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Driving with altzheimers

Discussion in 'Recently diagnosed and early stages of dementia' started by Gingerbread, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Gingerbread

    Gingerbread Registered User

    Nov 21, 2016
    An elderly member of my family has been diagnosed with mild altzheimers and has benn put on medication. We know she should contact the DVLA, but she dosnt like the idea of losing her licence and blames me for making her go to the doctors. she dosnt think she has a problem. She lives on her own and i am not her carer, she hasnt got and wont have one, but should i contact the DVLA or try and coax her to, as i dont want to see her get into trouble.
  2. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that a person is incapable of driving.

    Is the diagnosis dementia or MCI?

    The person diagnosed should contact the DVLA and their insurers.

    Anybody can anonymously report their concerns to the DVLA


    Are you able to contact the GP?
    (S)he will not be able to discuss details but could well give 'general advice'
  3. missmole

    missmole Registered User

    Feb 16, 2017
    how is her driving?

    My mum was never the best of drivers and continued to drive very short distances when she had mild dementia. She then would just go to the supermarket on a Sunday morning and park in the car park before the store opened. Fortunately, one day when the car was parked outside her house (no-one in it) a lorry drove into it and it was a right-off. It was awful for my mum to lose her independence but a relief for me. The problem with people who have dementia, in my experience, is their lack of awareness. If you are worried perhaps you could either talk to her doctor in confidence or the DVLA. Imagine if a child ran out in front of the car and your relative was unable to react quickly enough. This is what I said to my mum and that prompted her to only drive on Sunday morning when very few cars were on the road.
  4. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    I had this problem with Dad hoping that someone would intervene and get Dad off the road. The hospital had already asked him not to drive anymore. Sadly I realised it was down to me. As close relative you know better than anyone else when you start to have concerns. In the end I had a row with Dad and we never ever argue. I frogmarched him to GP and had fantastic supportive GP who tested Dad and explained in no uncertain terms why he shouldn't be driving anymore. I wrote to DVLA , Insurer and re registered car to me. It was soon forgotten by all. If Dad had carried on driving and killed a little girl it would not have been such a happy ending. It is down to you to stop it when you feel it is unsafe however best way you see fit. I would suggest a phone call to GP and asking for support first before making appointment.
    Good Luck
  5. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    As nitram has said, if there is a diagnosis it is notifiable to DVLA and the insurance co.

    We only fully realised my mum had dementia when she got lost on the way from her house to mine, she missed the M6 turn off the M1 and ended up in Derby. I suspect she nearly went the wrong way down a dual carriageway in Derby because over the next few days she kept repeating that she wouldn't have driven the wrong way down the dual carriageway. Needless to say once we had rescued her (and her car a few days later - it wasn't actually insured - long story - xmas was in the middle) I never let her near the car keys again.

    6 months before this I was very worried by her driving and took her for an eyetest, which she passed with the glasses she used for driving.

    What I hadn't realised was her spatial awareness wasn't working anymore, and hadn't been for some time, hindsight is a wonderful thing. We had watched her cross the road without appearing to see cars and that is why.

    With hindsight my mum had diagnosable Alzheimer's at least 4 years before the crisis hit, and for the first 2 of those years she was safe to drive, but the second 2 years she wasn't. The crisis that hit was quite big (state of house due to hoarding - we never let her go back etc) but the thing that kept me awake on and off for months was the fact I had let her drive with my children in the car when she wasn't safe to do so (and in fact wasn't even insured - yes there was court action in progress on that as well).

    If you are concerned your PWD isn't safe to drive, please stop them driving any way you can. As others have said you wouldn't want them to injure a child.

    There are assessment centres and if they pass the test then they can carry on driving. Many safely do in the early stages.

    There are many driving threads on here, and DVLA and GPs are sometimes helpful and sometimes not.
  6. Herewego

    Herewego Registered User

    Mar 9, 2017
    #6 Herewego, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
    Easier said than done............

    I have seen this coming since 2011 but as we are only now going through the testing phase, we don't yet have a diagnosis, so stopping my husband driving is not yet something we have to do BUT............

    The problem is that he doesn't admit he has a problem with driving although we have finally got him to admit he does have a problem with his memory.

    In early 2016 he drove into our house with one of our cars and knocked a hole in the front wall and did a lot of damage to the house - just thankful no one was home at the time so no one was hurt and he was shaken up but not hurt.

    In 2011 we took an extended trip and normally he would drive both in the UK and abroad, but that trip I did all the driving with the exception of 2 short periods when I agreed to let him do a little driving. Now if we are together I always drive - any driving he does now is really just very short local trips to the shops or parks to walk the dog and only on his own.

    Part of the problem is that we got a new car in 2015 and another one at the end of 2016 (almost like for like replacement of the car we had that he hit the house with) but switching between cars he struggles to remember where things are or how to do things. On the 2015 car he has never used the in car satnav as he just can't remember how to use it.

    Our kids won't go in the car if he is driving and we won't let him drive the grandkids anywhere anymore.

