Friday, June 14, 2024
Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeSide EffectsCan People With Parkinson's Drive

Can People With Parkinson’s Drive

Is It Ok To Limit Driving Instead Of Stopping Completely That Is Only Drive Locally Or During The Day

Can I drive a vehicle if I have Parkinson’s Disease?

What we find is that as we age, most people normally begin to restrict their driving. For example, older drivers often prefer to not drive at night, drive in familiar areas only, and limit highway and rush-hour driving. Drivers usually are more comfortable driving in familiar areas that are close to home and driving during the daytime. The more frequently we drive places, the more familiar we are with the streets, traffic patterns, and routes, making it easier for us to navigate. But even when driving locally, the unexpected situation can still occur . Therefore, restricting driving to a persons local area is not always sufficient. It really depends on both the type and level of severity of impairment that the person with PD is experiencing. Restricting driving is most useful when the type and severity of impairment will support the drivers ability to follow through safely with the restriction. Advice from a physician and/or occupational therapist who works with driving can be beneficial in guiding such a decision.

An additional concern arises when drivers who need to restrict their driving fail to do so. Usually those who fail to restrict when necessary have cognitive impairments which limit their insight into the need for restrictions.

How Do I Know If I Can Drive Safely

  • Ask a trusted friend or family member for honest input about your driving skills.

*Please note that not all content is available in both languages. If you are interested in receiving Spanish communications, we recommend selecting both” to stay best informed on the Foundation’s work and the latest in PD news.

Seniors And Driving: A Guide

Comprehensive webpage covering causes of driving difficulties with age, warning signs of an unsafe elderly driver, professional assessments of driving safety, how the DMV can help ensure an older adult drives safely, how to have ‘the talk’ about giving up the keys, ways tohelp a senior transition from driving, transportation options for seniors who no longer drive, and top ridesharing options for seniors.

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Driving When You Have Parkinson’s Disease

  • For most people, driving represents freedom, control and competence. Driving enables most people to get to the places they want or need to go. For many people, driving is important economically some drive as part of their job or to get to and from work.
  • Driving is a complex skill. Our ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional and mental condition. The goal of this brochure is to help you and your health care professional talk about how Parkinsons may affect your ability to drive safely.

How can Parkinsons disease affect my driving?

  • Parkinsons disease can cause your arms, hands, or legs to shake even when you are relaxed. It also can make it harder for you to keep your balance, or start to move when you have been still. If you have Parkinsons and you try to drive, you may not be able to:
  • react quickly to a road hazard
  • turn the steering wheel or
  • use the gas pedal or push down the brake.

Can I still drive with Parkinsons?

  • Most likely, Yes, in the early stages of the disease, and if you take medicines that control your symptoms.

What can I do when Parkinsons disease affects my driving?

What if I have to cut back or give up driving?

Disability Ratings For Parkinsons Disease

New Insights on Parkinsons Disease Revealed

Once you are awarded service connection for Parkinsons, the fight may not be over. This is mostly because of the rating system the VA uses for Parkinsons. The minimum rating you can be awarded by the VA for Parkinsons disease is 30 percent, but if you fail to appeal that rating, you are potentially leaving thousands of dollars of benefits on the table.

The 30 percent rating is given to veterans who have the diagnosis of Parkinsons, and is basically acknowledging that they have the condition. What many veterans do not realize is that once you are service connected for Parkinsons Disease, you are entitled to service connection for all the other problems that the condition causes: talking, swallowing, walking, balance problems, using your hands, memory, concentration, depression, and many more. If you have Parkinsons, you are entitled to a separate rating for any condition that it causes. As you may guess, this can be a long list, especially as the disease progresses.

Also Check: Is Parkinson’s Inherited

Who Determines Fitness To Drive In Parkinsons Disease Patients

Fitness to drive protocols vary greatly from country to country. While no uniform international standard exists, medical standards for driver licensing and physicians guidelines for assessment of fitness to drive have been established in some countries, including the United States , Canada , United Kingdom , and Australia . Roles and responsibilities of drivers, health professionals, and driver licensing authorities have been proposed. While drivers have a responsibility to self-assess driving abilities and report any permanent injury or illness that may affect their ability to drive safely, health professionals have an ethical and legal duty to maintain patient confidentiality and must have legal justification for breaching that trust in cases where an unfit driver may pose a threat to public safety. Physicians that evaluate for fitness to drive and that identify a condition that may impair driving performance are obligated to report that finding to drivers licensing authorities . The driver licensing authority is then tasked with the responsibility of deciding whether to license a driver or not, based upon the drivers health report, driving performance record, and violation history.

If A Person Does Have To Stop Driving Because Of Their Pd What Alternative Means Of Transportation Are Available

We are finding that the most common way people get around after they stop driving is with the help of family and friends. However, this is not the only option. Public transportation is a viable option for many. However, using public transportation requires some of the same skills one needs for driving, such as planning the route, adhering to a schedule, and navigating. Therefore, while it can be quite useful, using public transportation may not be an option for some people with PD who have cognitive challenges.

