American Journal of Occupational Therapy
Researchers of driving and dementia have reported that drivers with early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may continue to drive for extended periods of time, as long as their driving is evaluated or monitored. The earliest symptoms of AD are known to include loss of recent memory and the inability to recognize familiar environments. In an exploratory study, we examined 207 reports of lost drivers with dementia over 10 yr reported by newspapers and media. Seventy AD drivers were not found, 32 drivers were found dead, and 116 drivers were found alive, although of those found alive, 35 people were found injured. Miles driven and days missing were also reported in some cases, in addition to cause of death (such as drowning or exposure to weather). Becoming lost may have serious consequences. Additional research is needed in this area to more clearly understand the consequences of becoming lost while driving.
Hunt, L. A., Brown, A. E., & Gilman, I. P. (2010). Drivers with dementia and outcomes of becoming lost while driving. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 225–232.