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Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:28 AM
Joined: 5/2/2018
Posts: 13

So over the winter Dad didn’t really try to drive at all.  But now it’s getting warmer and the roads are clear & he has been driving when he doesn’t think I know.  He outed himself by telling me he went to the cottage -40 miles away- when I was away overnight once. (I’ve also come to realize that he cannot stay alone overnight for 24 hrs anymore for other reasons- a change since last fall.)

Since he won’t voluntarily give up driving, I went to his Dr yesterday secretly, ahead of an appt today and I explained what is happening and that I need his help. Dad has outwardly said the only way he will stop driving is if the Dr tells him he can’t.  His license expires on Thursday, so I’m trying to do this now so we can just get him a non-driver ID.  I’m praying they tell him today that he can’t drive.  I told them he drove 40 miles one way by himself but he doesn’t know where or how to get to the doctors office.

For now I’ve been parking my spare truck in front of his bc he’s afraid to drive it since it’s too big & not his.  I’m not sure he recognizes that the key is hanging on the hook either.  He doesn’t know which one it is.  It’s a semi-covert way to keep him from driving but eventually he will tell me he wants it moved...

Wish me luck and hopefully today will be the last time I have to ask for Hep to stop him from driving. 

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 7:02 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2257

Ugh. The driving thing.

Good luck with the doctor. Dad's neurologist absolutely told him not to drive, but his geri-psychiatrist was willing to leave that up to a specially trained OT driving assessment. Dad couldn't make the appointment so it never happened. 

Other people here have disappeared the vehicle. Perhaps it could go into the shop where it is waiting indefinitely for a part from overseas. 

Of course, there's always the chance he's not telling the truth. Dad used to tell me about hanging out with friends and having drinks at the Member's Lounge located in the basement of the MCF where he lived. There was no lounge (he was conflating the one at his old golf club) and the MCF had no basement.
Eric L
Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 11:15 AM
Joined: 12/5/2014
Posts: 1291

I can't help much on this because my MIL got lost a couple of times and we told her that she would no longer be driving. While she wasn't very accepting of it, she did (vaguely) remember getting lost and it was early enough in the disease progression that she still maintained the ability to retain memories and had some capacity for rational thought.

She did tell my BIL one day that she was still a good driver and her only problem was that she got lost. One day when he went to the store, he took her with and let her drive. It was a store that she had shopped at for years (like almost 20 at that point) and couldn't remember how to get there. He also said that she was her driving skills were terrible. It was the last time that she drove a car.

One of the things that quite a few people will report on here is that "out of sight, out of mind" is really applied to those with dementia. You can disappear things and before too long, it will be like it never existed. Of course, they will also fixate on stuff which can cause problems if a car does disappear.

I tell folks the biggest transition that a family caregiver has to overcome is that they have learn how to be in charge. To me, that means taking action when it is needed. It seems like you have a good plan in place right and you are figuring out how to get Dad to stop driving. Don't be surprised if he doesn't accept the doctors recommendations or flat out tells you that the doctor said it was fine. You'll have to also have a plan B ready in case it does happen.
Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 11:22 AM
Joined: 9/16/2018
Posts: 49

We got a note from Mom's doctor and made copies and hung it by her keys. Despite that and many many conversations, she never remembered she couldn't drive. We took out a fuse and hid it so she and others would be safe. We tried to hide the keys but if the keys weren't hanging in 'their place' it would upset her and she would call us, very upset. 

As I read on here, we have to make decisions based on their worst day, not their best.  All logic and common sense are gone, I learned to not try to explain. It never helped and caused agitation and anxiety. 

Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 12:21 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035

Times 2,

You can call the Dept of Motor Vehicles and explain the situation. They will call him in for an exam.

Making the car disappear is an excellent idea.


Use Naomi Feil's Validation Method (get one of her books from your library. what you read o line is not sufficient.)


