Elderly Driving: New Guidelines Issued For Drivers With Dementia (VIDEO)

06/13/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

It's a difficult question: When is the right time to take away the car keys from an aging parent? Now the American Academy of Neurology has issued new guidelines that might help, ABC News reports.

The AAN report on Driving and Dementia claimed that a startling 76 percent of those with mild dementia are capable of passing driving tests. Given the importance of driving to living a full and independent life for seniors, the the organization does not believe a diagnosis of mild dementia is a justification to stop.

"Driving cessation is associated with increased depressive symptoms ... and actually can have an effect on their life expectancy," said Dr. Don Iverson, author of the Driving and Dementia guidelines.

However, some experts, such as Dr. Gary Kennedy of Montfiore Medical Center, disagree with the new guidelines. "The last thing we want is to wait until there's an accident, and then stop."

ABC News Senior Health and Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser said a good rule of thumb is what has been called the grandchild test: "If you have children, and you're afraid to have them drive in the car with grandpa or grandma, it's time for the grandparents to stop driving."


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