Driving and dementia
Homecare Together have put together some tips for people who drive and have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Three steps you MUST take following a diagnosis of dementia. Firstly always follow the advice of your GP.
Step 1: You must inform your insurance company of any major changes in health status and this includes dementia. If you do not do this your policy may be invalid. Your insurance company should tell you what you need to do to keep your cover in place they should NOT automatically remove your cover or increase your costs especially if your GP and your on-road driving assessment say you are safe to continue.
Step 2: Inform your driving licence service (NDLS). You need to do this in person and they recommend you make an appointment if possible. You will need to show your current driving licence your PPS number and a completed driving application form (d401) and a completed Driving Licence Medical Report Form (D501). Your GP will complete this form You can download this from the RSA website too. Your appointment with the NDLS should be free. If your medical report says you are safe to drive they will issue a new licence.
Step 3: Complete your on the road driving assessment. Your GP or insurance company most likely will ask you to have this assessment. It is not the same as a full driving test. An assessor will usually drive around familiar areas in your local area. The assessor will focus on your ability to drive safely. Following the assessment the assessor will write a report with one of three outcomes. a: you can continue to drive b: You can continue but with restrictions so this may be that you should not drive at night or alone it may also recommend a retest say in 6 months time. c: You need to stop driving immediately.
This report will usually be sent to your GP and your insurers. Your GP or Public Health Nurse will have a list of qualified assessors experienced with working with clients with dementia. Each on the road assessment has a cost, for which currently, there is no grant available.
So in addition to passing your assessment, you should also follow some tips to keep you and others safe.
DO: Drive familiar routes, keep journeys short, allow plenty of time, travel with someone else.
DON’T: Drive if you feel tired or stressed or upset, drive at busy times such as rush hour, drive in bad weather, drive at night.
At some point you will need to stop driving. This is because over time dementia will affect your ability to drive safely. Your safety and the safety of others is the most important thing. Giving up driving is a difficult step for many people as we link driving with independence and freedom. There are services like Homecare Together offer, which can supply friendly care staff who can drive you. You can also use local taxi services, voluntary services or rural transport schemes. Also family and friends may be happy to help.
Remember when you give up driving, you can reduce your costs and use the money to fund other ways of getting out and about.
Useful contacts : The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland Helpline Freephone:1800 341 341
The National Driving Licence Service: www.ndls.ie
The Road Safety Authority: www.rsa.ie.
The Rural Transport Network: www.ruraltransportnetwork.ie or phone 066 714 7002
If in any doubt about any of the advice given or your health please contact your health care professional.
Source of additional information: The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland Factsheet 1002
Homecare Together have taken care to ensure the accuracy of this information which may be subject to change. Homecare Together is not liable for any inaccuracies, errors, omissions.