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Driving
Internal Administrator
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Joined: 1/14/2015
Posts: 40463


Originally posted by: Gail H.

Hi, I am new to the group, and wanted to introduce myself. My mom has ALzheimers, early stages, but progressing. She still drives - very few places, but still is behind the wheel. When she was tested this year, the neuropsychologist recommended she be tested for driving....
She is still pretty functional, but I am so afraid if something were to happen, and she hurt someone, they could lose everything. I have broached this with my dad, and he doesn't want to take away this last bit of independence. Can anyone share with me how they went about it. I really thought she would just give it up, as she won't go very far anyhow. So far, she has not gotten lost, and is a VERY cautious driver....BUT..........she should not be driving....
Thanks for your help.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: gatorMOM

Gail, I posted this in another thread, but I wanted to share with you my experience. I have now gone through this twice. Err on the side of caution and don't have regrets down the road.

My FIL was a practicing attorney. He was always the forgetful kind of man. As the years past, there were signs that he should not be driving. Heck, he was a practicing attorney, why would his kids or wife take away his keys??

One day, after leaving the office, he got lost and forgot how to drive. He never stopped when he saw a woman in a crosswalk. She was in her 50's and a new grandma. She was in a coma for a month before she died. They lost over a million dollars in a lawsuit.

My husband of 21 years has not yet been diagnosed, but I do believe he has EOAD. He has every symptom in the book and then some. Tomorrow, he goes for the psych-neuro testing. In February, he "forgot" how to drive and was in a very bad car accident. He doesn't even know how or why the car ended up where it did.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say here....

No matter how much you love and care about someone, think about the others on the road. I thank God each and every day that none of my 4 children were in the car at the time of the accident. I regret not stepping up to the plate when I saw the same symptoms so many years ago in my FIL.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Tobias

Gail,
My grandmother lives with us and she has demensia, she hasn't driven in several years. I know that it's hard for your dad to realize but she will get to the point where she can't remember how to get home or to where she is going. My grandmother is still convinced she can drive everywhere but instead of letting her drive we just tell her that "we'll drive this time." She doesn't ever really get upset and it might help to make the transition that way instead of having her retested, that might make her upset. I think that it's easier to let them believe they can drive and not let them drive, that way their individuality is not destroyed in the process. I hope this helps!
-Tobias
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: daughtercaretaker

Billye,
I am facing a similar situation. I am the youngest of 3, my 81 yr. old very stubborn, in denial, Mom lives with me, my husband, my children 7 and 5. She has been informed by the doctor she can not drive, yet she feels that since she holds a drivers license that expires in 2008 and has such a great driving record, no one can tell her she can't drive. She is having both auditory and visual hallucinations, always informing us of something regarding talking about her car, these "people" wanting rides, taking the car in the middle of the night.... My brother did take the car away before Easter, but since she lives with me 24/7 boy oh boy, do I hear about it daily. Yes it is heartbreaking, since I know that gave her independence and "ownership" but no matter how we reason that we love her, concerned for her safety and others, we are the bad ones. I am having a very difficult time, especially with my own family and children. I have had such difficulty getting any assistance, since my Mom feels there is nothing wrong with her and don't tell her you don't see or hear that... Day by day for now.
Best wishes,
Jamie, IL
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Bettyhere

Driving is a very difficult problem for those caring for someone w/AD. Here are a couple of websites that will help you understand and give examples of how to stop the driving. I'd hate to have my car taken, and I know there are some people who will drive to their own funeral before they'll give up their car keys.

www.thehartford.com/alzheimers

http://agelessdesign.com/FAQ-Driving.htm

Some of the topics on the website below, like 'what you need to know' will help you to understand what the AD person is going thru and respond with less frustration.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: daughtercaretaker

quote:
Originally posted by Billye:
I am new to this site, but feel that it will be very helpful to me. My Mom has the early stages of alzheimers and is VERY defensive. She lives about 150 miles from me so I don't see her but about once a month, but talk with her each day by telephone. She is at the point that thinks my brother is stealing from her ( which I'm sure this is not true), doesn't pay her bills, still determined to be in control of her life. She doesn't take her meds as prescribed, but always assures us that she does when my brother and I have proof that she doesnt. Still drives a few places, but can get lost very easily. I'm sure that sometimes she gets lost and we don't know anything about it. This disease has really made her "mean" toward us 2 kids, which is not like my mom. It's like someone we don't know. My heart is broken over this and i'm having a rough time dealing with it, as well as my brother. We have tried to talk to her about assisted living and she was very definite about it. ..NO! I feel really helpless being so far away. She has an answer for anything you ask, she covers this up well.
I've also noticed that her attention span is very short. She is constantly flipping through the TV. Any words of wisdom from you girls that have gone through this. I love my Mom so much and want to do what is best for her, but it's hard when she is so defensive.
Billye

