Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences

Abstract

One of the most difficult decisions for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is when to stop driving. Because driving is a fundamental activity linked to socialization, independent functioning, and wellbeing, making the decision to stop driving is not easy. Cognitive decline in older adults can lead to getting lost while driving, difficulty detecting and avoiding hazards, as well as increased errors while driving due to compromised judgment and difficulty in making decisions. The purpose of the current literature review was to synthesize evidence regarding how individuals with early-stage AD, their families, and providers make determinations about driving safety, interventions to increase driving safety, and methods to assist cessation and coping for individuals with early-stage AD. The evidence shows that changes in driving ability start early and progress throughout the trajectory of AD. Some individuals with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage AD may be safe to drive for a period of time. Support groups aimed at helping with the transition have been shown to be helpful for individuals who stop driving. Research and practice must support interventions to help individuals maintain safety while driving, as well as cope with driving cessation.

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Original Citation: Davis, R. L., & Ohman, J. M. (2016). Driving in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease: An integrative review of the literature. Research in Gerontological Nursing. https://doi.org/10.3928/19404921-20160920-02

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