1. Melon1980

    Melon1980 Registered User

    Nov 10, 2015
    1
    Hi
    My dad has had dementia for about 6 years now. He is capable of many things such as washing, dressing and he mobilises independently. However he is unable to read and find the correct words to hold a conversation, he has a child like view of the world around him and needs prompting at times to remember new activities. I am writing this as I am worried about his driving. He still has a driving licence. The DVLA are aware that my dad has dementia via his doctor and I have also emailed them. They wrote to my dad and asked him to complete a driving test about a month ago, I went through the letter with my dad though I don't think he grasped fully what it meant. The DVLA were then meant to send a letter with a date and time for the driving test, this has still to my knowledge not been received . My mum called the DVLA to find out what the delay was and they said they could not talk to her due to data protection! My dad has a habit of getting the mail and then hiding it. If this has happened I do not know. But my main concern is that my dad is still driving and is a risk to himself and others. He will not listen to my mum and myself, and gets very upset if we even mention that he may not be able to drive for much longer. What should be my next step? I was thinking of asking at the local police station? I would be greatful for any advice.
     
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    Does your mum have power of attorney? If she does the DVLA have to talk to her. The other route might be via your GP - explain the situation and ask if he will contact the DVLA. Just a thought. One other thing - could you lose the car keys or pretend to put the car in the garage because it needs fixing for a few days to give you some time?
     
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    sorry Melon I meant to say welcome to TP, lots of support on here, someone else will be along soon I'm sure with more experience than me.
     
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,815
    UK
    A friend of mine has the same problem with her elderly mother and so after getting nowhere through the usual channels, she is going to contact a testing office. I think her plan is to arrange an appointment for her mother and knowing that she will fail, she hopes that the office may advice DVLA and then push them into taking some action. Honestly not sure if she will get beyond initial phone call, but friend is getting very anxious about her mother's erratic driving.
     
  5. Adcat

    Adcat Registered User

    Jun 15, 2014
    289
    London
    Hello Melon,

    My advice - love lies.

    Hide the car keys.

    Say the car is broken down and needs to go to a garage.

    I know it's tough but you would never forgive yourself if something horrid happened. You know your folks better than anyone else. You now need to take the responsibility that no one else is.

    I've been in your situation December 2013. Dad went missing for 8 hours with the car. I nearly had a breakdown thinking of all the horrific situations that could have occurred. I was so relived when he came home that I hid the keys, disconnected the battery and flattened the tyres. Two days later he collapsed. I thank God he didn't collapse whilst driving. Only then did the GP listen to me.

    Take care x
     
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,809
    Female
    South coast
    If your dad was given an appointment for a driving assessment and didnt go, then I dont think that he will have a legal driving license.
    Does anyone have POA? If so, then the DVLA should talk to them.
     
  7. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    346
    Essex
    Such a horrible situation. I had to tell my lovely Dad 18 months ago that I didn't feel he should drive any more because he had been diagnosed with Vascular Parkinsonism. It was the worst thing I'd ever had to do up until that point but I knew I had to, because I am now, I feel, the only responsible adult left in the family.

    Dad is still mentally fairly sharp but his reaction times were severely affected by his condition even then. I knew that, even if his brain said 'BRAKE' his foot might not get the message in time and he could injure or worse himself, my Mum (who has Dementia), another driver or a pedestrian.

    When I was in conflict with myself about it I rang my local Age UK. The lady I spoke to told me that she had had a similar situation with her father and that her siblings had been unsupportive. In the end she had reported him to the DVLA and they had sent someone round to his house to demand a test there and then. When he had proved to be incapable the DVLA rep had taken the keys off him there and then.

    That seemed very brutal to me so I am so glad my Dad responded to my intervention. But, as others have said, you have to envisage what you would feel if your father hurt or killed someone, maybe a child. Then you will know what you have to do.
     
  8. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    535
    Female
    Surrey, UK
    Melon, I was in exactly the same situation as you only 4 months ago. My advice - take matters into your own hands. Now. Disable the car. It's not too difficult, all you need is an adjustable spanner to disconnect the battery lead. Chances are, from how you describe him, your dad won't have the skills needed to call up the garage/ rescue service to fix the car. Sympathise when he complains the car is broken, and if he asks for help, say something vague like the garage are waiting for the parts to arrive. This will buy you a bit of time to work out what to do next, and removes the immediate danger.

