GPS extends driving ability in patients with Alzheimer’s
However, the study of 28 people, using driving simulators, suggested that turning off the GPS video – allowing auditory-only guidance – would be the most successful way to improve navigation in these individuals.
The researchers said driving ability among older adults was known to deteriorate with cognitive impairment but no previous study has looked at the effect of GPS on patients with diagnosed mild Alzheimer’s disease.
Thirty-seven patients in Perth volunteered to take part in the study but a quarter of them dropped out due to motion sickness while using the simulator.
Among the remainder, aged from 53 to 82, driver performance was best using an audio-only setting on the GPS.
The driving scores were moderate with a normal setting (video and audio) and lowest with a visual-only setting.
Many of the drivers reported that while driving in the community they regularly got lost in unfamiliar environments and some even