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Denial - My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a week ago…

vickylondon

New member
Jul 25, 2021
8
0
And is in complete denial. I don’t know what to do to best help him.

He is resisting taking the medication prescribed as doesn’t feel he needs it yet. And is refusing to fill in the dvla form and contact his insurance company re his diagnosis as has got it into his head they will tell him he has to stop drivi g even though the doctor said she saw no reason why ge couldn’t carry on driving at the moment.

I obviously can’t force him to accept this and to do the necessary/advised stuff! Re the driving he is going to visit family this week and doing a 5 hour drive and I worry something will happen and if he hasn’t informed the relevant bodies will get in trouble even if anything that may happen might not be his fault. He just argues whenever myself or mum gently mention it…

and re the medication has anyone else had a loved one not want to take it even though if no side effects wouldn’t hurt to try it?? Any tips I. How approached would be so welcome!

it’s relatively early stages although I notice a decline in him frequently. How long can it be left before you need to be a bit more insistent that some things are done even if he is still struggling to accept his diagnosis? I don’t want to upset him and want him to have the best life he can.

When should things like lasting power of attorney be mentioned? My dad has always handled everything and will be very stubborn in thinking he doesn’t want/need help. But I don’t want to leave it too late and then struggle to sort this stuff out!

sorry for the ramble. I’m completely devastated and trying to get my head round it myself! Thank you in advance to anyone that replies x
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,524
0
Hi @vickylondon and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I'm glad you've found us as you'll find lots of support here, but sorry that it's your dad's diagnosis that has brought you here.
Maybe if you can, don't mention the diagnosis for a few days so that your dad doesn't think you're nagging him. However there are some things that need to be done sooner rather than later. Your dad could be fined for not reporting his diagnosis to the DVLC and certainly it would invalidate his insurance. Others who have been in this position will be along to tell you more, but I think you can report the change on his behalf. He may need to take a test to check he is safe, but there is no reason to stop driving is he is safe just yet. I am concerned about such a long drive though.
Also doing Lasting Power of Attorney will be very useful down the line. Maybe you could all do it, or at least pretend to, to show him it's something everyone over a certain age should do. My mum, who was firmly in denial about her cognitive decline was happy to do an LPA because her friend told her she should. Has you dad got any trusted friends you could get on board?
As for medication, again I have no real experience as my mother has vascular dementia which the drugs used to slow down Alzheimer's don't help with. It's very common not to want to take the drugs, but again leave it a few days and maybe try again. I'm sure others who've found ways to persuade their loved ones to take the drugs will be along with their tips soon.
Now you're here have a look around, the search bar at the top of the page may be help you find other threads that touch on these topics.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
74,111
0
Kent
Hello @vickylondon

I reported my mother to the DVLA when I became concerned about her driving. They didn`t tell her I had reported but they did write to her and ask her to return her licence. I blamed it on the doctor although years later she said she knew it had been me, By then, I was able to take it.
This was years ago and the procedure may have changed since then.

My husband refused medication and the GP said he would just put it on record that he was refusing it. One day he told me he didn`t feel well. I said it was because he wouldn`t take his medication and then he agreed. This was diabetic medication but it would be the same process.

I wouldn`t mention the diagnosis at all. It`s such a scary diagnosis to accept and in my opinion, the least said about dementia, the better. I referred to my husband`s memory difficulties but that is all.

I hope this helps.
 

vickylondon

New member
Jul 25, 2021
8
0
Hello @vickylondon

I reported my mother to the DVLA when I became concerned about her driving. They didn`t tell her I had reported but they did write to her and ask her to return her licence. I blamed it on the doctor although years later she said she knew it had been me, By then, I was able to take it.
This was years ago and the procedure may have changed since then.

My husband refused medication and the GP said he would just put it on record that he was refusing it. One day he told me he didn`t feel well. I said it was because he wouldn`t take his medication and then he agreed. This was diabetic medication but it would be the same process.

I wouldn`t mention the diagnosis at all. It`s such a scary diagnosis to accept and in my opinion, the least said about dementia, the better. I referred to my husband`s memory difficulties but that is all.

I hope this helps.
Thank you. We actually aren’t concerned about his driving as he doesn’t seem to have any problems yet. And I can’t report him - I just can’t do it to him. The doctor said she would put that she felt he was able to drive in the letter but didn’t so I think he is worried that he will have to stop driving if he fills in the form.
 

