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June 3rd, 2013

High Accident Risks Involving Seniors with Dementia

If a senior has been diagnosed as suffering from an early stage of dementia, it is not essential that he immediately give up his driving skills, but Houston car accident lawyers highly recommend that he do so. The American Academy of Neurology in its new guidelines for persons with dementia released earlier this year, recommended that people who have been diagnosed with dementia, strongly consider giving up their driving privileges.

That is because dementia is a progressive condition, and the symptoms which may not seem so disruptive in the early stages of the disease, can progressively worsen. For instance, as the dementia progresses, the senior citizen may begin to suffer from memory loss. That may lead to the person losing his way when he is out driving, missing highway signs, forgetting what highway signs mean, and all kinds of other consequences that increase the risk of an accident.

For years now, doctors have relied on the Clinical Dementia Rating scale in order to identify drivers who may be deemed unsafe because of their dementia diagnosis. The test is meant to assess memory as well as problem-solving skills, which are critical to safe driving. The test also helps to identify whether a person has the ability to take care of himself or herself.

Caregivers of the person or family members can also be extremely helpful in identifying whether a person with dementia needs to give up his driving privileges altogether. Unfortunately, very often, family members and even caregivers try to protect the person, not wanting to get into the uncomfortable situation of having to force the senior to give up his car keys.

Some of the earliest warning signs that you can look out for if you have a senior in the family with dementia is increasing involvement in minor accident rates, high rate of traffic tickets being issued, and incidents of road rage.

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