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driving with Alzheimers

mathb1

New member
Oct 16, 2021
2
0
Hi.
My father is 79 and has had Alzheimers for a few years now. he recently was told he had cataracts so couldn't drive until he had them treated. he has had one done now and is keen to get back to driving.
My siblings and I are concerned about him driving with his Alzheimers. that with his age also. do you know if he should be assessed before being legally allowed to drive? do I need to contact the DVLA and notify them? Im concerned he won't be insured and could hurt himself or someone else.

would really appreciate some advice

Kind regards
Mathb1
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
65,492
0
70
Dundee
Welcome to the forum @mathb1.

I’m sorry to hear about your father’s situation. You might find this Alzheimer’s Society factsheet useful -

 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
454
0
Hi @mathb1,
I think there is more than one concern here. Has your dad notified the DVLA that he has Alzheimers. If not he or you need to do so and the DVLA will make a decision on his driving depending on the information they receive. Even if he notified the DVLA when he was first diagnosed has his dementia increased significantly over the last few years? If you think there are changes which could make him unsafe to drive the DVLA will need to be notified of the changes - can he remember where he is going and how to get there, is he aware of other drivers and able to anticipate problems etc.
The DVLA usually send a large form to complete and return to them, if this is not returned they recipient is automatically disqualified and the license is removed - This happened to MIL who was unable to understand and complete the form herself.
The other is your dads vision. Following single eye surgery, with a remaining cataract his eyesight might not yet meet the minimal driving requirements. He needs to see the optician to be re assessed. If he wears glasses the prescription in the eye where the cataract has been removed is likely to have changed and he could be unsafe until he gets new ones. If he still intends to have the second cataract removed his vision and glasses need will change again. It could be a very expensive process changing his glasses prescription twice. Most people who need bilateral surgery wait until both cataracts have been removed to get new glasses
 

mathb1

New member
Oct 16, 2021
2
0
Hi @mathb1,
I think there is more than one concern here. Has your dad notified the DVLA that he has Alzheimers. If not he or you need to do so and the DVLA will make a decision on his driving depending on the information they receive. Even if he notified the DVLA when he was first diagnosed has his dementia increased significantly over the last few years? If you think there are changes which could make him unsafe to drive the DVLA will need to be notified of the changes - can he remember where he is going and how to get there, is he aware of other drivers and able to anticipate problems etc.
The DVLA usually send a large form to complete and return to them, if this is not returned they recipient is automatically disqualified and the license is removed - This happened to MIL who was unable to understand and complete the form herself.
The other is your dads vision. Following single eye surgery, with a remaining cataract his eyesight might not yet meet the minimal driving requirements. He needs to see the optician to be re assessed. If he wears glasses the prescription in the eye where the cataract has been removed is likely to have changed and he could be unsafe until he gets new ones. If he still intends to have the second cataract removed his vision and glasses need will change again. It could be a very expensive process changing his glasses prescription twice. Most people who need bilateral surgery wait until both cataracts have been removed to get new glasses
Thank you so much. I am going to contact the DVLA Monday. 👍🏻
 

Emmcee

Registered User
Dec 28, 2015
125
0
Hi.
My father is 79 and has had Alzheimers for a few years now. he recently was told he had cataracts so couldn't drive until he had them treated. he has had one done now and is keen to get back to driving.
My siblings and I are concerned about him driving with his Alzheimers. that with his age also. do you know if he should be assessed before being legally allowed to drive? do I need to contact the DVLA and notify them? Im concerned he won't be insured and could hurt himself or someone else.

would really appreciate some advice

Kind regards
Mathb1
Hi there, Driving is one of the most demanding of cognitive skills but the age of a person and a diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily preclude one from driving.
However, the speed at which a person can pay attention/ process information/ react to any change of circumstances - especially when there are distractions - as well as their ability to accurately identify size/ shape/ distance/ colour and understand road signs etc. are all terribly important.
Many older people, or people with dementia, remain quite capable of driving during daylight hours, for short distances, on familiar routes, during periods of low traffic and when the weather is good - but they may not be able to drive from John O Groats to Lands End......
Depending on where you live, some departments of Occupational Therapy may be able to offer a screening assessment such as the Rookwood (if the person fails, then you can be fairly certain that they should not be driving. Borderline scores should always be referred for further assessment).
Formal assessments are also undertaken at Regional Driving Assessment Centres. These are sited throughout the country but waiting lists may be quite long (hence the reason I would suggest trying to find an appropriately qualified OT to undertake a screening assessment as first option). Depending upon where you live, some centres will accept a self-referral but other centres will only accept a doctor's referral.
Following assessment, the assessor should provide feedback to both the GP, referring person/agency and the DVLA.
If, however, you are absolutely certain that your Dad should not be driving and can provide evidence to back up your concerns (e.g. he's forever bashing his car/ been involved in more than one recent accident/ drives with excessive caution or speed at all times/ takes unecessary risks) your GP may also be prepared to contact DVLA. (You can do it yourself but they don't always pay any attention or take things further.)
This can all be reported online.
In pre-covid days, DVLA would often respond to revoke a person's license within a matter of days.
 

