Hi, I too am new to this board. I am a 62 year old female whose parents are 80 and 86. My sons live about 300 miles from here, my husband works full time and I am an only child. So, except for me my mom has no help with my 86 year old dad who has dementia. They have their own home. I live about 20 minutes away.
The main problem is he refuses to stop driving. The DMV recently sent him a letter revoking his license until he has a hearing. He was told by his dr that if he drove without it and got stopped, he could go to jail for two years. This was yesterday. As soon as they got home from the dr, he drove to the store!
He lies to the drs at the VA. One dr. said he had no business driving and turned him in to the DMV. After my mom and I told her about the two accidents he has had in the past year. Neither of which involved another car. But he broke his leg and hip in the first one. His own truck ran over him in an empty parking lot! He was in the hospital for a month and had major surgery rebuilding his hip socket! The second time, he had the truck on ramps, called my mom out to unlock the safety break, had the truck in reverse, when she released the break, the truck rolled back,the door almost hit her. It rolled out of the driveway and accross the street into a ditch, causing $4,000 in damage to the truck.
The other two male drs. said there was no reason why he shouldn't drive!
He runs stops signs, gets road rage (even if he isn't driving) and gets confused.
In addition, he thinks my mom and I are "plotting" against him to take his freedom away and get "his" money".
Does anyone have any ideas on how to get my dad to understand that he simply shouldn't be driving anymore. I doubt that the state will throw an 86 year old man in jail for two years, for driving without a license. But I don't want him to hurt anyone, himself included.
Seein the others as "plotting and scheming to take this or that away" is a common symptom of Alzheimer's. You can't reason with him or try to explain why he needs to stop driving. It is a matter of life and death - his or the child or pregnant woman he runs over. You take the car away. If he asks, it is in the repair shop. If he keeps asking, it broke down. If he wants to go shopping for a new car, you or your Mom will go with him next week, and that day never comes. Soon he forgets he was ever driving. It would be good if your Mom also gave up or 'hid' her car by parking it somewhere else. No car, no driving.
I am so sorry you are in this situation. 95% of the people here have had to lie and sneak and make up tall tales to save lives, and did it, and are thankful for it.
Martha just said it all perfectly, but I do need to add:
It's not about keeping the peace, it's about keeping everybody safe. Everybody includes your neighbours, the kids down the road, the pregnant lady in the shopping centre, the local school AND your Mum and Dad!!!
Don't procrastinate, you know it's wrong, just DO IT.
Thanks, but I've already tried something similar. My car broke down. We borrowed his truck for 4 months. I was hoping he would forget about it. After about 3 months he started asking for it back. One Thursday, when I was out of town, my SIL flew in from Maryland (we live in Texas) my dad called my husband and insisted on having it back that night! I don't think he has driven it since he got it back, but he had to have it.
My mom bowls twice a week and he wont' leave the house if she isn't home. He will leave during the day when she is at home, but that is what he was doing when he got hurt.
He seems to have selective memory. He remembers everything you don't want him to. He saves everything and I don mean everything! While he was i nthe hospital, we clean out a bunch of trash from his 3 storage buildings: empty boxes, rusted cans, old paint, things he had left laying around the back of the storage buildings for years. We were still throwing stuff out when he came home, but he couldn't get out of the house to see what it was. There were 6 construction bags of junk for heavy trash pick up. One was still there when he started walking out of the house. He went through and got mad because some tubes of paint were in it. It was 20 years old.
But he can't handle his finances, my mom does it. Yet he wants to have control over it. He walks with a limp, can't hear, can't see well, but insists on driving.
My parents don't give me control what-so-ever over their lives, yet they want me here to help them out. I moved back home 6 years ago, gave up a good job along with my kids and grandkids to be here to help them out.
It's like being between a rock and a hard spot. I keep trying to think of legal ways, I can have myself made his gardian, then he won't have a choice. My mom doesn't like to confront him. If you make he mad, he never stops ranting at you. She has to live with him. I can't say I blame her. It's like torture when he gets on a roll. I don't think it is possible for me to be his gardian, when the VA drs are telling him, "you're aren't that bad". They don't see him everyday. This is Icons is the way I feel lol Thanks for listening.
