Friday, April 12, 2024

Can Parkinson’s Patients Drive

Family Conversations With Older Drivers

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

This short web page highlights changes that occur with age that make driving more risky for older drivers, changes in driving behavior many people naturally make to continue to drive safely as they age, best practices for bringing up the issue if you think someone is no longer safe to drive, and some tips for situations in which the older adult refuses to make any changes to their driving habits.

Description Of Primary Studies

The 25 studies were published between 1998 and 2011. Thirteen studies reported federal or foundational funding. There were 16 on-road studies with PD sample sizes ranging from 19 to 154. Study design for on-road studies was primarily prospective , with 1 retrospective study. Of the 9 simulator studies, 8 were experimental and 1 quasi-experimental. PD sample sizes ranged from 6 to 67. Disease severity of PD samples was considered to be mild to moderate across all studies. All studies included participants having a confirmed diagnosis of PD by neurologists or movement disorders specialists, although only 3 studies reported using the UK Brain Bank as a criterion for PD diagnosis.,, Additionally, most studies evaluated participants for cognitive function. However, only 5 studies excluded participants based on cognitive screening. Four studies excluded those who scored 24 on the Mini-Mental State Examination ,,,, one study excluded those who scored < 26 on the MMSE, and one other study excluded those who scored 1 on the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale .

Nicolas Finds Even Long Trips Relaxing When He Is On Holiday Travel For Work Is More Of A Problem

What about stiffness after a long haul flight?

One of the best things I did, because of the resort we were staying at, was get a massage. So that was good. I did have a bit of an adverse reaction to it because I was quite stiff, but I got over that quite quickly. Swimming was useful. Its interesting I dont have any difficulties with gross movements like swimming. Its the fine motor control and the small movements that I struggle with. So I appreciated that, so that was another form of exercise while I was out there.

Business travel, I feel is a bit more pressurised. In that its much more intensive for me. Our head office is in Toulouse. So its a flight there and back in a day and its a long day. And thats quite intensive and that I struggle with, and youve got to do a days work while your there and all that sort of thing. So that can be a bit awkward.

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How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed

Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinson’s disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.

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.

Also Check: What Causes Shaking In 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.

Tips For A Better Sex Life With Parkinsons Disease

  • Communicate: Be open with your partner about your feelings and discuss your physical needs. If the topic of sex causes upset or arguments, it might be worth seeing a sex therapist.
  • Consider changing your medication: If your medication is having an impact on your sex life, talk to your doctor about an alternative treatment. Your sex life is important, so it should be given as much attention and care as your general health and wellbeing.
  • Be open with your doctor: Don’t be afraid to talk about sex with your doctor that’s what your healthcare team is there for, and they will have dealt with these types of concerns before.
  • Deal with fatigue and depression: Depression and fatigue can negatively impact your sex life, so look at ways of treating these symptoms. A combination of therapy and antidepressant medications may help, so talk to your doctor.

Read Also: Should Someone With Parkinson’s Drive

How Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia Diagnosed

No single test can diagnose Parkinsons disease dementia. Instead, doctors rely on a series or combination of tests and indicators.

Your neurologist will likely diagnose you with Parkinsons and then track your progression. They may monitor you for signs of dementia. As you get older, your risk for Parkinsons dementia increases.

Your doctor is more likely to conduct regular testing to monitor your cognitive functions, memory recall, and mental health.

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

Driving with Parkinson’s Disease

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.

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Judie Found That Her Disabled Person’s Railcard Did Not Just Cut The Cost Of Travel But Helped

Well you can buy a railcard, disabled persons railcard and you get, I think its half price each. My friend takes me down to London. Weve been to the Parkinsons Carol Service two, two Christmases now and various other events that theyve had on in London. And its wonderful to go by train. If you go in your wheelchair and make the rail company aware that youre going and what times youre going they are absolutely brilliant. The first time I tried it was two years ago when we went to the Carol Service. And we got on at Northampton and we were going to Euston and the guard was there to meet us. They knew which carriage we were going in and we were, planned to be back for about twenty past ten at night and, no half past ten. And we got to the station at twenty past ten and this gentleman jumped out from behind a post and he said, You must be my two ladies for Northampton. Ill take you up. And he took us up, made us a cup of coffee, and he said, Ill come and fetch you when the train comes into the platform and put you in the carriage. And, British Rail are criticised but they are good if you, if you tell them. If you dont tell them you cant expect the help. But they were very good.

