Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms linked to the ongoing decline of the brain. It is thought to affect almost one million people in the UK.

Early signs of the condition can include symptoms such as memory loss and personality changes.

However, as it most commonly affects people over the age of 65 these can often be mistaken for some normal signs of getting older, earning it the reputation as a “silent killer”.

As a progressive condition it tends to worsen over time, which means the symptoms can become more noticeable the more advanced it gets.

This can result in further cognitive problems, and even visual and physical side effects.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this can be spotted when a person is driving.

It warns that people with the condition could struggle with spatial awareness and determining colours, making the act of driving more difficult.

“Some people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia could experience vision changes. This may lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading,” the Alzheimer’s Association says.

“They may also have problems judging distance and determining colour or contrast, causing issues with driving.”

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Stewart McGinn – managing director at Baycroft Care Homes – also warned that a person with dementia might struggle with driving and parking.

He explained: “Dementia poses significant challenges to a person’s driving and parking abilities.

“The cognitive decline associated with dementia, including memory loss, impaired judgement, and reduced attention span, can make road navigation increasingly difficult.

“Decision-making becomes problematic, affecting the ability to react to unexpected situations or the ability to make sound judgments.

“Reduced reaction times can impair responses to sudden changes in traffic conditions, such as unexpected braking or swerving vehicles.”

However, a diagnosis of dementia does not mean the affected person has to stop driving.

One in three people with dementia still drives, the Alzheimer’s Society says.

But it adds: “However, over time, dementia affects the skills needed for safe driving.”

The charity elaborates: “As dementia gets worse, it affects these skills even more. This means everyone with dementia will eventually be unable to drive safely. How quickly this happens varies from person to person.

“Most drivers with Alzheimer’s disease will need to stop driving in the middle stage of dementia. Some types of dementia have certain early symptoms that mean an end to driving might be sooner.

“For example, visual hallucinations are common in dementia with Lewy bodies and impulsive behaviour is common in frontotemporal dementia.”

Other signs of dementia, according to the NHS, include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change When shopping
  • Struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • Being confused about time and place
  • Mood changes.

If you think you or a loved one are displaying signs of dementia you should speak to a GP.

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