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My spouse no longer wants me to drive, but I don't see any problems. What can I say when she starts nagging?

Driving is a complex task, utilizing vision, motor skills, and cognitive functioning. Parkinson's Disease (PD) makes the task more complicated due to its effects on all the above. Tremors, rigidity, difficulty maintaining a stable posture, and the ability to know where your body is in space are symptoms that can cause driving to become problematic. Decreased visuospatial skills may also affect your ability to determine where your car is positioned on the road. Although challenging, this is one of the most important decisions you and your family must make.

Independence and driving are synonymous in our society. Most of us learned to drive as teenagers, and we continue to value the freedom it provides. Giving up that freedom is difficult, but PD forces us to adapt to changes in many routine areas. Driving is especially critical since it is not done in isolation. Your inability to drive correctly due to PD affects you, your family, and everyone else on the road.

Families have to recognize when your driving is changing and be ready to challenge you with the facts. Care partners, have you noticed changes in your loved one's motor or cognitive skills? Have the police stopped them, have they received any tickets, scraped the car, or been involved in an accident? Do you feel as confident riding with them as before, even in familiar places? You may want to consider these warning signs and have a challenging conversation.

Maybe you haven't experienced any of the above mentioned situations, but do you feel as confident in your driving ability as you always have? Have you stopped driving at night or confined your trips to daytime and familiar areas? Do you feel comfortable with passengers such as young grandchildren? You must be aware of these things and mentally prepare to stop driving.

Your neurologist can refer you to an occupational therapist (OT) trained to evaluate your motor, visual, and cognitive skills and make recommendations as to your remaining ability. Many families consult a neutral party to help make this decision. The assessment is not covered by insurance but is much cheaper than a lawsuit or substantial medical bills.

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