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GPS for car
Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2020 7:55 PM
Joined: 8/8/2020
Posts: 25

I haven’t seen this topic and wonder if anyone has advice

My LO is not diagnosed but we believe she is just beginning stage 4

She only drives very locally and during the day light hours but recently had an incident 

where she didn’t know where she was.  She kept driving and finally got to a road she recognized 

There are gps products for cars.  Has anyone used them?

Gig Harbor
Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2020 10:30 PM
Joined: 3/10/2016
Posts: 687

She needs to stop driving. My husband was getting lost when he was driving alone but he didn’t tell me. One day I was driving with him and I realized he had no idea where he was. He actually thought it was funny and said he would eventually recognize something and find his way home. If he had been stopped he wouldn’t have known all the information the police would have asked. That was the last time he drove. When his brain was so impaired that he didn’t recognize an area he had worked in for 30 years I couldn’t trust his reaction time or his decision making skills. It is hard when you have to start curtailing activities.
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 1:07 AM
Joined: 4/4/2018
Posts: 207

The family lawyer only asked me one question.  "What will you testify to on the witness stand?"  My wife has not driven in 2+ years.  Hard at first but now its just the way things are.  We go everywhere together.  Sold the second car and saved a few dollars on that.   It's not an easy milestone to pass!
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 4:50 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3839

She needs to stop driving yesterday. If she should have a serious accident, you stand a good chance of losing everything you have. She has no business driving. Even though she might know how to operate a car, she cannot act properly in an emergency situation. It doesn't matter if she is driving only a few blocks from home. What if a kid ran out in front of her car? You would have a lawsuit on your hands even if it was the fault of the kid. And you would likely lose. If you have any grandchildren who are maybe 4 or 5 years old, would you allow them to be in the car with her alone?
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 6:01 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2480

She doesn't need GPS, she needs a driver. 

Dementia is about more than memory- it's about attention, reasoning skills, decision making- once these are compromised it is not safe for her to operate a car. If she were to get lost again she could end up in another state or a ditch somewhere. There are also the ethical and legal considerations around driving impaired. If she hurts someone, you could be sued. If she is known to have dementia, her insurance may not cover her. 

As an aside, by the time many PWD hit the middle stages of the disease, they often struggle with technology forgetting how to use their phones or TV remotes. Learning to use a new device would be impossible for most.
Rescue mom
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 7:11 AM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 1817

What everybody else said. Her driving must stop, for your own conscience and financial safety as well as others. I live in a senior-heavy retirement area. The local news is full of reports of elders with dementia who had accidents and end up in court. Lawyers comb reports looking to sue—and they will. Tickets and fault does not matter, it’s driving by an impaired person.Then everybody is in court, and judges are not sympathetic. 

Plus the ones who go missing for hours., terrifying themselves and family. Dementia is progressive. This time she found a way home. The next time? She may well not be so lucky.

invariably the grieving family says “it was just a few blocks,” or “she usually did fine for a short way.” 

Even with GPS the ability to handle unexpected events—a missed turn, a kid in the road, a detour—is severely compromised even at early stages.

I would also seriously doubt she could learn to use a GPS at this point. (Sounds like you have not). It would just be another distraction for her. 

Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 7:27 AM
Joined: 2/29/2020
Posts: 437

Trying, many of us here have been on situations with our LO where we couldn't be objective because we were just too close to the situation. The replies here are a little strident, but they are absolutely right. Your wife needs to stop driving, for her sake and everyone else's. As another poster said, dementia is about more than memory loss, it's about judgment and reasoning. And insurance will not cover an impaired person, even if not at fault. Please make her stop --- and if you'd like some advice on how to make that happen, feel free to start another thread.
Jo C.
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 9:08 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11495

Hello Trying; I can imagine the replies you have received are not what you were wanting to hear, but they are absolutely right on spot regarding what has been shared as difficult as that may be.

Driving short distances does not mean at thing . . . . my husband's fully intact cousin was killed in an auto accident a little less than a block away from home.  Devastating.

Ability to reason quickly within a second or two; ability to use adequate judgment, ability to problem solve in a split second, ability to have fast response times not only mentally, but physically - these are no longer intact with your wife.  She is in this respect, a danger to others as well as to herself. 

No GPS is necessary, it is simply and clearly time to stop your dear wife's driving to prevent a disaster to her and also to others.  It is the loving thing to do.

