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Driving

JohnDuncan

Registered User
Mar 29, 2016
4
Hi My Father has refused to attend an hour session with a Dementia Assessment Psychiatrist arranged for the 18 April . On the same day he has an eye test to see if he can drive again after being off the road for 7 months while having 2 Cataract ops .
He drove his car after being told not too (50% vision) .I removed the battery and then finally put the car in my drive.
I know he has dementia but it has not been diagnosed by a professional yet .
If he passes the eye test he can demand I return his car and drive legally.He is 92 and so stubborn .
What can I do ?
Thanks
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,708
North West
If he passes the eye test he can demand I return his car and drive legally.He is 92 and so stubborn .
On what possible legal grounds could he be banned from driving? Perhaps you think his driving is poor? There are other bad drivers on the roads and their families are presumably as powerless as you.

I understand how difficult this is for you but I'm not sure what you can do to stop him.

Welcome to TP. Others may be along with suggestions.
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
Hi, John, and welcome to TP. I am very sorry to hear about the situation with your father and you must be very stressed/upset by it.

You will get other responses here, and if you like, you can also have a search as this is a topic that comes up often.

I think that you might want to communicate your concerns to the eye doctor ahead of the appointment (letter, fax, hard copy handed unobstrusively to the receptionist when your dad isn't looking). I would avoid any mention of dementia in front of your father, as this will likely only lead to upset.

The hard truth is that, if your dad should not be driving for whatever reason (and we do believe you about the undiagnosed dementia), then he can demand all he likes, but you don't have to comply. In fact, if driving would put him and others at risk, then I would definitely not give him access to his car. (This is the old "can doesn't mean should" scenario.)

Many, if not all, of us here on TP have been in the very uncomfortable situation of having to walk the fine line between trying to give the PWD (person with dementia) what they want, while still making sure everyone is kept safe. This is never easy or pleasant and it's very difficult when we know "safe" is the answer but for whatever reason, it feels wrong/hard/disloyal/upsetting.

One thing I have learned is that in many situations like this, even if the person doesn't have dementia, that you should carefully consider the messenger as well as the message. The adult child is usually not the best choice to deliver the message. In other words, blame someone else: the DVLA, the doctor, the car itself (which can be "broken" for a long time), the insurance company, the mechanic who didn't fix it properly, et cetera.

I am in the States, but believe in the UK, you can have a physician contact the DVLA for a driving assessment? If the eye doctor will not get on board, I'd enlist the GP. Again, keeping the onus/stigma off you as much as possible is a good idea here and in other situations.

I can tell you I went through the driving issue with my mother, did not remove her car soon enough, and she continued to drive and had two accidents that I know of, mercifully only slight injuries to herself and none to others. Although she hasn't driven for over a year now I am still haunted by what might have happened. I would not have been able to live with myself had she injured or killed someone.

It is very difficult and I am sorry about the situation. TP is a great resource and I hope you will find help and support here.

Best wishes to you.
 

honeybears

Registered User
Oct 18, 2014
41
Hampshire
Last year my Father had his eyes tested just before his driving licence had to be renewed (he is 76 now) and I asked the opticians to confirm that his eyes were acceptable for driving and they ticked the box to say that they were - I wasn't prepared to make the decision myself as I am no expert and I wasn't sure that he could see to the required standard so I put the onus onto the opticians as the professionals.

However, in August last year Father had an 'episode' whereby I received a phone call late at night from a passer by who had stopped my Father in his car, driving on the wrong side of the road, with a flat tyre, on the other side of town.

My Father had no idea what had happened, what time of day it was or why he was driving where he was and didn't even register that it was dark - his response was he was going to get the paper!

Naturally I phoned his Doctor and they insisted that he not drive again, and ask that I take away the car keys which I did and he has not driven again. As a result of this he was put forward for a full assessment and has been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. The probable guess is that he had had a mini stroke that night which caused him to behave the way he did.