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Texas Kay

quote:
Originally posted by Mary O:
Our family just notified the DMV about FIL. They sent him a letter telling him he had to be retested. He assumed it was just due to his age. He failed and they suspended his license. We thought it would be a huge blow up but we were wrong. He has started riding his bike again and walking. Maybe deep down he knew he had a problem but didn't want to admit it to us or himself. I wish you luck with this issue. It is tough to take away someones independence but you could be saving the life of your loved one or someone else.

Good luck!


Thanks - I just sent this off to the DMV - so hopefully, the same thing will happen with my aunt. She has been diagnosed with AD and just refuses to quite driving - nobody is going to tell her that she can't drive...so, hopefully, this will be the answer!
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: KAnne

Hi-- I have a success story on this topic. I don't know why, but when the neurologist told my godmother that she shouldn't drive anymore (she has been given a diagnosis of vascular dementia), she just stopped driving. Last Sat. she told me she wanted me to have her car! I didn't have to twist her arm or anything! So I picked it up yesterday--the registration and title seem to be missing.... but the good news is that she won't be driving it! And I can breathe a sigh of relief on that account.

I'm sure there are other fights ahead--I'm just glad that this one seems to have been easy.
--Kathy
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: #7of 14

Gail:

We had the neurologist be the "bad guy" in telling my Mom she could no longer drive. He assured her, with our blessing, that with 14 children, she would never have a problem getting a ride anywhere. She gave up her car keys immediately, but it took a good 6 months before she was accepting of the fact that she could no longer safely drive. We all had to listen to her tell us that she was a good driver and that she knew where she was going, but we tried to emphasize on safety and the fact that with so many cars in a parking lot, she may not be able to recognize hers. Thankfully, we are well beyond that hurdle, and she hasn't even mentioned driving for over 18 months.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Missing My Mom

Gail:

You might want to check out a GPS (Global Positioning System) for your mother's car. From what I understand, a device can be installed in the car and she really doesn't have to know it's there. You would have the capability to read and view where she's going and how long she's there. Companies use the same technique to track their drivers (UPS, FEDEX, etc). I think I have this right. I checked on the system just a few months ago for my mother. I was just at the point of seriously considering having the unit installed - when my mother got really sick (UTI) and had to be hospitalized. While there we learned that she had DRIVEN herself to the emergency room the day before and had no recollection of doing so. We (my husband and I - I'm an only child) learned from others that she had been confused in parking lots, went to WalMart every day, etc., but managed to return home. Little did we know that she was having major driving problems...she hid it quite well. Her doc told me that she could NOT DRIVE anymore and that she couldn't live by herself either. She is now living with us. I consider myself very lucky that she didn't hurt someone or herself. You have a legitimate concern. Keep an eye out for her and her habits. Trust me, Alz patients hid this the best. Please let me know what happens. Pamela PPAMELA875@aol.com
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: lbm34

Hello- I am new to this posting and to the entire dementia experience. Only child, dealing with a very stubborn early stage mom. I took her car key away after she drove a few towns over, parked it, wandered off and couldn't find it. I have no idea how she got home - she said a lady drove her home- she was alright and had the car key in her possession. Yet the car was missing for a full day and she told me it was stolen. After filing a police report, a friend and I drove around looking for it. Found it parked at a meter, locked, not a dent or scratch on it. Long story short- the key comes up everytime I see her and I just tell her I'm holding on to it for a little while. She yells, pounds her fists, etc, and then it passes. Very stressful for me, but I'm doing my best. My Mom hid the fact that she wandered with the car for a long time- until this incident. If you feel in your gut that your mom might not be safe behind the wheel, you're probably right. Heaven forbid she has an accident or gets picked up wandering while looking for the car like my mom did. Also- you might want to think about the Medic Alert/Safe return program.