Countryboy

Registered User
Mar 17, 2005
1,669
0
South West

Memory Loss and DementiaCONDITIONS​

You may be able to continue driving a car or a motorcycle safely for some time, but you may be asked to have a driving test and/or your doctor may be asked to complete a medical...

When reading this thread on Driving IF you are the person with Dementia please do not despair or listen to any negative comments “why” because you need to 100% positive if you want to continue to drive there are certain medicals conditions must notify DVLA but that doesn’t mean you can not continue driving unfortunately just need an assessment ( don’t just give up )

Driving assessments you maybe asked to take an assessment by DVLA or you may decide to organize your own assessment { just note if your sent by DVLA you won’t get of copy of the report if you organize and pay for it yours obviously the report belongs to you I would suggest the latter }
A driving assessment is different from a driving test. It is designed to review your driving skills and ability and you will be given an honest opinion of your assessment.

People that choose to take a driving assessment do so for a variety of reasons:

You may because of a physical disability such as a limb amputation or, for example, because you have become less able following a stroke

You may be seeking confirmation that you are still able to drive safely following a recent diagnosis of a medical condition “such as dementia”

You may want reassurance your reactions have slowed a little

Your assessor(s) are very skilled at putting you at ease to ensure you perform at your best.

You should allow approximately three hours for the asessment, although actual driving time will more than likely last about 50 minutes. This is to allow you to move through each stage of the assessment at your own pace. A typical assessment will consist of the following:

An introduction where the assessment team will ask you about your basic medical and driving history and will talk about your hopes and expectations. This will take place at the Mobility Centre

A basic physical assessment to understand what limbs and joints work well, or less well. Some Centres may use a mock-up of a car that is designed to measure physical ability and strength, along with reaction speeds

Some paper-based tasks that measure cognitive ability, such as memory or attention

Visual test(s) specific to driving.

A drive lasting approximately 50 minutes

Return to the Centre for a summary de-brief and the opportunity to ask questions

After your visit, the assessors will write a comprehensive report which will be sent to your home address.
 
Last edited:

Female1952

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
35
0
If you are pretty sure he can no longer drive safely, you can write to the DVLA and explain your concerns. They will write to him, not mentioning your name.

Then see how he reacts - he may be able to arrange an assessment and demonstrate, like Countryboy, that he's still safe to drive. Or do the assessment, fail and lose his licence.
He may ignore the letter, or get angry and deny any problem. He may say he's going to apply for an assessment but never get round to it.

I reported my uncle and later my aunt to the DVLA. They never took any action to keep their licence - they weren't by then capable of doing so any more than they were capable of driving safely.

My aunt was angry at first and said some 'clever clogs' had reported her. I just said, in a calm, off hand, way, "I suppose doctors have to report these things" and offered her a cup of tea.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
420
0
The Memory Clinic can contact the DVLA. That happened to my elderly friend. Even if the DVLA orders someone to stop driving s/he may not take any notice and it's important to make sure that s/he actually stops driving. My friend refused to stop driving and eventually her surgery contacted the local police who sent an officer round to her house. I don't know what the officer said but the next morning my friend agreed that I could take her car keys. Repeated conversations with her before that had got nowhere.
 

Countryboy

Registered User
Mar 17, 2005
1,669
0
South West
What will the DVLA do

The person living with dementia maintains the right to make his or her own decisions as long as he or she has legal capacity.

The decision to declare someone as legally incapacitated is determined by a court. A medical team will submit opinions on the individual in question after a series of tests and evaluations. The court will then look over these opinions. It is possible for a family member or the individual to challenge the decision.

If you want to appeal the decision, you will need to make a written application to your local Magistrates Court within 6 months of your licence being refused or revoked. You will need evidence, including medical evidence, to support your argument that the DVLA made the wrong decision and that you are fit to drive.

If you disagree with a decision made by the DVLA to withhold or revoke your driving licence you can lodge an appeal against the decision in court. You must contact your local Magistrates court within 6 months or your local Sheriffs court within 21 days.

What will the DVLA do?

The DVLA will ask their own doctor to consider the evidence. Once the investigation is complete and if the DVLA believe you are a risk to other road users, they will revoke your licence on medical grounds. That is, you will not be able to drive any more.

What can I do if my driving licence is revoked?

If your licence is revoked it is advisable you get professional advice from a solicitor they can:

Write on your behalf to the DVLA:
They can ask them to reconsider their decision. They might be able to provide further evidence which could persuade them to change their mind. If the DVLA change their mind, you will get your licence back.

Appeal to the Magistrates’ Court:
If the DVLA are not prepared to change their mind you can appeal to the Magistrates’ Court. The Court will then list your case for a hearing at which the DVLA’s evidence and also any evidence you wish to present is heard. You must be able to show that you are in good health and fit to drive. Good preparation and good expert evidence is the key to success. If the Magistrates find the DVLA were wrong, then you will get your licence back.

The Magistrates’ Court rarely deal with these cases, so it is essential to have someone like a Solicitor to do this on your behalf