vickylondon

New member
Jul 25, 2021
8
0
Hi @vickylondon and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I'm glad you've found us as you'll find lots of support here, but sorry that it's your dad's diagnosis that has brought you here.
Maybe if you can, don't mention the diagnosis for a few days so that your dad doesn't think you're nagging him. However there are some things that need to be done sooner rather than later. Your dad could be fined for not reporting his diagnosis to the DVLC and certainly it would invalidate his insurance. Others who have been in this position will be along to tell you more, but I think you can report the change on his behalf. He may need to take a test to check he is safe, but there is no reason to stop driving is he is safe just yet. I am concerned about such a long drive though.
Also doing Lasting Power of Attorney will be very useful down the line. Maybe you could all do it, or at least pretend to, to show him it's something everyone over a certain age should do. My mum, who was firmly in denial about her cognitive decline was happy to do an LPA because her friend told her she should. Has you dad got any trusted friends you could get on board?
As for medication, again I have no real experience as my mother has vascular dementia which the drugs used to slow down Alzheimer's don't help with. It's very common not to want to take the drugs, but again leave it a few days and maybe try again. I'm sure others who've found ways to persuade their loved ones to take the drugs will be along with their tips soon.
Now you're here have a look around, the search bar at the top of the page may be help you find other threads that touch on these topics.
Thank you. I’m really struggling as feel like I have to be strong for my dad and my mum. But I’m falling to bits and feel desperately sad. And only way o know how to cope is to do and be practical but as dad can’t admit what he has been diagnosed with I can’t help him and feel completely useless!
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
5,867
0
Southampton
its still needs notifying and the insurance company need to be told as he might not be covered if he doesnt tell them. then the police could book him for not having insurance and they seize the car now rather than producing documents to a police station.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,524
0
My mother was probably quite a lot older than your dad when I realised that what I'd thought of as her personality becoming more difficult with age was actually dementia. I'd had time to get used to, so it didn't come as such a shock.
As for your dad not admitting that he has dementia, a very common feature of the disease is anosognosia. That means that the person with dementia genuinely doesn't perceive that they have any difficulties. Any problems that they do come across they blame on others rather than themselves. So my mum accused the neighbours of coming in, taking her things and then returning them. Of course what was really happening was that mum was hiding things to keep them save or not recognising them, and then either finding them or remembering them later. The best thing is to not ignore it, but just quietly sort out what needs to be sorted out, while support him. This thread might be of use Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired. I found it tricky to use with my mum, but when I did things did go better.
Although it feels like 'dobbing' your dad the DVLC and the Insurance company, it is something that needs to be done otherwise he could end up in a lot of bother over it.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
971
0
If I remember correctly, when the DVLA send out that form it comes with a threat attached that refusing to return the form will result in automatic revokation of his licence. The insurance company must be told about the diagnosis but unless he has been advised not to drive, he can still get insurance. Unfortunately your situation is common and I went through a lot of pain over this as my father is similarly in denial. He was advised not to drive and his licence was revoked but he still cannot accept it.

You should get power of attorney sorted out as soon as you can. If you don't your problems in the future will be much more difficult. I don't know what I'd have done without it on so many fronts, not the least of which was selling my dad's car against his wishes, which just had to be done otherwise he might have driven it. I determined that he lacked capacity to decide to keep the car, but could not have done the sale without the LPA. All these things take time so start early.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
74,111
0
Kent
And I can’t report him - I just can’t do it to him

It`s the most awful action many of us have had to take but there are so many implications they don`t bear thinking about.

Anything you need to do to keep your dad safe as well as the general public I suggest you would be doing for him, not to him
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
971
0
Although it feels like 'dobbing' your dad the DVLC and the Insurance company, it is something that needs to be done otherwise he could end up in a lot of bother over it.
What is worth remembering is that dementia is progressive, and the bureaucracy involved in forcing a person to cease driving is very slow. It is a difficult judgement but when there are signs that you need to act, don't delay. You have to see it as protecting the PWD from himself. The danger is that he might injure himself or other people in a road accident.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,946
0
High Peak
Unfortunately with dementia, things can change quickly. I am horrified that the doctor said he was OK to continue driving - how does she know? Has she seen him drive or been in a car with him? Is she an expert on driving skills? Would she let her own father drive her children knowing he had dementia, even if he seemed 'OK' for now? I very much doubt it! She really shouldn't be making that judgement. If you have dementia (or anything else that might impact your driving) you can take a special test via the DVLA - that would be best for your dad.

Driving problems seem to come in 2 areas. The first is actual driving skills, i.e. poor judgement, lack of confidence, slow reactions, using the wrong pedal (yes it happens) etc. The second part is navigation - the person often starts getting lost, even on familiar routes. Following/interpreting signs can also become difficult, e.g. taking the wrong exit from a roundabout.

The important thing to remember here is that these things will happen suddenly - a person will get lost coming home one day whereas yesterday there was no problem at all and of course, you never know when this will start.

Obviously, driving is a big deal in terms of a person's independence, self-esteem, etc. Most people are reluctant to force the issue of their loved one giving up, which is entirely understandable. But I know this: if you are in the car with your father and he makes an error (which may or may not be due to his dementia!) you will never want to get in the car with him again, or allow him to drive any of your loved ones. You also have to consider the lives of other drivers, pedestrians, etc, were he to cause an accident.