Good luck!
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: *Debi

HI Pamela:
I too am an only child, but so is my Dad who was just diagnosed w/ AD. Any suggestions? He still drives but I don't know how. Thanks.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Billye

I am new to this site, but feel that it will be very helpful to me. My Mom has the early stages of alzheimers and is VERY defensive. She lives about 150 miles from me so I don't see her but about once a month, but talk with her each day by telephone. She is at the point that thinks my brother is stealing from her ( which I'm sure this is not true), doesn't pay her bills, still determined to be in control of her life. She doesn't take her meds as prescribed, but always assures us that she does when my brother and I have proof that she doesnt. Still drives a few places, but can get lost very easily. I'm sure that sometimes she gets lost and we don't know anything about it. This disease has really made her "mean" toward us 2 kids, which is not like my mom. It's like someone we don't know. My heart is broken over this and i'm having a rough time dealing with it, as well as my brother. We have tried to talk to her about assisted living and she was very definite about it. ..NO! I feel really helpless being so far away. She has an answer for anything you ask, she covers this up well.
I've also noticed that her attention span is very short. She is constantly flipping through the TV. Any words of wisdom from you girls that have gone through this. I love my Mom so much and want to do what is best for her, but it's hard when she is so defensive.
Billye
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Annie44

It took another accident and two tickets 15 minutes apart before I made HD stop driving. It is still hard but I think he was actually relieved. If you think she shouldnt be driving then she shouldnt. I have heard that some MD's base their rec on the MMSE score? It just isnt worth the risk. I told my DH, OK< so you cant drive- lets focus on what you can do. Now, the next hurdle will be how long can he be alone during the day while Im at work.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: MToddL

I was caregiver to my mother in law. Her car was one of the most important parts of her idenity. A concerned neighbor came up with an idea. They disconnected the battery and prepared a sign stating "Dangerous-battery disconnected--car has major gas leak and may explode" Well she would ask about the keys - even get the keys- attempt to start it. Would look under the hood and read the sign. Often a smile would come on her face and she would say --- oh well. Now there were times she would attempt to call a repair person - we intervined during thoes times. At one point - knowing I was a mechanic - she pushed my button - thinking I could just use the car to drive her around I repaired it...not to bright on my part. While I was "fixing" it she was in getting ready, bathed, combed hair, but great dress and make up on .. grabbed the key, got in the car and with an attitude drove off. Very worried I looked for her..long time passes and she drives in. Later she did it again and I was followed her and with cell phone called the police. Told them there was this car...driving erraticly - a danger to all - explained who it was --- they seem to know her --- two patrol cars intercepted her with sirens and ligts flashing and gave here a moc ticket for driving with out a license (it had already been terminated some time ago with her insurance as well) They instructed me to drive her home and have the car towed. That really helped fix a memory of how bad it was. After that I drove her every where..sometimes she would say she wanted to drive and I recalled the blue lights experience and she would smile again and the desire would pass. Dont know if this will work for yours. Think we as caregivers need to get very agressive to keep them and the public out of harms way on the road. So anything you do (legal or not) is the right think. MToddL
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: crella

I read the posts about the DMV revoking licenses wishing we had a similar test here... in Japan as of yet no one has the power to deny a license. MIL spent thousands of dollars over the past two years fixing her car. She banged into telephone poles, scraped other cars in parking lots, it got to be pretty frequent.

When she was due for her license renewal I called the licensing center and our local police to give them a heads up, hoping they'd watch for her and to my surprise they told me that all they can do is 'suggest that someone give up driving, we can't take away a license it's a basic right as a citizen'. I asked if it was true even if I could produce a doctor's letter saying that she had AD and they said that they cannot take anyone's license away. I thought 'Oh, just ducky!' I talked to her doctor and they don't have the legal right to make recommendations regarding driving either.

As she can still perform tasks if she puts in a tremendous effort and the driving test is only 15 minutes, she got her license! I couldn't believe it. We lived with our hearts in our mouths until one day she had an accident involving another car. She hit a stopped car while pulling out onto the main drag, the other car was waiting to pull in to the smaller side street. She called me and told me 'My car slid, just slipped right into another car'. My husband took her keys away that day. It's been a year and at least once a week she makes sarcastic comments about not having a car ('One day I'll starve to death because I can't go shopping').

I hope that they will put some guidelines in place here too like they have in the US. MIL still thinks she should be driving 'because they gave me my license, that means I can drive!'
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Blessed in Cal

In some states the diagnosing doctor of AD must report the person the the DSO (Driver's Safety Office) run by the state to ensure they are able to drive. In my LO's case, she threw away 3-5 letters from the DSO requesting an appointment, warning of a suspension and eventually suspending her Driver's License. It was months before we found out. Luckily you can request a hearing and a make-up appointment. The test consists of a written, verbal and driving examination. My LO made up her own reality-that she could still drive until her birthday which was months away.
You only have to look at the news to see the risk of driving with AD, not to mention the financial cost of repairs and lawsuits b/c your insurance will not cover a suspended driver.
BTW, if your doctor does not report a driver you can do it anonymously as a concerned family member/friend.
If all else fails, disable the car or garage door.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: jpcc

i was diagnosed with AD a few months ago i heard the neurologist tell my wife that i shouldn't drive i am 70 and both my wife and i are retired so we are together most of the time she is a great driver so really no problem i gave up my keys great however i became the worst back seat driver you ever saw arms and legs flaling at nothing really i now literally sit in the back seat behind the drivers seat so i dont see what is ahead it works very well just a tip for whomever needs it jpcc
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Wiserblond

