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Should Someone With Dementia Drive?

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Should Someone With Dementia Drive?

By Carole Larkin

FINALLY, there are tests to help doctors determine whether a person with dementia can continue to drive.

Well, they are really screening tests to predict whether a person with dementia will fail a road driving test. I found an article about the screening tests in the September/October edition of the magazine Today’s Geriatric Medicine pages 13-15. (www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com). They are meant for a doctor or his trained assistant to administer in the office when a family member or another person expresses concern about the person with dementia’s driving ability. It appears to me that it will take about a half hour to administer, grade and interpret the outcome of the tests. If the person “fails” or in my opinion, has less than a 50% score, (meaning that they have less than a 50-50 chance of passing a real driving test), then that indicates that they should have a thorough driving test given by specialized occupational therapists. That 50% cut off is just my opinion, you might think that under a 70% (or other percentage) score means that they need further evaluation. That’s up to you.

Where do you find these specialized occupational therapists? Usually in fairly large cities with large hospitals (teaching hospitals or regular hospitals). You’d probably have to call the hospitals to see if they have one in their occupational therapy department. You probably would have to talk to the occupational therapy department itself; I doubt anyone else in the hospital would even know about the specialized occupational therapists.

With this specialized evaluation, if the person with dementia fails those tests, you have proof in writing that they can no longer drive. It’s very hard for the person with dementia to argue that they can still drive when you show them in writing the proof that they can’t. If it was me, I’d make a number of copies of the findings, in case the person gets mad and rips them up every time they see them. (I believe in being prepared for the worst.) You might also send a copy of the tests to your state’s driving licensing authority, the insurance company that insures their car/truck, and the local police, just to be sure everybody involved in taking away the keys knows that the person can no longer drive.

Do I believe that primary care doctors have time to administer these tests on a regular basis? Heck no! Nowadays office visits average 7-10 minutes. Maybe some doctors will appoint someone in their office to train to administer the tests, and have them do it. That is, if they even have extra staff available to do it, along with their regular jobs. When have you seen extra staff at your doctor’s office? Aha- that’s what I thought. Instead the doctor could set aside a day a week/month when there somebody at the office to administer the tests, like maybe on a Saturday? We can hope!

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I am attaching the links to the two tests used in this screening and how to score them, so you can print them out and take them to your doctor. The first test is the MMSE the most common screening test used by doctors to discover cognitive deficits. (I think there are far better tests for cognitive deficits than the MMSE. The MOCA is one of my favorites. But hey, this is not about me!) The researchers used this test in developing their tool (the Fit2Drive app) to help decide whether to refer the patient for more thorough testing, so I’m including its link here.

http://www.unc.edu/~vreddy/index_files/Medical%20Resources/Clinical%20Topics/Geriatrics/MMSE%20MANUAL.pdf

The second test is the Trail-Making Test Part B. There is a Trail-Making Test Part A that is used to get the person being tested a little practice in doing that type of test before actually attempting the real test, Part B. I’ve included the Link to both Part A and Part B and how to score them.

http://www.canadiangeriatrics.ca/default/index.cfm/resources/family-physician/driving-assessment-tools-trials-a-and-b/

http://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/akol/pdfs/uiowa_trailmaking.pdf

After the two tests are taken and scored, the person testing takes the total score, adding the Score on the MMSE and the Trails B time it took to complete it correctly and enters them into the slots for each on the calculator at the website, http://Fit2Drive.us or by downloading its Mobil app to your cellphone, (both Apple and Android are available) from that same website. The answer will indicate the probability that the person could pass the road part of the driving test given by the special occupational therapists.

 

Remember, these two tests and the Fit2Drive tool are made for doctors or their trained assistants to administer, not the general public. If you wish to administer the tests and use the tool yourself, you are doing so at your own risk. You would have to read the instructions to train yourself how to do it 100% correctly, and most importantly, when you grade it you must do so with absolute impartiality, no matter how much you want the person to fail.  After all, how embarrassed would you be if you say the person failed and they didn’t, and they insisted on taking the more complete tests given by the occupational therapists and they passed them? Yikes! I’m just warning you up front, because there is NO WAY that I’m taking the fall for what happens out of the testing when you do it. It’s truly on you.

Of course, these screening tests can always be repeated after time passes to see if the person’s abilities have deteriorated more.