    My dilemma is at what point do I just tell him he can not drive anymore and we inform the relevant bodies - I just don't think he will accept it until we have a diagnosis even tho' I personally really don't think he should be driving anymore.

    As he is quite bright, he seems to be able to hide his symptoms so on the memory test at the GP's and the first one at the memory clinic, he probably would have not been sent for the scan if I had not sent a letter to the clinic before we attended which detailed all of the various areas where we as a family have seen a deterioration. We are now going for another test which is apparently designed for those that might otherwise not be diagnosed because they are bright and for short periods are able to do the tests well enough so as to miss the diagnosis of Alzheimers. I am hoping that this will pick it up as even since the previous test about 2 months ago I have noticed a further deterioration of his memory.
  7. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Aug 1, 2014
    Victoria, Australia
    I think that if you think that it is not safe for your grandchildren to be in the car when your PWD is driving then he should not be driving at all.

    Eighteen months before he was diagnosed, I refused to be a passenger in the car when OH was driving because it frightened me. I reported him to our local licensing authority who sent out a form for our doctor to complete. Unfortunately our GP could only comment on the state of OH's health and not on his driving. This was totally unsatisfactory of course and I tried all sorts of things to prevent him from driving. Not long after and prior to his diagnosis, he had a cardiac arrest and was banned from driving for six months. But then he was diagnosed with AD and the geriatrician then was obliged to make a more extensive report and he had to undergo a thorough assessment which resulted in the loss of his licence.

    I was so relieved that I wasn't the one that had to force the issue.
  8. oilovlam

    oilovlam Registered User

    Aug 2, 2015
    South East
    It's a crazy system. The onus is on the family....again!! But family members don't want to be seen as the 'bad' people and will let things continue too far. They probably don't even inform the insurance company, so there are people with dementia who are driving and likely a risk to the public....and uninsured (when there is an accident and the insurance company find out about the diagnosis then they will refuse to pay up).

    Really there needs to be some way, that when you are diagnosed the ability to drive is monitored on a statutory basis. The only problem is that this would be another reason to put people off getting diagnosed. I wonder what they do in other countries?

    My mum was diagnosed. She had a 'bump' in a car park. The family could see the danger to the public, but couldn't face falling out with our mother....so we got the 'Old People Mental Health' consultant to tell her. He reluctantly came to the house (he really didn't want to do it) in his 'hob-nailed boots' to tell her she couldn't drive. She hated him from that moment...."coming into my house with his 'hob-nailed boots'".....but at least it wasn't us she fell out with.
  9. nmintueo

    nmintueo Registered User

    Jun 28, 2011
    Doctors put the onus on the family when they refuse to adhere to ethical guidance in relation to notifiable conditions, such as Alzheimers or MCI (previous post). People who find themselves put in a difficult position as a result should not stand for it.
  10. danonwheels

    danonwheels Registered User

    As others have said, a diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean the person can't drive, but they DO have to inform DVLA and their insurer.

    Last year i was diagnosed in February and DVLA were notified. They then took the decision to revoke my license with no assessment. An appeal was made but they stuck to their guns.

    Later in the year it was found that DVLA were revoking a large number of licenses from people with medical conditions without following their own procedures and they were taken to task over it.

    I made a complaint round about September after being urged by my brother and in November went to an assessment centre and was assessed. I was found to be fit to drive and given my license back.
  11. Morty

    Morty Registered User

    Dec 13, 2016
    Southeast Ireland
    Timing of taking car away is tricky,with Dad i had to take car off him when he parked directly infront of supermarket main frontdoor as he casyally went in to buy his butterscotch sweets and apple pies ,he took to driving quite freely through roundabouts also just before that,i was his carer and was with him in car but enough was enough,tbh he forgot about car quite quickly ,you have to laugh or its unbearable..
  12. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    If your OH doesn't have a diagnosis, first thing is it.

    Give details of his behaviour to GP, maybe a diary. It may help GP to see trough hostess mode

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  13. Roseleigh

    Roseleigh Registered User

    Dec 26, 2016
    #13 Roseleigh, Mar 13, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    Have you tried discussing it with him? He may be more amenable to stopping than you think. If not then jut tell the GP that you feel he is no longer safe to drive and the GP will inform the DVLA. I presume he is already on a one year medical license following diagnosis. My husband is on a one year license but in last couple of months Ive stopped him driving as I feel he is more confused and although he could drive as your
    DH can on a quiet familiar route still, the judgement isnt there if anything unexpected happened.
  14. jenniferjean

    jenniferjean Registered User

    We were advised by the memory clinic to inform the DVLA, which we did. They put my husband on a one year licence. I discussed with him the possibilities of him having an accident and he said he felt he was fine to drive. At this point he was only driving very local. After a while I became more unhappy as a passenger and one day we had a near miss. When we reached home I took and hid his car keys. He was a bit upset for a while but I soon discovered that actually he was relieved. He just didn't want to admit he wasn't up to it.

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