Driving with Dementia?

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What is dementia?

Dementia refers to a group of different symptoms. Symptoms including memory loss, word-finding difficulties, impaired judgement, and problems with day-to-day activities. Injury or loss of brain cells are typical for patients who suffer from Dementia. Therefore dementia combined with driving could get a little bit dicey.


What is normal?

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, it is possible to have symptoms of dementia without having Alzheimer’s.

Most noteworthy is the question- Is it safe to drive with dementia?

The question is very subjective. According to Attorney Bernard J. Rabik, “People with dementia who continue to drive pose a potential danger on the road, worry their families and present challenges to health-care personnel. Most people would agree that anyone with moderate or severe dementia should not drive, but a careful evaluation is required to assess whether a patient such as your dad with his dementia remains fit to drive.”. In conclusion, just because someone can drive doesn’t mean that they should.

What can I do

Discussions about driving habits should be ongoing between friends and family. Furthermore, passengers should be observant of a important red flags such as

  • Failure to comprehend traffic signsSenior man holding up keys to his new car
  • Making poor of slow decisions
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Hitting curbs or other objects
  • Confusing the gas and brake pedals
  • Continually taking longer to complete a known route
  • Forgetting the where they are coming from or where they have been

Certainly, driving evaluations are available. Strategies can be taught to help the driver continue driving if the evaluator deems the driver safe. Receiving poor driving evaluation result could be enough to convince your loved one that they have become too unsafe to drive. However, other times, more initiative needs to be taken to ensure the safety of our loved ones and others on the road. Discussion options with friends and families and involving the driver themselves is important. Above all, having this conversation is important to keep everyone in the family safe!

In a perfect world people will be able to recognize when they are unfit to drive. Unfortunately people with dementia are easily confused and can be unaware that they are making bad decisions. While we want to respect our loved one feeling, it is important to remember that safety is a priority.


Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518



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Physical Therapy Can Help You Recover from Your Stroke

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The Connection Between Stroke and Physical Therapy

A stroke can affect men and women of all ages and carries with it damaging and potentially life threatening complications. Simply stated, a stroke refers to an unexpected loss of brain function that occurs when blood flow to the brain is  interrupted or when blood vessels in the brain rupture. When the blood flow is affected, the brain cells in the affected area die, and this can cause long-term damage.

Depending on the area injured, a stroke can cause an individual to lose his or her ability to see, speak, read or write, along with loss of memory or an impaired thought process. Also, movement is limited to partial or full paralysis. The slightest of
delays in blood flow can cause damage to the brain. The longer the brain is without important nutrients and oxygen carried by the blood, the higher the risk of permanent damage.

So, what are the risk factors of stroke?

They are high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, certain heart conditions, diabetes, obesity, smoking, stress, and drinking too much alcohol. In addition women are subject to an extra set of risk factors, such as menopause and hormonal changes, as well as conditions associated with pregnancy and the use of birth control pills. A low activity level has further been linked to stroke risk, bringing yet another benefit to regular exercise.

Fortunately, you can identify a stoke early through FOUR MAJOR WARNING SIGNS and potentially
decrease the severity of the damage:

  1. Weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg
  2. Speech or comprehension trouble, vision problems
  3. Headache
  4. Dizziness

Each of these warning signs can occur alone or in any combination. So, learn and remember the list.
Remember, timing is key. Getting treatment quickly can help counteract the damaging effect of a stroke. So if any of these warning signs occur, be sure to get medical attention immediately!

Impact of a Stroke

Knowing the warning signs of a stroke can not only save your own life, but that of someone close to you as well. In fact, most of us know someone who has suffered a stroke and have seen its damaging effects. Share this information with members of your family, especially those who are aging, and you just may save a life.

Physical Therapy and Stroke Recoveryimage

You may not expect physical therapy to play an important  part in stroke recovery, but it is often referred to as an indispensable tool. While there are other types of stroke rehabilitation, including speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy specifically addresses physical damage. Of course, the type of assistance necessary depends on the type of damage that is present.

As physical therapists, we are trained to teach strengthening exercises to retrain the body following a stroke. Using a series of custom-designed stretches and exercises, we can help a stroke victim broaden his or her range of motion, build muscle,
and increase endurance. Before establishing a treatment plan, we test the stroke victim’s current levels of motion, strength and endurance, and use this valuable information to create a plan that best suits the individual.

Word of Caution:

Never underestimate the range of treatment provided by your physical therapist. Even if the stroke victim is suffering from partial paralysis or weakness as a result of the stroke, physical therapy can prove to be very beneficial. In the case of paralysis, we can teach the stroke victim ways to compensate for the loss, in addition to prescribing treatment for the affected limb(s). For stroke sufferers forced to combat ongoing weakness, physical therapy can help to strengthen the extremities as a long-term solution.Physical therapy plays an integral role in stroke recovery. If you or someone you know has suffered a stroke, contact your physical therapist now to open a new door to recovery. Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center’s team of experts are trained to help stroke patients and will develop a stroke treatment program for each individual
patient’s needs.

Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center
1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1
Orange, Orange County, CA 92868
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Effective Physical Therapy Programs Provide Solutions for Alzheimer’s Disease

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Physical therapy provides numerous benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s patients who perform flexibility, balance, and strength exercises combined with medical management are less depressed and have more improvement in their physical functioning than patients who are treated solely with medical management. Exercise also maintains motor skills, improves memory and communication skills, and reduces rate of disease-associated mental decline. image

Physical therapy incorporates flexibility and strength exercises as well as balance and gait training. Expert physical therapists tailor exercise programs for each patient to suit their individual needs. An affordable physical therapy program combines exercises and balance and gait training to greatly improve patients’ motor skills and physical function, decrease risk of falls, and provide pain relief.

As we age, our balance and strength deteriorates. This degeneration can pose more problems for Alzheimer’s patients including a greater risk for falls. Here are five fall prevention tips to consider:

  1. Wear shoes with non-slip soles and avoid wearing socks only.
  2. Remove or secure any loose rugs or mats.
  3. Sit in higher chairs or chairs with armrests – they are easier to get in and out of.
  4. Be sure walkways are well lit and clutter free.
  5. Contact a physical therapist who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease to set up a physical therapy program to emphasize exercise, balance training, and fall prevention.
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