Driving after diagnosis with dementia seems dangerous but it happens frequently. Our recent community education event, Driving and Dementia, presented by Dr. Christina Stemmler and Charles Backs, Esq., Elder Law Attorney, talked about people driving when diagnosed with dementia during this casual but informative presentation.
Dr. Stemler explained the various testing that she performs to determine if a person has dementia. She said that when she knows that someone is still driving and has dementia, she recommends that they go to Indiana Physical Therapy to take a driving test. If they pass this test, they can still drive. If the families or the person with dementia refuse to go and take this test, she can and said she has sent over information to the BMV regarding that person, and then the BMV can force a driving test or suspend the persons’ license if they refuse to take the test.
The legal risks of someone driving after a dementia diagnosis are very significant according to Mr. Backs. After a dementia diagnosis, if a person with dementia gets in an accident and injures or kills someone they can be sued. He said it is very rare that a Power of Attorney gets sued in these circumstances, but the person with dementia can most definitely get sued. It is critical, according to Mr. Backs, to have the Power of Attorney paperwork completed before they are diagnosed with dementia. Waiting until they have dementia means that you have to get guardianship to prevent a person from driving. A guardianship proceeding can be very pricey and time consuming. Also, during this time, your loved one with dementia does not have the benefit of your thoughtfulness on their behalf but likely continues to have legal responsibility for their actions.
This was a very popular well attended event. To RSVP for our future events, please visit us at
NorthWoodsMemoryCare.com or call us at 260-420-1866.