Many municipalities offer programs that provide an alternative to driving for older adults or people with disabilities. These include buses or vans that pick you up and take you where you need to go at a discounted rate or a donation-based fee. Interestingly, in our work with older adults, many are not as inclined to use these services as much as one would expect. The services must be pre-scheduled and can sometimes be cumbersome to arrange . There is increased interest in ride-hailing applications such as Lyft and Uber. These services are easy to arrange without the need to plan far ahead of time. However, the technology can be viewed by some older adults as challenging, In addition, these services are typically more expensive than public ride programs offered by municipalities.

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Considerations For Driving With Parkinson’s Disease

In this hour-long webinar occupational therapist, Kathryn McKall, outlines the impact on driving due to changes specific to Parkinson’s Disease with respect to vision, cognition, hearing, sensory & motor function, and medications. She provides driving self-assessment questions, suggestions for remaining a safe driver with PD, adaptive equipment and modern tech to make driving easier and safer, the care partner’s role in evaluating driving and supporting cessation of driving, and tips to prepare for when you are no longer driving.

Workplace Modifications That Can Be Requested

Driving with Parkinson’s Part 1

Employers must take reasonable steps to accommodate an employee with Parkinsons. This may take the form of:

  • Changing your workstation by providing a supported chair or making computer adaptations
  • Improving air-conditioning
  • Moving to the ground floor
  • Allowing you to take time off work to get medical treatment
  • Changing your work duties such as the removal of tasks requiring fine motor skills or heavy lifting
  • Allowing you to work part time
  • Scheduling regular breaks
  • Allowing you some flexibility to work from home

Talk to your workplace health and safety officer or human resources staff to find out what can be done to enable you to stay in the workplace safely and productively.

Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

How Does Parkinsons Disease Affect Your Ability To Drive

Driving involves a combination of visual, cognitive and motor skills that may be affected by Parkinsons disease.

Some symptoms, such as tremors, slow movements, rigidity, freezing or cognitive disorders may affect your ability to drive.

Your reaction time in response to complex road conditions can increase significantly, which can increase the risk of accidents.

Some antiparkinsonian medications can also have adverse effects that can affecton driving, such as drowsiness or insomnia.

You can continue driving during the early stages of Parkinsons disease. Enjoy it while you can still do it independently and safely. However, there are certain precautions you should take before driving:

  • Plan your route before you leave
  • Get behind the wheel when medication is most effective
  • Avoid driving during off periods
  • Avoid driving at night
  • Only drive when you are well rested
  • Remove distractions while driving, such as listening to the radio, eating or drinking, using a cell phone, even if it is hands-free, or talking to a passenger
  • Maintain good posture in order to be comfortable and have good visibility while driving
  • Stay fit and physically active to maintain good mobility, the fast reaction time needed to drive and your energy levels
  • Avoid highways that require you to drive fast
  • Limit your driving to short distances
  • Avoid driving in bad weather conditions
  • Do not drive if you are drowsy

If A Person Does Have To Stop Driving Because Of Their Pd What Strategies Can Help Them Maintain Their Independence

The COVID-19 crisis is teaching all of us about using alternative strategies that do not require driving to maintain independence for example, online ordering of groceries and medications, telehealth visits with our physicians, and new ways of connecting to our family and friends using technology. We undoubtedly will continue to use these resources even after the COVID-19 crisis ends and all these new strategies can help increase the independence of those who do not drive.

Recommended Reading: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

How Parkinsons Disease Symptoms Affect Driving Skills

Parkinsonâs disease symptoms vary from patient to patient. They can range from mild to severe. But even in mild cases, common symptoms such as shaking in the arms, hands, or legs, impaired balance, and slowed physical and mental responses can affect driving skills.

Episodes of tremor, for example, often begin in a hand or a foot and can affect the ability to operate a carâs controls. Rigidity can result in jerky motions while steering. Slow movement can interfere with braking in heavy traffic or ability to quickly react to road hazards. Postural instability often results in a stooped posture in which the head is bowed and shoulders are drooped, further reducing driversâ awareness of their surroundings.

For many people with early Parkinsonâs disease, medications can reduce symptoms. But medications may have side effects, such as drowsiness, that can affect driving as well. It can be difficult for doctors to devise a medication plan that reduces the primary symptoms of Parkinsonâs disease and allows some patients to drive without causing side effects that make driving a car even more dangerous.

How Available And/or Useful Is The Information On The Motability Scheme


23. The Motability website is easy to navigate and offers functionality to live chat if there are questions. They have accessible ways to get in touch by phone, minicom and textphone with queries. Also, Motability also offer sign language interpretation. It is positive that they offer these options to ensure they meet the diverse needs of the client base, as not everyone is online.

