SARASOTA- Deciding when to give up the car keys can be an important health decision for many families, especially for those dealing with conditions like Parkinson’s.

“We have to really evaluate our physical health,” Jackson said. “Our well-being, our vision, to know if driving is still I viable option.”

And it’s a decision families need to take seriously, because it is not something the state will always pay attention too.

“When I went to the state,” Darlene Fessold said. “When I moved down here, they never asked me if I had Parkinson’s or anything, I just got a new driver’s license.”

Darlene Fessold made the decision with her husband to stop driving a few years ago.

“It’s safer that way,” Fessold said. “Because I know my perception is off, and I’m not as fast as I used to be.”

Sarasota Memorial Hospital Outpatient Care Coordinator Wanda Jackson says the Driver Evaluation and Rehab program can help families with the decision.

“We evaluate in a clinic situation,” Jackson said. “Cognition, vision, understanding of roadways, and then we take them out in a dual controlled car and do road tests.”

 Jackson’s mother used the course when she was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

“The results that were given back to the physician,” Jackson said. “Were greater head turn, so she needed physical therapy to be able to see those lane changes in cars, so physical therapy helped. And then we put the giant rear view mirrors on the cars.”

The course also offers helpful tips on driving safer.

“Maybe drive only during non-busy times,” Jackson said. “Non- busy routes, routes we know, and when we’re still safe to get on the road and drive back North.”