    One of the problems with dementia is that as the disease progresses, the sufferer loses their logic/ reasoning skills. They cannot comprehend that they have lost their driving skills, and will insist and insist that they are OK, when clearly they are absolutely NOT OK! There is a deep emotional attachment to driving as well, with its association with independence. The sufferer may never acknowledge that they are not fit to drive.

    In my case, I disabled my mum-in-law's car in July. I notified the DVLA about my concerns at the same time. We tried to get the GP involved, but it was really difficult to raise this topic with MIL in front of the GP, when we had so many other medical issues to resolve and she was so tearful all the time. The car sat there for about 2 months before, one day out of the blue, my dad-in-law said it was time to sell the car, and she just..... agreed! Just like that! :confused: We took the car away and sold it pronto!!

    The DVLA did, eventually, get around to revoking MIL's driving licence, about 3 months after I first notified them. By that time her car had been sold.
     
  9. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    539
    Female
    Shropshire
    My O H did not have his licence renewed this year. There was a long delay from DVLA and they wrote several times to let my OH know ..Eventually I contacted them they said they could not discuss it with me. I said that's fine I just want you to listen 48 hours later they wrote to let him know his licence wasn't being renewed on medical evidence received . Think they had that b just hadn't aconed anything.
     
  10. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,427
    Male
    Cornwall
    driving

    the dvla can request a person with dementia takes a driving assessment no problem if the person is a competent driver well he will pass , I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 16 years ago and still drive just returned from Tenerife 10th November drove a brand new hire car for 12 days in Tenerife retuned it without a scratch the landed at Bristol and drove to my home 190 miles life doesn't end with a dementia diagnoses you just need to be positive and do what's right or best for yourself ok I know everyone with dementia is different but just telling it the way I deal with dementia
     
  11. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    This article is in today's Daily Mail.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...cing-life-without-mum-agonising-question.html

    Not about dementia, just a heartfelt account of a little boy who lost his mummy because an older driver shouldn't have been on the road. There is a petition, currently with 140k signatures, asking for better testing.

    One bit stood out:

    Friends and families must take responsibility, too. I would ask anyone who knows an older person who should probably give up driving, but doesn’t know how to raise the issue with them, to pluck up the courage and find a way.

    If they don’t listen? Just tell them my story. Tell them that the two-year-old boy who lost his mummy is now five and is still so angry and upset that she can’t come back. Tell them he has suffered immeasurably from the trauma of that night. Show them his picture and ask them to imagine how much he has lost.

    Tell them that at 31 years old, when I married the love of my life, I was the happiest man alive. Tell them I was utterly bereft when I lost her just 14 months later. Tell them I’m 36 now and depressed.

    Tell them that I put a good face on, but that the truth is that things haven’t really got much easier. Tell them from me how hard it is to be a bereaved single parent.

    Tell them that it’s possible to kill a person no matter how short or familiar the journey they might take is. Tell them that once disaster strikes, no wishing the tables could be turned will help. Tell them that wanting to switch places with the young person they killed will make no difference to those who survive.
     
  12. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    108
    I had this situation a year ago with my Dad and so I know how hard it is. We tried for months to convince my Dad that he had to give up driving because of his memory issues and as he had no insight into them he completely refused to consider it. The DVLA wrote...but he couldn't remember reading the letters and it was just awful.
    Anyway ...he then went for a eye test and his eyesight was deemed not good enough to drive. And he accepted this straight away! Never got in the drivers seat of the car again and asked me to sell it immediately!!!
    A physical reason for giving up was considerably easier for him to accept than a memory issue he had no insight into.

    So I'm wondering if this might work for your Dad? Could you arrange to see the GP and the GP say his eyesight isn't good enough / or another physical reason?

    Just an idea anyway.
     
  13. cobden28

    cobden28 Registered User

    Jan 31, 2012
    442
    My stepfather died in 2004 not of dementia but he had Parkinson's in all but name; showed all the symptoms according to Mum but hadn't been formally diagnosed with Parkinson's, although apparently his father definitely did have Parkinson's.

    I was out shopping with my parents in 1995 and was standing behind the car, with my stepfather driving, guiding him to reverse into a very limited car parking space. When I reckoned he couldn't reverse any further I slammed my hand on the boot of the car to indicate he should stop immediately, but he didn't react at all - had I not got out of the way pretty darn quick I would have been squashed against a very solid brick wall and suffered quite serious injuries.