I had all sorts of stroppiness from him for a long time afterwards and the whole situation was my fault, but shortly after that I read the story of an elderly gentleman who had been driving on the wrong side of the road in the dark, and had collided with a vehicle coming towards him and this resulted in the driver being killed.

I felt physically sick when I read that because I realised how lucky we were that my Father had not collided with a passer by or a vehicle innocently driving on the right side of the road, not expecting a car to be coming towards them. My Father would probably have been dealt with under Mental Health Act because of his condition, but it would have been me and my partner that would have had to deal with the consequences of his actions, albeit not intentionally and I am not sure that is something I would have wanted on my conscience so whatever your Father may think, you are not taking away his independence but perhaps making sure he and others are safe.

Since the incident, I have found out that a lot of people had seen my Father out and about driving and had often wondered why he was still driving, but were too polite to say anything so perhaps speak with your Dad's Doctor and get them to advise that on medical grounds it may be advisable that he not drive again.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,049
Yorkshire
Hi JohnDuncan
welcome to TP
you've hit on one of the issues on which there are many opinions :)

I wonder whether not mentioning either appointments to your father may be a way of not building up his resistance - if the Assessment appointment hasn't been cancelled, maybe allow it to fade from view and just take him along on the day, almost tricking him into it? by just saying you fancy going out for a coffee and cake and happening to stop off on the way - or could you say that he must attend that appointment (without mentioning 'assessment' or psychiatric' or 'dementia') before the eye test as both are needed to 'confirm his fitness to drive' (not prove he's no longer fit to) - if he thinks he will prove he is OK to drive, he may go just to make HIS point

would he be able to immediately drive? or would he have to take a driving assessment? - could he be told he has to follow up the eye test with a driving test? if you organised this, maybe he will fail and the blame for not driving is not laid on you

if his eyesight is OK, how able is he to actually sort out the car himself? you can apparently accept that he wants the car back and in good condition but not do anything about it yourself (excuses needed each time he suggests something) - is it taxed? MOT'd? insured? - have you had to put it into the garage for some fault? and the fault just doesn't seem to be easily sorted out

if he passes the eye test and is therefore 'allowed' to drive, might he actually not drive, might he just be making the point that he could?

sorry, just thinking on paper - will stop now!
 

JohnDuncan

Registered User
Mar 29, 2016
4
Agreed. I was responding to the OP's 'If he passes the eye test.....'
Thank you all for your advice and welcoming.
Its so hard to "trick" your father because he is" your father" but its time to start .I feel that because nothing is as yet diagnosed I am powerless to stop him ,but I will. He cant be on the roads his last trip (23 mins normally) took 2 hours due to him getting lost.
Dad has hidden it so well but when you hear him say "they have gone through my eyes to do my lungs " and thinks his Ford Fiesta is a Morris Minor it shocks you to the core.
I thought about the letter to the optician and I will do that too .I am hoping that a domicile visit will happen before the 18th due to his refusal to attend but they are so busy.
This is as everyone on the site will agree such tough going.
Many thanks John.
 

Rachael81

Registered User
Dec 31, 2015
59
Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
My mums recently received the DVLA "don't drive" letter following on from notifying them of her dementia diagnosis. She's been stroppy over it and is going to reapply in 6 months (?!?!) I've tried to explain it by saying they are minimising risks to her and others and that's all it is which she seems to have absorbed more than anything else I had tried before. The letter is still out on the dining table every time I visit though....
 

TrixieB

Registered User
Jul 2, 2015
20
I had to tell dad that he couldn't be insured any longer to prevent him driving after he had a couple of accidents, which fortunately didn't harm anyone.
Very difficult as you're removing his independence, but if he is dangerous and won't listen to reason, he has to be stopped. If he killed someone you would never forgive yourself. Can you also maybe speak to the optician prior to his appointment and explain the situation?
All very sneaky I'm afraid but possibly the only way. Good luck!
 

