Should Your Aging Parents Be Driving?: 14 Warning Signs from Driver Cognition Assessment Center (DCAC)

PLEASANTON, Calif., March 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Aging drivers could be a menace to themselves and a danger to others. A unique driving evaluation service, Driver Cognitive Assessment Center, (DCAC), has a scientifically developed driving test to determine if adults should no longer drive. 

“Handing over the keys is a daunting prospect for older adults who now find themselves in a situation where a medical condition may be negatively affecting driving abilities,” said Melanie Henry, owner and founder of DCAC.

“One of the most significant challenges facing families and physicians today is how to navigate the impact of a medical condition or medication that may have affected the cognitive abilities to drive safely. Or perhaps you have noticed a decline in the abilities or health of your parent or spouse and are not sure if they are, in fact, still safe to drive. Even vague symptoms may indicate the need for a solid baseline for future assessments,” said Henry, author of “Difficult Aging in Place Conversations: What Industry Experts Have to Say.”

“Our goal at DCAC is to provide objective and accurate information in a compassionate and respectful setting while assessing driver risk and safety concerns of families and physicians.

We achieve this through our partnership with DriveABLE Impirica, which leads continuous research and development in driver impairment assessment technology,” she said.

Concerned family members and physicians should look for two areas of concern: driving skills and medical conditions.

Driving Skills

  • Close calls 
  • Driving too slow or too fast
  • Dents and scrapes on the car, fences, mailbox, garage doors, curbs 
  • Drifting across lane markers or into other lanes 
  • Unaware of other vehicles or errors
  • Ignoring traffic signs and signals
  • Getting lost or confused in familiar places 
  • Having difficulty finding the parked vehicle
  • Feeling uncomfortable, nervous, angry, or fearful while driving
  • Confusing the brake and gas pedals or late-braking
  • Being easily distracted or having difficulty concentrating while driving 
  • Difficulty judging gaps in traffic
  • Being honked at by other drivers 
  • Friends or relatives not wanting to ride as a passenger

“If you see any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, contact us today to schedule an assessment. You do not need a referral from your loved one’s physician to schedule an assessment,” Henry said.

Medical Conditions which can impair driving temporarily or permanently include: 

  • Dementia
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Psychiatric diseases
  • Medications
  • Neurological diseases
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Concussion
  • Medications
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurological disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Head trauma
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Renal disease
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Psychiatric illness
  • Renal disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Tumors

What to Expect During Your DriveABLE Cognitive Assessment

The first part of your assessment is the DriveABLE Cognitive Assessment Tool (DCAT Mobile). The first portion uses a tablet and typically takes less than an hour to complete. A Certified Assessor will be at your side to answer your questions and guide you through the process.

The second portion of your driving assessment is the DriveABLE On-Road Evaluation (DORE). This evaluation is a specialized functional road course where you can demonstrate your driving ability. You will be driving our evaluator vehicle, which has dual controls for brake and gas.

About Melanie Henry and DCAC

Driver Cognitive Assessment Center (DCAC) Owner and Founder Melanie Henry learned about the DriveABLE cognitive assessment technology in 2017 and immediately recognized the importance of bringing the service to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Arriving in the United States from Australia in 2007, Melanie experienced many adjustments, including driving on the ‘right’ side of the road. Because of her extensive work with senior citizens, she knew her vivid recollection of that transition would give her an additional sensitivity to clients facing a possible transition away from driving. 

Melanie’s professional career spans decades of working in the field of social welfare, risk assessment, and case management in child protection and management of criminal child abuse investigations. She has worked as a privately employed caregiver for older adults. During her time as the Transportation Coordinator for a volunteer driver medical ride program for Tri-Valley seniors, she became acutely aware of some seniors’ driving challenges.

Melanie is a licensed driving school instructor, and this ideal blend of background and passion uniquely qualified her to make her dream a reality. She opened the doors of the DCAC in 2019. 

As part of her personal mission, Melanie provides education and awareness seminars for senior living communities, in-service sessions for senior care providers and healthcare professionals. 

Please contact Melanie if you would like her to present to your community or group.

Melanie Henry

SOURCE Driver Cognitive Assessment Center