Supporting a person with dementia who misses their job

What can you do to help if a person with dementia misses doing the job they used to do?


My uncle really misses being a taxi driver, which he had to stop because of his dementia. How can I help him?


Our jobs can simply be how we earn a living, but they can also form a big part of who we are. 

If a person can no longer work because of their dementia, this could be very difficult for them to come to terms with. But there are ways to approach the situation that might help.

Missing what he did 

What particular aspects of being a taxi driver does your uncle miss? There could be other activities that offer similar benefits. 

For example, he might miss talking to passengers and others as he drove his taxi. 

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If so, would he enjoy meeting and chatting with people in other ways? This could include group activities or visits to a day centre. 

If leaving the house is difficult, an online group or telephone befriending service may help instead. 

If he misses the feel of car travel, being a passenger while you take him out for a drive might evoke good memories. He may even get this from being on a bus. 

There are many online videos showing routes from the driver’s point of view that he might like watching. Could he enjoy playing a driving game, on a tablet computer or a game console? 

Missing who he was 

Does he miss having a sense of purpose or responsibility, or the identity that being a taxi driver gave him? There could be activities or hobbies that also provide a sense of purpose and identity. 

Asking your uncle to help with certain jobs around the home may help. 

Is there a car you could ask his help to maintain? If he attends a group, is there a role he could volunteer for there? 

A role or responsibility could help your uncle know he’s still valued and able to contribute. 

He might miss friendships and the camaraderie of other drivers. This probably gave him a feeling of belonging too. 

Are there old friends you could put him back in touch with, or taxi driver groups on social media he could join? 

If there were specific cafés or other places he visited, he might like to go and see them again. 

Triggers and prompts 

Are there things that trigger your uncle’s feelings about missing being a taxi driver? You might be able to remove these or help him respond to them in a different way. 

Does he tend to start thinking about this when he watches a certain TV programme? Or is his old taxi parked outside and reminding him that he can no longer be a taxi driver? 

Emotional states can also act as a prompt. 

Would he usually have gone for a drive when he felt bored, anxious or agitated? 

If there are other ways you can support him to deal with these feelings, that could remove a prompt to miss driving.

Your questions

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Dementia together magazine

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer's Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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