Last edited by Keeping-up; 10-05-2006 at 01:21 PM.
I wish it were that simple. I think most people are dealing with elderly parents who can bearly get around and are somewhat passive. My parents are nothing like that. My dad still trys to work on his house, etc. He was still climbing on the roof until he got hurt.
Unfortunately, I don't have any authority over my parents. If I go get their cars, they could file charges against me for stealing their cars. Besides I don't have a key.
My mom is completely capable of handling their business and driving. I guess, I need some legal advise. He has a hearing with the DMV, we will just have to see what they say.
I'll check back in from time to time with this board.
It's tough, I know. WE've all been thru it. Just be sure you are at the hearing. My mother was on prescription meds (valium and halcyon)...told her doctor she had no relatives in town. Well, I did happen to have her power of attorney as the only child in town in case something did happen to her. WEll, my attorney drew it up and included a medical power of attorney in the verbiage. She accidently said something to my sister about getting 100 valium a month! Oops! Off I go to her doctor with my POA in hand. He cut her off. Of course, she had severe withdrawal and called me everythhing but pond scum. She also couldn't sleep without the halcyon so she called me up int he middle of the night (if she couldn't sleep, why should I since it was all my fault?). I finally told her she could have the drugs back but I would take her car. She could kill herself but not a busload of little children. She opted for the car.
Bottom line here is, you have to stand your ground. And you have to enlist your mother. It's hard to do but she obviously understands his condition. He needs to be off the road. ANd you need to convince your siblings of the same. Good luck and stand strong.
I know VA doctor's aren't much help when it comes to dementia. Boy do I know.
Talk to your mom and don't hold anything back. Be kind and gentle, but honest. The next time your dad gets in a car, he could kill someone else or injure them badly. And then I worry how she would feel. Your dad could have died when the car rolled over him.
Taking the car away is very difficult. I know from the experiences I had with my dad. It seems that especially with men, they feel that a car represents independence. So they believe if you take the car away, you're taking their freedom. When you borrowed your dad's car, he probably saw it when you came over. If you sell it, in time he'll forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind. But it takes time.
I always suggest to newbies here that you write down changes you notice in your loved one or strange behaviors. Keep a journal of these things and if your mom would be willing to do the same, that would be even better. The more ammo you have at a doctor's visit, the more inclined they are to believe you and test your dad if he hasn't already been tested. The VA has geriatric specialists. These are the doctors I've had the most success with as far as my dad's AD and treatment are concerned. As a matter of fact, one geriatric specialist that I dealt with often called me at home to ask how I was doing! She was concerned about me as a caregiver. Now she was fantastic!
VA hospitals tend to need more proof that there's something wrong. Unfortunately, they don't want to spend a penny if they think they can get by without it. Such a shame.....
I know how worrisome the driving thing is. YES, be at the hearing.... Write a letter explaining your concerns and fears. If you can, give it to someone out of sight from your dad. They may take your concerns into concideration. If not, at least you tried.
I wish it were that simple. I think most people are dealing with elderly parents who can bearly get around and are somewhat passive.
Until a couple of years ago my Mom made a wonderfully lucid and intelligent impression on everyone, especially her doctor. She had developed ways to make herself sound very normal - example, in his office when he started the simple question routine, "what season is it" and "who is the president," she went off on another track to avoid answering. She said something like, "how beautifully those drapes match the color in the rug." He immediately stopped questioning her and signed her off as 'normal.'
She was going to a senior center every day and leading an exercise group there, going swimming twice a week at a local pool, and finding her way to all those things alone in Queens, New York City. She did all that until her 96th birthday!
But there were already serious glimpses of her "Imposter" /alternate self coming out years before that .. unusual choices of clothing, a strange neglect of personal hygiene, throwing out good things and saving junk, 'forgettting' to pay bills, and not having balanced her checkbook for several years. Asking the same questions over and over again, and finally getting lost on her way to or from the same places she had been going to for decades.
