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Old 08-21-2012, 11:52 AM   #1
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Dad wants a (very) fast car... how to talk him out of it?

Hello,

My father was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's approximately one year ago, which was around the time when he found he could no longer do his job (as a medical equipment technician). Now that he has "retired," he wants to fulfill his long-time retirement dream of owning a $75k sports car with 800 horsepower. My mother and I, of course, think this is a terrible idea. He is able to drive currently, as far as we can tell, although he constantly drives 5 mph below the speed limit (?), which makes me wonder what he thinks he's going to do with this supercar, but I digress.

On one hand, I would hate for him not to enjoy the fruits of a life time of work (and we already talked him out of renewing his pilot's license), but on the other, he definitely exhibits signs of the disease in his speech, on tests administered by his neurologist, and in his inability to remember how to do things that he used to do all the time (i.e. operate the sprinkler system). I don't want him to get in an accident, especially in a car that goes 0-60 in less than 3 seconds.

HELP! And thank you for reading.

 
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Old 08-21-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
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Re: Dad wants a (very) fast car...how to talk him out of it?

Oh boy, Shmr. First of all, very sorry about your father's condition. Have you consulted his neurologists or psych about your Dad driving?

Here is what went through my mind. First of all, if the person is young and very physically capable, as it sounds like the description fits your dad, it is next to impossible to convince the person not to drive using any persuasion short of an apocalyptic thermonuclear implosion. Just be completely ready to enforce a driving ban when his doctors decide that it is time to yank his license. You need to consult his docs and let them play the bad guys.

In the meanwhile, the good news is that your dad drives 5 mph below the speed limit anyways. So it matters very little if he is driving a 800 hp super car or a 80hp Prius. He is still going to drive 50mph down the highway. My hunch is that he will spend most of his time washing, waxing, and shining his new beaut in the driveway. The last thing he will want to do is to zoom down the road risking scratches and dents. So if it keeps him happy, it will give him lots to do everyday spit shining the beaut. It is just a fairly expensive way to go. That's all.

 
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: Dad wants a (very) fast car...how to talk him out of it?

Shmr... sorry that your family has received this diagnosis. Especially in Early Onset it is difficult to deal with so many aspects of this disease. Driving being one.

My suggestion is to call the Alzheimer's Association in your area and find out the name of the driving testing company in your area. They will assess your Dad's abilities both physically and cognitively. If they do not pass your Dad as capable of driving then they are the bad guy and not you They will have the authority to recommend his license being terminated if it is determined that he is incapable of safely driving.

The problem with driving is that they actually remember how to drive. They have been driving since they were teens and that long term memory is in tact. Getting in the car, turning the key, mashing the brake and gas is ingrained. What they lack is the cognitive ability to assess situations as they come flying their way at 60 MPH. That is probably why your dad is driving so slowly. The speed of the situation changes while driving is already confusing him and a good indication that he should not be driving. If a child runs out in front of him will he be able to assess the situation in time to stop? Then you have the reaction to an unforeseen accident. Confusion rains with their inability to assess and process in the moment. They are just as likely to drive off as to stop. Then the short term memory loss may allow them to totally forget the details of what happened.

We thought Mom was ok to drive. She drove well.... we thought!! But she hit a parked car in a parking lot, drove off, and later had no memory of what had happened. But she was seen, her tag turned in, and there was a warrant for a hit and run accident issued. Lucky it was just physical damage to the car she hit and turning over the appropriate insurance information solved the warrant... but what if that was a child? Opened my eyes for sure and I made sure the doctor revoked her license immediately! Was she angry?!... you bet your bottom dollar she was one furious mama!! But we held our ground on that one. Having her out of control in the house or walking was one thing but turning her lose with a one ton killing machine was NOT going to happen. I understand the person's need to independence, integrity, positive reinforcement etc... but not at the expense of the lives of others.

So think twice before you give him more power.... Have his cognitive abilities tested related to driving so you will know for sure that he can be safe.

Love, deb

 
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:11 AM   #4
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Re: Dad wants a (very) fast car...how to talk him out of it?

Luau has interesting suggestion! Wash a sports car and play with it....

I am sorry your dad has early onset AD and it must be heartbreaking...

I don't have any concrete suggestion about this sports car issue. But I do know he will not be able to drive anymore. It happens often to the patients. What the families can do is to create a situation that is similar to this but it is fake. I mean, no way the patient can really drive out there. My late FIL always wanted to work but he stopped working for real in 2000. For almost 10 years from 2003, we played with him about his work fantasy. It does not mean we gave him a real job. He imagined that the NH where he lived for the last 2 years as a working place for him. He worked there and etc. That made him happy because he was antisocial otherwise.
What I am trying to say is that you and your folks should try to come up with something that replaces his wish to drive the sports car - this is personal. Luau's idea is funny but it may be so true. Of course you don't need to buy a new sports car. Get a used sports car. He would not understand the details anymore anyway.
I still feel that it is safer with no sports car whatsoever. Maybe you can bring him to watch car race and etc. Something to replace it. One day he may forget about it.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 08-22-2012 at 08:15 AM.

 
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:18 AM   #5
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Re: Dad wants a (very) fast car...how to talk him out of it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninamarc View Post
Luau has interesting suggestion! Wash a sports car and play with it....
You have to think like a guy to come up with something like this, Nina.

Seriously, most guys my age covets having their late- midlife crisis sports car. I ask myself, what would I really do with this car if I get one? Sure, I see myself driving it, but only on sunny days and only VERY carefully. But mostly, is is to satisfy my male ego just to possess one. So, I probably spend most of my time washing it, waxing it, shining it, and tinkering with it. In the driveway where everyone can see it, of course. And I spend a lot of time talking about it to all my friends. So you see, driving it is totally secondary.

If Shmr's dad is a car nut, and a natural tinkerer, why not give him a shiny **old** sports car to satisfy his soul? Give him something really covetable, like a '72 Jaguar XKE or an Austin Healey 3000. Never mind that it doesn't run. Just make sure it is sufficiently pretty and prestige-giving. It will be sooooo super once Dad restores it and puts it back into mint working condition. He may spend many, many happy hours out of trouble playing with the thing.

 
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:36 AM   #6
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Re: Dad wants a (very) fast car... how to talk him out of it?

shmr... I like Luau's suggestion. Just make sure it doesn't run and Dad will have to get it running If the cognition is good enough for him to fix it he can probably drive it... but my bet is he will never get it running and eventually back off the idea himself. We have to differentiate between needs and wants. He needs something to do and a self esteem boost. He wants a new shiny sports car. Blend the two in the right way and it's a win win for you both.

Love, deb

 
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:51 AM   #7
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Re: Dad wants a (very) fast car... how to talk him out of it?

shmr... I like Luau's suggestion. Just make sure it doesn't run and Dad will have to get it running If the cognition is good enough for him to fix it he can probably drive it... but my bet is he will never get it running and eventually back off the idea himself. We have to differentiate between needs and wants. He needs something to do and a self esteem boost. He wants a new shiny sports car. Blend the two in the right way and it's a win win for you both.

Love, deb

 
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