Good luck.
Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:50 PM
Joined: 4/11/2019
Posts: 7

We convinced my mom she "lost" her only set of keys (We really took them) and we called the Subaru dealership because she said she was going to have her car towed there and get a new key, and they are going to make it "very difficult" for her to get a new key. Now that we have guardianship per the judge she's not allowed to drive. But she doesn't get that. Eventually the car will be moved. Do what you've got to do.
Posted: Monday, April 29, 2019 1:13 AM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 27

Thank you for pointing that out. We have to make decisions based on their worst day and not their best day. This is vital. I have been having difficulties with family members regarding this specific issue. They think my LO will just decide she isn't capable of driving anymore. My LO has many good days but also has many not so good moments. If we base the facts on the good moments we are missing when they are having a bad moment it can really turn destructive and devastating.
Posted: Monday, April 29, 2019 1:19 AM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 27

Hi Times2,

Can you keep us updated on the situation? I'm going through a similar situation with my LO. She still wants to drive however she hasn't driven since before winter. I live with them and my car is parked in front of the garage. I wish everything goes well with your dad! It's a very difficult time to go through. <3

Thank you!

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2019 6:39 AM
Joined: 6/24/2012
Posts: 561

Hard things are hard.  My guiding principle with this one was imagining myself having a conversation with the family of a victim if she had a terrible accident.  How would I feel telling them that I was just too wimpy to take the car away from her?   Not to mention that a lawsuit would have lost her all of her savings.  
There are lots of ways to do this, but for some PWD the car can become an obsession as it did with my mom. (long story)  Seeing it in the driveway might fuel that. 
We found no help with Motor Vehicle... they would tell her who reported her.
Doctor would not give a note.  Said it was a family matter and he was not authorized to intervene.  
We had to do the knock down dragged on fight when she threatened to call the police for stealing her car.  It wasn't good. 
Good luck with this.  Hard things are hard.  

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 12:15 PM
Joined: 8/22/2019
Posts: 1

This is helpful. I think trying to explain to a LO with ALZ only makes it worse.

Needed this today

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 9:46 AM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 3

We are having the same issue but my dad has had no accidents (fender benders but they are always literally someone else's fault), no tickets, just a couple of dings in the car and a fence behind his garage. He is 93 years old and getting more fragile and less cooperative every day. He still lives by himself and takes care of his place. I am afraid to ride with him so when people ask if he is a good driver, I can't tell them that I have ridden with him. Maybe I am just borrowing trouble.
Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 10:31 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2257

33130 wrote:
 I am afraid to ride with him so when people ask if he is a good driver, I can't tell them that I have ridden with him. Maybe I am just borrowing trouble.

I side-eye this so hard. You won't drive with your dad but you're OK with him on the road with my kid? Nope. Not cool. 

Aside from the ethics involved, you need to be certain is competent to drive. If you are unsure, a specially trained OT can test him. If he were to be in an accident, his insurance may not cover him if he is driving AMA or if there is a dementia diagnosis in his medical records. The other driver(s) could potentially sue him for everything leaving you nothing to pay for caregivers or placement.

I know this isn't easy. I have taken the keys off both parents. Dad with dementia was a relative piece of cake compared to my mother who lost driving privileges to a vision issue that robbed her of her depth perception. She is currently being sued and the experience has been very difficult for her.

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 12:11 PM
Joined: 8/14/2019
Posts: 20

We went through this. Depending on the state you can have the license revoked. Though that isn't really a solution, a little piece of paper doesn't always stop people.

We dealt with this a year ago with GMIL. My husband and I kept telling GFIL she could not drive. She was getting lost and confused. We did not want her on the road. She would be dangerous to herself and others. It was a fight with GFIL to get him to understand that a short trip to the bank in town wasn't any safer than farther destinations. It wasn't about distance - it was about her mental capacity. And good luck telling her any of this. 

We sold her car and told her that it was in the shop for a few weeks. When she kept asking we explained that they couldn't fix it. That seemed to go well. We took her keys to the other car away and put a "car looking" key on that didn't go to anything so she wouldn't notice that her keys had been tampered with. We locked up our set of keys to the car and GFIL's set of keys to the car. The house still has one car. Her license expired a few months back, and for now explaining that it's expired is working. I know that one day that won't work so we'll have to change tactics.

It's really about being adaptive. And making use of those therapeutic fibs.

I have also found, in my personal experience, that it isn't totally about driving. We make sure to keep GMIL active. I tell her I need practice driving or my husband needs practice and we're happy to drive her around. She likes being out. We make sure she can get where she needs to so she doesn't feel anxious that she can't on her own. She's even started making jokes about "Driving Miss Daisy" or calling me her chauffeur.