At last one day the other doctor, son of the older one, asked her the routine Dementia questions; it was in February and Mom and my brother had climbed over snow banks to get to the doctor's. What season is it? Fall, of course. OK, and what month are we in? April, you know that, why are you asking? Year? It is 199 .. 199 .... oh, it is 2001. (it was 2005)
And who is the president? Mom said "Bush" but may have been thinking of the first Bush .. and later at home my cousin called and Mom gloated, " the doctor tried to fool me but I knew who the president is, it is Reagan!"
Finally a diagnosis of old age dementia was made. We got a home health aide to go with her anywhere she went.
No, they are not all obviously doddering old fools before we take away their car keys - they look alert, proud, brave, angry, reckless, outspoken, deny being incapable (indeed they feel perfectly capable of doing anything!) and full of resentment that anyone, least of all a daughter or a wife, thinks otherwise.
There is one solution to this problem - that could turn into a hugh catastrophe if he doesn't quit driving.....here it is: SELL the car! That's what we had to do with FIL and he went along with it. We told him if he had a wreck we would all be sued. Believe me, he didn't give up without lots of lectures on our part - be at least he did give up. Then I took him to the DMV and got him a picture ID that looks like a license for $5.00 for him to carry - that way he will never have another license. That was a few years ago, to this day he still talks about missing driving and sometimes teases us about going out and buying a new car. Good luck and I hope you get that car soon. C
I know exactly how you feel... It is almost impossible to get someone to quit driving if you don't have authority to do it. My FIL has had his license removed and the doctor had to fill out the form saying why he can't drive (seizures and AD). So he can't drive until he's seizure free for 6 mos. So now when he has seizures my MIL says he tripped on the side walk or took sleeping pills etc. She wants him to be able to drive!!! He still goes to the club once a week to play cards.... It is so frustrating!!!!
We have told him as has my MIL that he'll be sued, has no insurance, may end up in jail....but the bottom line is unless MIL reports him, our hands are tied. We just got back from visiting them. As we were leaving, we were walking around the yard looking for a place to plant some fall mums. I noticed the signal light was hanging from the front of his truck... grill was broken, etc. I asked how that happened. MIL said she didn't know, but DD had used the truck last. Then she corrected herself and said dad drove it last. (As if SIL wouldn't tell if she had an accident.)
So I pray to God he doesn't kill someone.... one good thing, MIL asked hubby to take the bullets out of his handgun. She thought he had one loaded.... he had three!!!! She said she was afraid he'd go in a rage about something and kill her!! Then in the next breath, she says she wants him to drive!
It's an awful positon to be in, knowing someone shouldn't be driving, but can't do anything about it. Going to court hearing should help, but know that it will make him furious! Go to the DMV to see if there are papers the doctor has to fill out.. Usually they will tell the truth if only to CYA!!
I have been in the same situation with my ex-charge .. unexplained accidents in the car, car's driving through other peoples fences and almost wiping out small children .... I've had the excuses, the misguided logic, but there was finally the time, when I had to pull rank and be the bad guy .. much to EVERYBODY'S horror .... Yeah .. well, so be it .. and it was the hardest thing to do, dragging my ex-charge down to the Police Station to have her photo licence FORCIBLY taken from her ... her licence had already been cancelled, but that didn't matter (nor did she understand by this stage) she knew she had her photo licence, and that enabled her to drive.
Well, after slogging me in the jaw in front of the kids .. disappearing for 6 hours, sneaking out of the house in the dark ... wiping the door off a parked care (and only JUST missing a womans ARM that was trying to close the door) .. enough was enough .........
Yep .. me the bad guy ... and ya know what? After the deed was done, everybody said "Thank God she's not driving anymore"
But nobody had the guts to take the initiative and get the ball rolling.
So .. yeah .. we can come up with all the excuses under the sun on WHY they won't stop driving, but it's up to US to STOP THEM .. and if it means being the bad guy, then so be it, at least everybody else will be safe.
