Deciding when to give up the car keys

Posted at 9:10 AM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 09:10:42-05

Ray Graves spent years on the road as a truck driver, but when he was 62 he realized something was wrong.

"I'd look up and notice, I've already driven through Detroit and haven't even stopped at a stoplight."

He had gaps in his memory, and would drive for miles without even realizing it.

"I think my guardian angel was watching over me," he said.

Soon after, he found out that he had dementia. That's when his family said, it's time to stop driving.

"With my support group behind me, and my children behind me, I knew I could go through anything," Graves said.

And he wants other families facing this to know that they need to be supportive, but firm about their loved ones' safety.

"Your spouse will tell you first that there's something wrong, then your children, if you love them at all, you better listen to them," Graves said.

The Secretary of State says one of the first things to look out for is if your loved one is rolling through stop signs. It can mean their reaction time is slowing down.

But every person is different, so most don't need to give up driving completely right away.

Instead, they start by only driving short distances, and not driving at night.

Patricia Kartje started a new website so seniors can get some answers, and information about other ways to get around.

"Not everyone has a good support network in their family," Kartje said. "So they need other community resources and things to be able to stay mobile and independent."

But Graves says, if you do have family, listen to them.

"Let them be your guide," he said, "let them help you. Because they love you."