How Do Cognitive Changes Impact Your Senior’s Ability to Drive?

Elderly Care North Potomac, MD: Cognitive Changes and Driving
Elderly Care North Potomac, MD: Cognitive Changes and Driving

Cognitive changes can be a result of dementia or other illnesses. They can also be a result of a brain injury or a situation your senior’s doctor is still trying to diagnose for her. The bottom line is that no matter why your senior’s brain is functioning differently, that situation dramatically affects many areas of her life. One area that she might be upset about is her ability to keep driving. 

Remembering and Processing Data Is Much More Difficult 

Driving is one of those tasks that involves processing a lot of information all at once. It also involves remembering details, like where things are located and where your senior is headed. Combine that with all of the data she’s collecting as she drives, like how fast traffic is moving and what the various lights and signs mean, and your elderly family member’s brain may not be able to keep up. 

It’s Tougher for Her to Focus on What She’s Doing 

But it’s not just processing the data. Remaining focused on driving may be difficult for your elderly family member. You may notice this when you’re having a regular conversation with her and she brings up a seemingly unrelated topic. It’s one thing when you’re safely sitting in the living room, but that’s a lot scarier if your senior is driving. There’s a lot of multitasking with driving, too. People who are experiencing cognitive changes often aren’t able to keep up with everything that’s going on. Your senior may find that she’s overstimulated and that can lead to a meltdown. That’s definitely something you want to avoid if she’s behind the wheel. 

Coordination and Spatial Abilities Change 

Something else to be aware of is that your senior’s cognitive changes affect how her body works, too. She may not be as coordinated as she used to be, because her brain isn’t processing information that it gets from her body the same way that it used to. People who are driving rely a lot on spatial abilities to help them gauge where the car is, and that may be difficult if not impossible for your senior now. These changes can make driving exceptionally dangerous for her to be doing. 

It might be time to find an alternative for your senior beyond driving for herself. Bringing in elderly care providers gives her someone who can help her with a variety of tasks and ensure that she can go wherever she wants, too. 

If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elderly Care in North Potomac, MD please contact the caring staff at Just Divine Home Care Agency today at (301) 219-1585. 

Contact us today to learn more about our Maryland home care services.