Alzheimer's Caregiving

Frequently Asked Questions

17. What should you do when the person with Alzheimer’s is no longer competent to drive?

Some people with memory problems decide on their own not to drive. Others don't want to stop driving and may deny that they have a problem. If you are a caregiver, you need to explain why it’s important to stop driving. Do this in a caring way. Understand how unhappy the person may be to admit that he or she has reached this new stage.

However, safety must be the first priority, and there are a variety of options are available to stop someone from driving. The caregiver can

  • ask the doctor to tell the person to stop driving. The doctor can write “Do not drive” on a prescription pad.
  • ask family or friends to drive the person
  • obtain an evaluation from the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • hide the car keys
  • hide or even disable the car
  • use a combination of these approaches.

If the person with Alzheimer’s disease won’t stop driving, ask your state Department of Motor Vehicles about a medical review. The person may be asked to retake a driving test. In some cases, the person’s license could be taken away.

(Watch the video to see how to respond when a person with Alzheimer's is no longer competent to drive. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

Let the person know that there will still be ways to get around. Find out about services that help people with disabilities get around their community. These services may include free or low-cost buses, taxi service, and carpools.

To find out about transportation services in your area, contact

  • the Eldercare Locator at www.eldercare.gov or call 800-677-1116
  • your local Area Agency on Aging
  • the Community Transportation Association at 1-800-527-8279
  • your state department of transportation
  • 2-1-1, an information and referral service for human services.

For more transportation options, read "Other Ways To Get Around."