Ruth Had Looked Forward To Going Away But Had Had To Disappoint Both Herself And Her Husband By

Last year we had got a wee towing caravan and, it worked out okay last year whenever we went away, I, I was fine. This year we were gonna go away a fortnight ago and we were going right till, up until the morning we were, we had planned to go and I just felt really terrible that morning. And I knew there would be no point in me going away because I knew I would have to come home again because I just felt bad, really bad, really down, very painful, very stressed. And I just thought, no its not, its not worth it. I just, I didnt want to go anywhere, so my husband and I ended up really kind of falling out because he had taken time off his work for us to go away and he had, you know, got everything ready and just at the last minute I just said, Look I really cant go. And he was saying, Oh, just come youll be fine. But I, I know myself that I wouldnt be if I went. I know theres no point in going when I feel like that, because I would just have to come back.

For advice on all aspects of driving the government has a very helpful website GOV.UK – see the disabled people section ‘Disability, equipment and transport’ which has information about public and community transport, adapting vehicles and options for buying or hiring cars, vehicle tax for disabled drivers and transport rights and details of the Blue Badge scheme. Also information about train and bus travel, bus passes and shopmobility.

Last reviewed May 2017.

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Helpful Organizations And Information

Parkinson Society of British Columbia

Parkinson Society British Columbia is a not-for-profit charitable organization that exists to address the personal and social consequences of Parkinson’s disease through education, community outreach, scientific research, advocacy and public awareness.

The average age for diagnosis with Parkinsons is 60 years. Seniors who want to learn more about diagnosis, treatment, and living with Parkinsons can visit:

Exercise And Healthy Eating

Surgery for Parkinson

Regular exercise is particularly important in helping relieve muscle stiffness, improving your mood and relieving stress.

There are many activities you can do to help keep yourself fit, ranging from more active sports like tennis and cycling, to less strenuous activities such as walking, gardening and yoga.

You should also try to eat a balanced diet containing all the food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.

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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.

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?

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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.

What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease

My Parkinson’s Story: Driving

Parkinson disease symptoms usually start out mild, and then progressively get much worse. The first signs are often so subtle that many people don’t seek medical attention at first. These are common symptoms of Parkinson disease:

  • Tremors that affect the face and jaw, legs, arms, and hands
  • Slow, stiff walking

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What Is Parkinson Disease

Parkinson disease is a movement disorder. It can cause the muscles to tighten and become rigid This makes it hard to walk and do other daily activities. People with Parkinsons disease also have tremors and may develop cognitive problems, including memory loss and dementia.

Parkinson disease is most common in people who are older than 50. The average age at which it occurs is 60. But some younger people may also get Parkinson disease. When it affects someone younger than age 50, it’s called early-onset Parkinson disease. You may be more likely to get early-onset Parkinson disease if someone in your family has it. The older you are, the greater your risk of developing Parkinson disease. It’s also much more common in men than in women.

Parkinson disease is a chronic and progressive disease. It doesn’t go away and continues to get worse over time.

Do I Have To Inform The Saaq Of My Parkinsons Diagnosis

The law requires you to inform the SAAQ of changes in your medical condition within 30 days of your visit to your neurologist.

Your doctor or a health care professional, such as an occupational therapist, will need to assess your ability to drive and fill out a medical examination report that you will need to send to the SAAQ.

Rest assured, very few drivers have their licence revoked after a medical assessment.

This evaluation will have to take place every two years or more depending on the development of your condition. Symptoms may become driving hazards as the disease progresses.

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Driving And Parkinsons Disease

For some people with Parkinsons disease , there may come a time when it is no longer safe for them to drive. This is a very sensitive and fraught issue since for many people, driving is equated with independence, and people with PD may assume that relinquishing driving means a further narrowing and limiting of their world. However, with the right tools, a person can continue to be an active and engaged member of society without driving. Gabrielle Blenden, MSOT, OTR/L and Peggy Barco, OTD,OTR/L, CDRS, SCDCM, FAOTA are occupational therapists at Washington University School of Medicine Program in Occupational Therapy in St. Louis, Missouri, where they work at the Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory. They study the role of neurologic disease on driving and perform comprehensive driving evaluations to determine if a persons driving abilities are intact.

Together with the APDA Greater St. Louis Chapter, they designed a Driving Retirement Workshop a four-session program for people with PD and their families to help plan for maintained independence in the face of driving cessation.

Recently, I was able to ask Ms. Blenden and Dr. Barco about their work.

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

Can You Drive With Parkinson

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.

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