My father is in the moderate stage of AD at 79. My mother is legally blind (macular degeneration)and unable to drive. She has been co-piloting my father, but recently acknowledged that he shouldn't drive any longer. He has trouble remembering how to open the car door and has run the battery down twice by leaving the car on, or lights on. He tells us "people have been driving the car" or "they took the car and did that" when we discover the car won't run.
They live with us in a in-law apartment and he has become increasingly confused and aggressive especially when my mom explains that I am driving them somewhere.
The Dr. is treating him for AD and knows that he drives...but hasn't notified the DMV as California law requires. I am going to print out a letter for the DMV for my mother to take to the MD for him to submit and request that he discuss it with my father. The idea of the prescription reminder of not to drive is also excellent!
I have been hesitant to contact the DMV directly for fear that they would reveal who notified them of the AD and request for reassessment. Does the DMV reveal who contacts them? My father becomes very agitated throughout the day when he asks why he isn't driving my mom to the store instead of me. I fear how angry he will become if it is revealed that we notified the DMV. I realize that it is too late and if I have to be the fall guy, he can hate me. I have stayed out of it because I try to respect my mom's decisions on how to care for him and respect their privacy and independence as much as I can.
Lately my dad doesn't even recognize me or my mom throughout the day, so it shouldn't be a problem.
I just believe that with a doctor's reminder and a letter from the DMV, he can focus his anger on them and not my mom. He is on meds to control his agitation and hallucinations and so far is not violent, but I worry about my mom dealing with it all as she is already overwhelmed and refuses respite care relief or support from others.
I have signed on to this group so I can better assist her and help her adjust to having in home assistance as it is time for outside help. Right now our biggest concern is keeping my dad off of the road.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: ms_kris

Just an update, my mom had my grandmother's physician fill out the form for us. She was great and didn't mind being the fall guy. It was faxed in yesterday so we'll see how it goes.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Elderly Odds N' Ends

Many hospitals now offer simulators as part of their Physical Therapy Dept. For a nominal fee you can test their response time & capabilities...a nice tool to have on hand. I believe it is associated with Total Rehab at Flower Hopt in Toledo. I too have had people use the State by sending out a driving instructor to drive with the elderly and assess their capabilities. In one case I know they determined that a shunt was limited the driver's ability to assess traffic in the adjacent lane and consequently revoked the license. The state DMV was contact through the GP (family doc). Another thing families have shared with me they have done is something simple like removing a spark plug or deflating a tire and then get them used to the idea of being "stranded" and gradually introduce the idea through procrastination of car maladies, a little diceiving but it works. If there are professionals communicating "it's time to quit driving" it can save face for the family.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Sandy J.

My Mom's Dr. said she couldn't drive. My mom still insists she is fully capable and still has a valid drivers licence. She is scheduled for a medical drivers test soon. I read in the book (on the front of the Alz. site) that it is sometimes helpful to have the Dr. write on an actual perscription that the patient is not allowed to drive. I had that done. My mom still "forgets" that she is not supposed to drive or that the doctor ever said that. Then I pull at the perscription so she could see it. That stopped the discussion for at least that time. She still fight it and it is the thing that she hates most "losing her independence". We have a lady that will drive her to dr. appts, hair appts, store... but it still upsets her. But this does seem to work in the middle of a discussion. Try it, it can't hurt.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: JeanieFrances58

My father has alzheimers and is in the final stages. Last fall I wrote a letter to the governor requesting that elderly people (80's) be required to take a test. They sent me a form for his Dr. to fill out and return...then they sent him a letter stating he could no longer drive...which he tossed out. He consistly asks where his little truck is, it is in the driveway. He still gets violent when he requests the keys and we tell him they are lost. I finally had a deputy come and explain why he cannot drive, an age restriction, which he forgot in 5 minutes. I had to hire someone, at $15 an hour to take him to the VFW twice a week to visit his friends, so far this has made him happy, no more violent outbursts where he hurts my mother. I know this will not last for long, but for now it works. This is just so hard.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Mary O

Our family just notified the DMV about FIL. They sent him a letter telling him he had to be retested. He assumed it was just due to his age. He failed and they suspended his license. We thought it would be a huge blow up but we were wrong. He has started riding his bike again and walking. Maybe deep down he knew he had a problem but didn't want to admit it to us or himself. I wish you luck with this issue. It is tough to take away someones independence but you could be saving the life of your loved one or someone else.