Hopefully this will help get some dangerous drivers off the road, and lower your stress level about your loved one driving with dementia.

Carole Larkin can be reached via Email.

Additional Resources for those

Living and Dealing with Dementia

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Watch Team Members Below Explain

Why this initiative is important

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Important Announcement – Dementia Chats Webinars Changes Time

Important Announcement 

Dementia Chats Webinars Changes Time

Copy of DC_HQ_062714_solidyellow1Click Above For General Information

The 2nd and 4th Tuesday of Each Month NOW AT:

11am EST, 10am CST, 9am MST, 8am PST and 4pm London time.

Click Here To Directly Enter The Webinar

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For More Resources and Information on Dementia and Caregiving

Click Below 

alzsnap_serv_072413Learn About The Purple Angel Project Below

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Join Us For Dementia Chats Tuesday

Join Us For Dementia Chats Tuesday

DC_HQ_062714_solidyellow2 color photosDementia Chats™ was created with the intention to educate people living with dementia; their care partners both family and friends as well as professionals and advocates. Our Experts are those diagnosed with dementia.

Tuesday June 9th, 2015 – 3pm EST, 2pm CST, 1pm MST, 12pm PST and 8am London Time

Click Here To Enter

To Learn More About Dementia Chats or to Watch Past Webinars

Join an Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial today. No insurance is needed to participate.

Click Below

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Click Below

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SAGE Memory Test You Can Do Yourself

sage_test_memory_lossThe SAGE test

Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam

“What we found was that this SAGE, self-administered test correlated very well with the very detailed cognitive testing,” said Dr. Douglas Scharre of Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University.  Click here for the full article on CBS New York. This is an interesting article and you can download for different versions of the test for FREE!.  Click here to get the downloads.

Mod Alzheimer’s patients may qualify for these research studies

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Carolyn Rosenblatt Author of

“The Family Guide to Aging Parents”

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on Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio Tuesday

Click Above To Go to The Radio Show – Listen Live or Later

11am EST, 10am CST, 9am MST,8am PST and 4pm London

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Tuesday we will be lucky to have Carolyn Rosenblatt, author of “The Family Guide to Aging Parents: Answers to Your Legal, Financial and Healthcare Questions.”  She has over 45 years of experience in nursing and her legal practice.

Carolyn Rosenbllatt husband Mikol DavieDr. Davis is a clinical psychologist with over 40 years of experience in mental health.  He has helped hundreds of individuals, families and couples deal with relationship issues. He has a particular interest in elders and the issues of aging as it affects families.  He evaluates elders for capacity for decision-making and is skilled in assessing and diagnosing financial capacity in those with cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio loves raising everyone’s voice regarding Dementia and Caregiving, so feel free to join us live by calling in to talk with us or using the chat box to communicate with us. What questions do you have for our guest?

carolyn_rosenblatt_book_cover_Websites:

www.AgingParents.com or            Carolyn Rosenblatt logo AgingParentsCom HiContrast

www.AgingInvestor.com 

Phone: 415 459-0413

Join an Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial today.

10313_Banner-A_475x358No insurance is needed to participate.

Join the Purple Angel Project – Click Below

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Help For Struggling Caregivers

Help For Struggling Caregivers

Click_below042115 ASR Michelle ChaffeeAlzheimer’s Speaks Radio

Tuesday April 28th, 2015

11am EST, 10am CST, 9am MST, 8am PST and 4pm London Time

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio was created to have honest discussions and real needs and resources for those dealing with dementia.  Please feel free to call into the show (714) 364-4757)  or use the chat box to communicate with us during the live show.  If you can’t  make the live show we would still love to hear your thoughts about the topic.

Today we have patient advocate, Michelle Chaffee from Minneapolis, MN with us.  It was through Michelle’s own family medical crisis along with her professional background that she created Alska.  Michelle understood the needs of caregivers across the spectrum of care and saw the gaps in the care system, which lead to the creation of a remarkable tool that supports and empowers individuals and optimizes delivery of care.  Come join us and learn how this tool might be able to assist you.

For more information on dementia and caregiving

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A Huge Step In The Right Direction – Festival Foods In Wisconsin Becomes Dementia Friendly

A Huge Step In The Right Direction –

Festival Foods In Wisconsin Becomes Dementia Friendly

DF_grocery_store_festival_foodsclick_aboveFor more information and Dementia and Caregiving

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