24. We believe that the Motability scheme is referred to in the award letter, if someone has been successful. But wonder if any further information is provided as people may miss this useful information in the award letter.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

Can You Tell Us About The Driving Retirement Workshop That You Created

The APDA Greater St. Louis Chapter approached us to help create a workshop to better inform people with PD and their caregivers of how PD can impact driving. Within Washington University School of Medicine Program in Occupational Therapy we have a Driving and Community Mobility Lab. Working with the APDA Greater St. Louis Chapter presented a wonderful learning opportunity for our graduate occupational therapy students in the DCM lab to trial an innovative community-based project. The occupational therapy students were very enthusiastic and took an active role in assisting in the planning of this workshop.

This interactive workshop was focused on the person with PD and his/her caregiver with the goal of presenting unique learning experiences. There were a total of four sessions in the workshop. The workshop presented the current data related to PD and its effects on driving and discussed how we stay safe on the road. It then taught how to implement some of the more novel solutions to driving alternatives such as online grocery delivery services and ride-hailing phone applications.

Complex Parkinson’s Disease And Palliative Care

Complex Parkinson’s disease is defined as the stage when treatment is unable to consistently control symptoms, or the person has developed uncontrollable jerky movements .

These problems can still be helped by adjustment or addition of some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, under the supervision of a doctor with a specialist interest in Parkinson’s disease.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, you’ll be invited to discuss the care you want with your healthcare team as you near the end of your life. This is known as palliative care.

When there’s no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to alleviate symptoms, and is also aimed at making the end of a person’s life as comfortable as possible.

This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family.

Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospice, residential home or hospital.

You may want to consider talking to your family and care team in advance about where you’d like to be treated and what care you wish to receive.

Read Also: Early Onset Parkinson\’s Disease

Level Of Evidence Conclusions And Recommendations

A summary of the 25 primary studies included in this review, containing the title, authors, year and funding, primary objective, sample characteristics, independent and outcome variables, design, key findings, level of evidence, and conclusions, is shown in table e-1 on the Neurology® Web site at Based on the criteria outlined in , results, conclusions, and recommendations concerning predictors of driving performance are discussed next.

Planning For Future Care

Driving with Parkinson’s Disease

PD is a neurodegenerative condition, which means that it progressively worsens over the years. You may need assistance with walking, such as a cane or a walker. While it is not common, some people with PD may need a wheelchair. Learning about your resources and the financial cost of these devices ahead of time can put you and your family at ease.

If you anticipate that you might not be able to drive or climb stairs, moving to a walkable neighborhood and to a home without stairs can help you enjoy your home and surroundings if your physical abilities become more limited.

And arranging for help around the house or help with transportation can provide you and your family with peace of mind as you navigate your illness through the years.

Read Also: What State Has Highest Rate Of Parkinson’s

Learn Everything You Can About The Disease

Parkinsons disease is a movement disorder. If youre a caregiver for someone living with Parkinsons, youre likely familiar with some of the symptoms of the disease. But do you know what causes its symptoms, how the condition progresses, or what treatments can help manage it? Also, Parkinsons doesnt manifest the same way in everyone.

To be the best ally for your loved one, learn as much as you can about Parkinsons disease. Do research on reputable websites like the Parkinsons Foundation, or read books about the condition. Tag along for medical appointments and ask the doctor questions. If youre well informed, youll have a better idea of what to expect and how to be the most help.

Tips For Families And Caregivers

If a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsonâs disease — with or without associated cognitive impairment — certain day-to-day behavior can indicate an inability to drive safely. Watch carefully for the following signs:

  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty judging distance and space
  • Disorientation in familiar places
  • Inability to handle multiple tasks
  • Inattention to personal care
  • Getting tickets for traffic violations
  • Getting into near-miss situations, fender benders, or other accidents

Any of these warning signs could indicate that itâs time for your loved one to stop driving. Itâs important to discuss any concerns you have with your loved one and their doctor.

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Damage To Blood Vessels Of Brain May Drive Parkinsons Progression

The cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord, of people with moderately severe Parkinsons disease shows evidence that damage to blood vessels meant to protect the brain may be a key driver of disease progression, a study based on findings in a Phase 2 trial reported.

This finding suggests that targeting ways to rebuild the blood-brain barrier a highly selective membrane that shields the brain from pathogens and other insults carried in the bloodstream and retains nutrients might help to treat Parkinsons. One possible such treatment is nilotinib, evaluated in that clinical trial.

To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that the bodys blood brain barrier potentially offers a target for the treatment for Parkinsons disease, Charbel Moussa, PhD, clinical research director of Georgetown University Medical Centers Translational Neurotherapeutics Program and the studys lead author, said in a press release.

Much work remains to be done, but just knowing that a patients brain vascular system is playing a significant role in the progression of the disease is a very promising discovery, Moussa added.


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