Good luck!
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: ms_kris

Wow, thanks so much for this post! My mom and I were just trying to figure out how to tell my grandmother who has AD she can no longer drive. She has moved from Stage 4 to Stage 5. So far my mom has been successful at changing her driving privileges as her abilities decreased. First it was no night driving and only in her familiar neighborhood etc.

The problem with this is that my grandfather who stopped driving a couple years ago sends her out to do all his bidding. He has gotten mean (just mean no AD) and will force her by yelling at her and intimidating her to go out at night and get him ice cream, etc. Her functioning and memory has declined and we have also noticed a couple minor scrapes on the car that she has no recollection of receiving.

Anyhow, we know it is now time for no driving at all. We were so worried about having this conversation as my grandmother is adamant about driving and my grandfather is verbally abusive to her. Thanks to this thread I linked to our state DMV and see they have an easy policy of medical notification by email, phone call or letter. All we have to do is notify them with her address, birth date and reason and they will investigate. Phew.

Now we just have to find a way for her to get out to bowling and the senior center so she can still enjoy her independence.

Thanks everyone.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Sandy J.

Well, we had a consultation with the Doctor and my Mom did take the driving test. She failed miserably, so bad that the doctor adminitrating the test stopped early. They have an appointment to tell my mom, and let her know that DMV has to be notified and that they will resend her drivers licence. I don't expect that she will be to happy about it. Up till now it was just her doctors orders not to drive untill the test was done, and she has done that for several months, but making it permanent and revoking her licence will really upset her.

My sister is not looking forward to the day she has to drive her car away to sell it, she really doesn't love the car, it will be just what that symbolizes.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: stolli

We have just found out my dad has AD, although we have suspected it for some time. He was stubborn about finding a new DR. when his retired. He is very prideful and doesn't want to admit failure or weakness. Always a sweet, loving dad, we want to treat him the same. But this disease makes him want to argue about issues that he can't remember. He should not drive anymore, but doesn't want to give up. He can't remember the tough conversations we have already had several times about it. Right now the car is dead and he is obsessed with it. Going out and checking under the hood, then leaving the hood up and thinking my sister or I did it. It is so hard knowing what to do about it. I guess at least he is safe as long as the car is not running, but he won't leave it alone. Do we remove the car? I really think he needs assisted living, then I guess it won't be an issue anymore. I don't mean to ramble, this is just all so distressing.
I appreciate the stories I have read, any other advice?
Thanks and God bless,
stolli
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: Crazed

When we realized my mother could no longer drive safely, we told her we lost the key to the padlock on the driveway gate. She would ask us repeatedly to take her to the hardware store to make a copy, but we'd change the subject and she would forget about it. She was very resourceful though and walked to the neighbor's house to see if he would cut off the padlock for her. Fortunately, he knew what was going on and said he didn't have the right tools. My mother still thinks she drives every week even though it's been two years since she was behind the wheel of a car. Her license expired in January and she told us she didn't care, that she would drive with or without a license, etc. She is very feisty. When we told her she might hurt someone, she also did not care. Some people are more compliant than others. My mom does not fit in that category. It's a constant challenge.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: J.Gilbert

Posted June 10, 2006 05:42 AM
Bill and I are both memeber of AAA and I just found this on their website:
"AAA Roadwise ReviewTM is available to AAA Texas members at any AAA Texas office for only $5 (nonmembers pay $7)."
I hope this help anyone looking for the CD. Go to www.AAA.com and search for it.

Gail, I was having a problem with my husband wanting to keep our car while I was working. I went and bought the CD and of course he DID NOT pass it. This might help you determine your Mom's ability to drive. It's hard but she will probably realize in some of her more lucid moments (as Bill did), the possibility of her hurting and innocent person.
Good luck!
Judy
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:45 AM
Originally posted by: tiamegjo

When we decided that MOL could no longer driver, we had to be creative. MOL drove for hours when her AD wasn't so bad. Driving was her last big of independence. When she finally stopped driving, MOL went through a depression, this lasted about 3 weeks. Now she doesn't think anything of it, actually thinks she hasn't driven in years. The only real problem is that she wants to go for rides constantly. Which is better then having her on the road driving.