Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

An Analysis of Driving Contracts for Persons with Dementia

An Analysis of Driving Contracts for Persons with Dementia

Heather Buza

Cognition and independence are prioritized in American society. Individuals who exhibit reduced cognition or require assistance with activities of daily living are stigmatized. Persons with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will become unable to drive or care for themselves. Conversations about driving cessation and future decision-making are an important first step toward planning for a future with dementia. There is a significant amount of literature on dementia, personhood and the self. However, there are no scholarly articles on the significance of conversational tools designed to facilitate conversations about driving cessation. Using content analysis, this paper will compare and contrast driving contracts from six agencies. The relationship of driving contracts to other legal documents and teen driving contracts is investigated. Cultural models of dementia and the genealogy of the driving contract are also explored. Using Thomas Kitwood’s perspective on personhood as well as Athena McLean’s definition of selves and identities, the driving contract is viewed as an agreement made by the current healthy cognitively intact self with the future cognitively diminished self. It is also argued that the intended audience of the driving contract is the future self. Conversational tools, specifically driving contracts, affect personhood differentially.

April 15, 2013 - Posted by | abstract


  1. This would be really interesting to look at, in terms of how people with dementia imagine their future selves and how the the tools used to enable the conversation affect that imagination!

    Comment by H. (Heather) Hatch | April 15, 2013 | Reply

  2. Very interesting and clearly written!

    Comment by Ljiljana Progovac | April 15, 2013 | Reply

  3. I am fascinated by your concepts of diminished capacity, cognition and future self. How interesting that here are no scholarly articles on what I imagine are difficult conversations about driving cessation particularly due to cognitive impairment.

    Comment by Darlene Pennington-Johnson | April 28, 2013 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: