, the rate of progression of the disease, the stage of the disease and other circumstances related to the individual’s condition.

People diagnosed with dementia may be in the early stages — at a point when they are still capable of driving.
  • It is important to monitor any changes in driving ability.  If a person begins to get lost or make unsafe decisions while driving, it may be wise to consider alternatives.
It is also important to consider the following:
  • Some people living with dementia may not recognize or remember making unsafe decisions while driving.
  • Some people living with dementia may have insight into their driving challenges and feel comfortable giving up their license.

If you or your family member are living with dementia and have concerns about driving issues, please consult your family physician or your dementia care specialist.

Do you have any questions about how to bring up this topic? We are happy to help you out. Reach out to us today.

Other points of contact might include:

A private organization created as a spin-off of the University of Calgary and was established to fill the growing need for fair, evidence-based assessments of medically at-risk drivers with generalized cognitive impairment. The company offers assessment tools for evaluating cognitively at-risk drivers.
Call: (403) 252-2243                  
Visit their website: www.driveable.com
The Medically At-Risk Driving Centre - University of Alberta
Offers evidence-based solutions to identify and assess medically at-risk drivers, and to provide advancements in support for those who can no longer drive.

Other transportation options

Alternative transportation options are available in the local community. Some of these options include: 

Some families have found an additional source of support in family members, friends and neighbours.

License renewals or withdrawals

A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t automatically mean that a person isn’t capable of driving or should stop driving. If there is a concern, the person's physician can determine whether or not they should continue driving, and can request that a test be conducted before the license is renewed. Alternatively, anyone can contact the Driver Control Board to request that a person take a driving test:
Call Toll-free: 310-0000 or direct: (780) 427-8230
Fax: 780.422.6612
You will need to provide the person’s name, date of birth and address including postal code, as well as a detailed explanation of why the license should be withdrawn. When the application is processed, the person will receive a notice in the mail that requires them to have a medical examination and complete a road test in order to retain their license.

Alternatively, mail the information to:
Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch
Main Floor, Twin Atria Building
4999 – 98 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2X3
A person can obtain an ID card from the registry if the license is withdrawn.