    He seemed quite surprised when I told him 'what the hell did he think he was doing' and to the end of his days he never realised his reactions to my STOP signal were just not fast enough. Thereafter (until he became incapable of driving two years later with a broken hip) I refused point-blank to get into a car if stepfather was behind the wheel; if his reactions weren't quick enough when trying to reverse into a tight parking space then what on earth was he like when driving on a busy road? I simply wasn't prepared to take the risk of either myself or my daughter then aged four being injured due to his unfitness to drive.
     
  14. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    As you'll see from others' responses, this is a common problem!

    I went through it with my dad about 18 months ago, and then my FIL a bit later. Going through the DVLA and GP was hopeless - way, way too slow and frustrating.

    In the absence of any other medical problem that you can use (in the end, we were able to make reference to my dad's eyesight), I'd do what others have suggested - disable the car in some way, hide the keys, etc. You will never succeed in explaining the risk or getting him to voluntarily give up driving.

    Without a doubt, people with dementia on the road are accidents waiting to happen. Ironically, my dad was knocked off his bike by a woman with dementia just before he developed the illness himself - we do wonder whether the knock to his head (he also broke a hip) precipitated it all.
     
  15. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,223
    Female
    The Sweet North
    This is a very powerful message, Chemmy. Very often on TP we read the words 'What if your relative who is no longer fit to drive killed someone?'
    Well this man and his son give us all the bleak answer to 'What if...'
    Shame on the NHS and DVLA for not doing more on this issue we read about so often on these pages.
     
  16. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    515
    I am wondering what the police or DVLA could do to help apart from taking away his driving licence - that doesn't stop him physically getting into the car and driving it, so if he doesn't remember/accept, nothing has changed.

    If you think an official letter from the DVLA would help, how about trying to fake one? Or, as other people have said, take him for an eye test and telling him he's failed, or disabling or removing the car for a while (or does your mum still need to drive it?)
     
  17. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,427
    Male
    Cornwall
    yes we here of some very sad stories with reference to people getting kill or badly injured through driving irrespective as to whether there the driver , passenger , or pedestrian and in 95% other those incidents are Not because the person driving has dementia , we can’t wrap ourselves away from life everyone from the day there born will eventually die at what age or how die best not to worry if we did we wouldn’t go out , I would hate to think any driver sets off on a journey to knock someone over and as said many times if a person passes the driving test or a driving assessment they have every right to drive irrespective of their medical condition , I myself just returned from Tenerife where I drove a Hire Car for 12 days a total of 1021.km’s without any problems what so ever and for those who visit Tenerife will know you certainly need your wits about you and to be Confidence and Ability to drive in Tenerife and yes I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1999
     
  18. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,182
    Contact your local Road Safety Office, they may well have a driver assessment scheme, which can give an independant opinion.
    Worked for my FiL.

    Bod
     
  19. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    Actually, I don't think it's about age, illness or disability, Tony.

    If a relative or friend feels that the person - for whatever reason, could even be drink or drug problems - isn't fit to drive, then they have a duty to society to do something about it.

    If you are not happy to be a passenger or would not let them drive your children around, then that should be triggering alarm bells.
     
  20. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,427
    Male
    Cornwall
    #20 Countryboy, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
    Hi Chemmy obviously your quite right , but dementia being shown and reported these days in the media it always reporting doom and gloom , actually there are thousands with dementia diagnoses who live very full active and normal lives achieving all manner of great things and of course there are those who can’t all I ever asked since becoming a Talking Point member in March 2005 it that we be judged as Individuals , regards who should or shouldn’t drive well the list would be endless so best leave it to the driving examiners or assessors let’s face it there the professionals on driving just as a note tomorrow I have a mental memory test I expect I will fail “Why” because 75% of the time the questions I don’t understand but to me that’s not a problem because I can google the answer problem solved ( my last memory test I was asked to point out from four animals marsupial never had a clue why because in 72+ years never heard the word before ) but I know now so never to old to learn !!

    But lets face it anyone can have an accident !!
    Lewis Hamilton will be fit to race in this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix despite a road accident in Monaco

    Hamilton revealed via Instagram that he had been involved in a road accident on Monday night but walked away unharmed.

    Nobody was hurt, which is the most important thing. But the car was obviously damaged and I made very light contact with a stationary vehicle.
     

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