As mentioned, her continuing to drive and having an accident; the dread spector of a lawsuit against her and you would be very likely.  We live in a litigious society. NOTE:  The first thing attorneys do is to send for medical records of the driver. As an impaired driver, this would not bode well for your outcome, and because she was impaired, insurance may not cover any costs.  One could stand to lose all assets; it is not worth that risk.
Where we live, I can recall two drivers who had dementia and were still high functioning but were in fatal accidents; these two individuals, despite having dementia, were convicted in criminal court and are jailed.  Their estates were also sued and were held accountable.

 Please err on the side of caution and stop your wife from driving; this would be the kindest and most loving thing you can do for her even though it may initially cause some upset.  I do understand how hard this may be, however; it is a loving thing to do and at this point, she must depend upon your decisions and actions as she no longer has adequate judgment or reasoning to make this, the best decision for herself.


Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 11:42 AM
Joined: 5/22/2016
Posts: 313

I'll answer about GPS.

DH traveled a lot for his job. He relied on his GPS. Not long before he was diagnosed, he turned ONTO railroad tracks. Why? Because the GPS said to turn. He didn't recognize that the road he should turn onto was just after the tracks.

Just before his diagnosis, he got lost a couple of times in what should have been fairly familiar areas. While he had his GPS with him, he didn't think to use it. 

So no, I don't think GPS will help.

Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 12:25 PM
Joined: 6/13/2020
Posts: 147

 I never knew if my partner got lost. But twice I had to go and look for the car he had lost. He explained crazy stories. Some young people would move the cars for fun...

Several times there were body and tire problems. With me he drove well but I preferred to drive. It was before the diagnosis, one day I learned that the wife of one of my colleagues was killed by a car in the city center, on a crosswalk. Letting 4 young kids. Tonight I said he shouldn't drive anymore and the next day I took the car keys with me. He called me to ask me where they were but I didn't give in. It's difficult, but necessary

Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 12:34 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 3839

Trying, I'm sorry if it sounds like you are being chewed out. That is not the case. We are all here for each other, and when most replies in any thread (all of them here), even if it not something we really want to hear, it is because people here actually do care about you and your wife. It is really hard. As someone else mentioned, if you need suggestions on what worked for others, just start a new thread. You will get plenty of replies. Best of luck to you.
Jo C.
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 8:54 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11495

Hello Trying; I have been thinking of you this morning and am wondering how you are and how things are going.

You are a very loving and caring advocate for your dear wife; she is blessed to have you by her side.

I would love to know more about you and your wife;  Ed advises starting another Thread letting us meet you; that would be great.

We are all here in support of one another and that now includes you too.

Hoping to hear from you,


Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 9:20 AM
Joined: 8/8/2020
Posts: 25

Thank you for all the responses especially those who reached out in concern.
I was overwhelmed by the responses and have mentally shut down,  In my initial question I was not clear.   My LO is undiagnosis even though I have had her to PCP (3x), neurologist and MRI.  She barely passes the tests but she charms them.   I know something is wrong and trying to figure this all out       Thank you for the suggestion about a new thread to get advice on how to handled getting her to stop     I feel like crying all the time
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:10 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 19404

I am sorry that not all of the replies were seen as concerned. I promise that concern was behind all of them but I can understand that how they could be overwhelming.

A diagnosis is very important and it must follow correct protocol. Here is one article online. There are more.

Driving is a problem for maybe most of us here followed by discussions about UTIs. There comes a point where driving is a danger and the solutions are painful. The car can be disabled or has to go in for repairs. You will come up with what works at your house. This does mean that you become the driver and that is not something to look forward to.

A GPS will show directions for the driver but at some point will be too difficult to follow. Could a car tracker be helpful for finding the car?

There is a lot to not look forward to but we collectively are going to be here to help by sharing what we have learned. 



Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 2:27 PM
Joined: 5/22/2016
Posts: 313

I get shutting down because you're overwhelmed. And I get the frustration of looking for answers from physicians and getting no help. I was there for several YEARS before someone finally diagnosed DH. He drove (see above about our GPS problems) because no one said he couldn't and with no diagnosis except "stress and depression", why shouldn't he drive? Add in to that my husband's age - late 40's - and things were a mess in my house.

Just want to say take your time dealing with all this. If it is dementia, the progress is usually slow. Take small steps, and you'll eventually get to where you need to be.


Jo C.
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 3:17 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11495

Hello again Trying; your second Post explained things more fully. I am deeply sorry for the challenges you have been facing and can certainly understand the concern and stress this may well be causing.

It would be great, once you feel up to it, to start a second Thread with the new information in it as you did here; you will get much good input from so many of us who have been in similar situations and understand.  Lots of good experiential wisdom here..  

Hope to see you soon and in the meantime, I send warmest of thoughts your way,