FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | December 12, 2013
ALZHEIMER’S FOUNDATION OF AMERICA RELEASES
NEW YORK (December 12, 2013)—“Taking away the keys” often is one of the most difficult decisions family and professional caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses face as symptoms progress to the point that drivers with the brain disorder pose a potential danger on the road—to themselves and others. To help address this practical and emotionally-charged issue, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) today announced the release of its new educational DVD, “Your Time to Care: A Roadmap to Alzheimer’s Disease & Driving.”
The DVD is a step-by-step guide designed to provide a better understanding of dementia as it relates to driving, as well as answer a host of questions: What are some warning signs that it is time to take action? What practical strategies can families use to take away the keys? What are municipalities doing to protect the public?
“We are a very car-centered society, so one of the things people fear the most is having their driving privileges taken away,” said David Smuckler, M.D., medical director at Orlando Health’s Center for Aging, Orlando, Fla., and one of the experts featured in the program. “It’s difficult telling someone that they have to give up driving. You know they’ve driven for 50 years. They may have a spotless record but now, you know that they shouldn’t be driving.”
According to Smuckler, family members who want a person with dementia to stop driving are often uncomfortable broaching the subject with a loved one, so they frequently enlist a healthcare professional to tell the person that he or she is no longer fit to drive.
“A Roadmap to Alzheimer’s Disease & Driving” features a variety of healthcare and transportation experts as well as family members who faced this situation in their own lives.
The release of the DVD coincides with a rising incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, which currently affects more than 5 million Americans and is expected to triple by mid-century. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and lack of judgment.
As Fran Carlin Rogers, a consultant focusing on senior transportation issues, explains in the DVD, “I may be driving a path that I’ve driven between home and work and I’ve driven that same way for 10, 15 years and a day comes when I just don’t remember which way to turn …. And so I may be in traffic and simply stop my car because I don’t know whether I need to go left, right or straight ahead. It just doesn’t look familiar today.”
The DVD, which was funded in part with a grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, is the latest in AFA’s “Your Time to Care” educational DVDs for caregivers. Other topics in the series are wandering, medication management, and falls prevention. Each DVD sells for $34.95.
The DVDs, as well as other educational materials, are available on AFA’s e-store at www.alzfdn.org or by calling 866-232-8484.
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About the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA):
Alzheimer's Foundation of America 866.232.8484