I can't stress this enough .. seriously .. everybody who read's this who is procrastinating over doing the 'deed' .. what if it was your kid under the wheel next time? you can't say it won't ....
sometimes there is something you have to make happen....whatever the consequences...particularily if safety is an issue. whatever the reason is that makes it too hard...think think and think again until you come up with a solution
I think that fellow board participants have given you some ideas
it may be all to hard to tackle and contemplate....in that case, think of the very first thing you could do to solve the problem.
then you get out of bed and "just do it"
write yourself a list of things that need to be taken care of, and on the list write how you can make it happen, there is always a way to make things happen.
Then , no matter how awful your list is .....do it anyway
then you will sleep better at night
you must be responsible and do what needs to be done as peoples safety depends on it
Amen to all and well put! You could never live a peaceful life if the consequences of him driving turn into a catastrophe. Think of all the worse case scenerios and then believe they COULD HAPPEN any day now and I think you'll get something done. This is something that can't be procrastinated about, stewed over, and rehashed to death - it IS a life or death situation for innocent people. I hate to say it, but my cousin has put this off with his Mom for over TWO YEARS! She has AD and yet she is still driving. He moved off and left her all alone. He did disable her car once but she got sneaky and called her mechanic and he came right over and fixed it. All because she yelled at her son and it made him weak. He needs to take charge and be the boss, but he won't . I'm so afraid of what might happen, but there's nothing I can do about it, is there? I have called him a few times on this and he's like....well, it's her life, well, I can't make her, well, excuse after excuse. If something does happen while she is out driving, I WILL blame him, for sure. Please, please take charge now or get someone else to. Good luck and keep us posted, we're not trying to be mean or unfeeling here, just want to open your eyes to the real possibilities, and they ain't pretty. C
Cyt .. where are you ? Could YOU get the driving stopped?
Just a thought.
And along these lines, you know, the doctors who diagnose dementia should really take on some responsibility of keeping their patient safe too ... I mean THEY can contact the Transport Departments, The Police .. THEY can physically take the licence away ... they have authority and almost EVERYBODY, even dementia know an authorative figure (I was going to get a friend to dress up as a cop until the real deal had to be brought in) .. I know of a facility that has dress up doctor kit (white coat, bag etc) and a cop kit (blue shirt, hat, handcuffs) ... THAT helps play along with some delusions (EG: where are the Police? I demand to speak to the police .. you can't keep me here .. voila . . one policeman/woman instantly .. what a great response!! LOL)
I know after numerous accidents with my ex-charge, I BEGGED the doctor NOT to sign the medically fit form the transport authority had sent .. he signed it !! How irresponsible !!! That just fuelled her in her quest to drive (she just couldnt' follow through and do the driving test, cause the cognition of Medical & Driving Test meant nothing to her)
But all that procrastination didn't help stopping her .. unfortunately .. there was no way she could understand our logic anymore ... see, in her eyes, there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with her .. we were all against her, we were all evil, it was all OUR fault things were happening .... and this is the tough part of dementia while they are still sorta lucid .. THEY THINK THEY'RE FINE .. it's the REST OF THE world that's gone insane ...... and there is NO WAY you can make them see your side of things, because there's nothing wrong with them as far as they can tell. You have to wait until the disease progresses when they get to the 'I don't care anymore' stage (no hard and fast rule of when that happens either) and you can't wait around until that stage either.
Sorry if I'm so anal on this subject, but having had a dementia charge almost rip somebody's arm off a parked car scared the willies out of me ... that was a close call, and I vowed it wouldn't happen again.
And it didn't. And yeah .. I was the bad guy ... on and off for a few months .. but we drove her everywhere she wanted, pretty much whenever she wanted ('cept 5am and 8pm excursions .. that's another story) and after a few months of her complaining, she finally conceded.
Some of our other members here are STILL having issues with the parent not driving anymore .. but hey ... the rest of the neighbourhood is safe and that's the important thing .. NOT that you've hurt their feelings.
Aplogies if I've ranted too much on this subject .. but as you can see, it's close to my heart.