Notifying the insurance company is really important even if your father continues to drive. Because if he doesn't disclose the dementia and then has to make a claim, they will not pay out if he hasn't told them, so effectively he is uninsured.
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
14,179
0
England
@vickylondon Declaring does not necessarily mean loosing your licence. We advised the DVLA and insurance immediately as my husband’s consultant advised doing so when he was diagnosed. It is important that you do declare the diagnosis.

He continued to drive for four years, having an annual licence and being tested before each renewal.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,584
0
Thank you. I’m really struggling as feel like I have to be strong for my dad and my mum. But I’m falling to bits and feel desperately sad. And only way o know how to cope is to do and be practical but as dad can’t admit what he has been diagnosed with I can’t help him and feel completely useless!
Your dad isn't going to admit there's a problem. Seriously, you are going to wait forever otherwise. He thinks he's just fine doesn't he?
 

CAL Y

Registered User
Jul 17, 2021
56
0
My husband has recently been diagnosed with mixed dementia.
I had seen the problem coming on for a few years and finally got him to the GP about three months ago. in the interim between the g.p. tests and the memory clinic diagnosis I started gently “working on him” re his driving which wasn’t too bad at the time.
I completely agree with Jaded n faded that things can go downhill very suddenly.
In my case, I had to let him drive me to a hospital appointment as I had hurt my back. It was a 50 mile round trip and there were no problems until we were almost home. He missed a turning then reversed and did a 3 point turn on a town centre road. Nothing I could say would stop him.
The following day I cut up his license and returned it to the DVLA.
He now tells everyone that He decided to give up and sent his license back.
Thats OK. I don’t put him right. I’m just glad that I did it. I couldn’t live with my conscience if he caused an accident.
vickylondon. I’m afraid that you are going to have to be very strong and try to do the right thing.
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
3,009
0
Dorset
With regards to the LPAs, I did my own first then convinced The Banjoman to do his by saying that if for any reason he ended up in hospital, maybe from an accident or illness it would mean someone could look after his affairs, pay any bills etc. because otherwise the Court of Protection would take over and charge a lot of money for a solicitor to do the work whereas family could do it for nothing if it was ever needed.
The thought of losing money to the Government always seems to work wonders!
 

vickylondon

New member
Jul 25, 2021
8
0
Thank you everyone. Managed to gently persuade him yest to fill in the form for DVLA which I posted first thing. We rang his insurance company and was told they don’t need to know health conditions unless the doctor had advised/told not to drive or the dvla had.

Still worried about him doing a long drive to my brothers but I can’t stop him. And neither my mum or myself have ever felt unsafe in the car with him driving since his memory issues started so will have to just try and relax and hope all is ok this time. Hopefully he will have heard back from dvla by the time is back and maybe have to have the assessment shortly after.

and that’s a good tip re us all doing power of attorney so he doesn’t feel like it’s targeted towards him!
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,524
0
So glad you've informed the insurance company and the DVLA @vickylondon. I hope you have a lovely time at your brothers. You may find your dad gets a bit more confused when he's in a strange place, so maybe don't pack too many things into the visit.
My mum, who was coping quite well at home, got very stressed at my brothers one Christmas as there were too many people about, and she thought we were deliberately freezing her. Her flat was always extremely warm, so it was slightly cooler than she was used to, but the main problem was that her knee ached. Rather than seeing that was because she was going up and down stairs she assumed it was us plotting to make her life miserable.
 

Romf

New member
Jul 6, 2020
8
0
Hi, my dad was diagnosed during the first lock down. It’s hard to accept the diagnosis, I’m still struggling and often cry as it’s hard work . His license had to be sent back , he was upset for a while but gradually accepted it and now walks a lot. I did power of attorney myself both for finance and health and welfare, do those ASAP. Take care and find time for yourself x
 

Mike James

New member
Jul 20, 2021
6
0
If you've not already looked into it, POA is a must moving forward. 3 years ago my Mum would care for my 3 children in school holidays, take them out on the bus, town, cafe's etc now in a home and unable to do much for herself, recognises me but can't remember my name or the kids, good luck in the future, enjoy the good times whilst you can
 

vickylondon

New member
Jul 25, 2021
8
0
When spoke to the insurance company they said they didn’t need to have a record of the diagnosis unless advised by the dvla or medical professional not to drive.

We have not heard back from dvla yet. Think it’s mad that you can’t do the form online and have to post still.

They had a nice time up at brothers. He is generally completely normal most of the time.

Has started the medication this weekend but i had forgotten that you shouldn’t drink alcohol whilst on it. My dad doesn’t drink hugely but still likes to go out for a few beers once a week with his friends or have the odd one or two when we go football etc. I can’t take this away from him as it’s a small pleasure he has but equally want the medication to work as best it can!

Can’t even broach the subject of LPA yet but don’t know how long can leave it as who knows if medication will slow down progression or not.