1mindy

Registered User
Jul 21, 2015
539
Shropshire
My OH was stopped form driving late last year his licence wasn't renewed and I didnt tell him he could appeal . He would have had no one to sign anyway. He was not happy at all. In fact just last week when he had been in care for a few days and I was leaving he said I don't suppose I can have the car. I know that cars are a life line and give such independence and we cant legislate for everyone but we can do something if our relatives are a known danger on the road, irrespective of why. Also interesting with the eye test . My OH was having vision problems the optician did say that when the messages are not getting from the eye to the brain nothing in that time span will fix it, so there would be times when maybe just momentarily he went blind. Not good for driving .
 

DMac

Registered User
Jul 18, 2015
535
Surrey, UK
Hi My Father has refused to attend an hour session with a Dementia Assessment Psychiatrist arranged for the 18 April . On the same day he has an eye test to see if he can drive again after being off the road for 7 months while having 2 Cataract ops .
He drove his car after being told not too (50% vision) .I removed the battery and then finally put the car in my drive.
I know he has dementia but it has not been diagnosed by a professional yet .
If he passes the eye test he can demand I return his car and drive legally.He is 92 and so stubborn .
What can I do ?
Thanks
Given that the eye test is happening soon-ish, it may be easiest just to wait for the results, and hope that the outcome is as you wish it to be (i.e. a fail, meant in the nicest possible way!).

If you really have doubts about the outcome of the eye test, one other thing you could do is raise your concerns directly with the DVLA. You can do this by e-mail. They won't respond to you, but they will write to your father (without naming & shaming you!). Be aware that it may take a few weeks for them to take action though. They will then contact his GP and MAY request that he takes a driving assessment. If he chooses not to do it, that's the end of his driving. Likewise if he takes the test and fails. If he takes it and passes, you can rest assured that it's an independent test and you have done all that you can.

Good luck.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,235
Hi My Father has refused to attend an hour session with a Dementia Assessment Psychiatrist arranged for the 18 April . On the same day he has an eye test to see if he can drive again after being off the road for 7 months while having 2 Cataract ops .
He drove his car after being told not too (50% vision) .I removed the battery and then finally put the car in my drive.
I know he has dementia but it has not been diagnosed by a professional yet .
If he passes the eye test he can demand I return his car and drive legally.He is 92 and so stubborn .
What can I do ?
Thanks
Contact your local Road Safety Office, ask if they do an older driver assessment scheme.
There's one in Hampshire, their assessor comes to you, and goes for a drive with the person, then gives an assessment as to whether or not driving should be continued.
All done very diplomatically. Its what stopped FiL driving.
The eye test needs doing first, failure will stop all driving, including mobility scooters!

Bod
 

JohnDuncan

Registered User
Mar 29, 2016
4
You have all helped me so much many thanks.
I may have "guided" Dad ,with your advice to attend his assessment .I have kidded him a little but he now thinks its possible he might go.
I have spoken to the optician he is now fully prepared for the situation and wants me to go in with Dad.He thinks his eyesight will not meet DVLA standards .
I am so glad I joined the group. Thank you all
John.
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
John, sometimes we get "lucky" and a decision is taken out of our hands. That's in inverted commas because as far as I can tell, there is nothing lucky about dealing with dementia, and it's not really the best word, but the best I can do right now. It could make things a bit more straightforward for you, if not easier.

Very best wishes to you and hope all goes as well as possible. If you are inclined, and when you have time, we would be interested to hear how you get on, but no obligation.
 

JohnDuncan

Registered User
Mar 29, 2016
4
Hi .I got lucky in a way .Dad eyes were too poor to drive so the roads are safe .To see your 92 year old Dad with his hands over his face very upset is the bad bit .I got all the blame he is now honestly looking for a "dodgy optician " .He wont give up without a fight.I am to blame he has gone in a shell.
Re - House visit

Could someone give me their view on his diagnosis whats old age?
He would not go to the appointment so a consultant psychiatrist came to his house but said its not Alzheimers its old age.Dad got most questions wrong
11th it was the 18th
Got April
No idea of the year .
Said only 1 son he has 2
Asked what are grandchildren?
When told and asked how many said none he has 4
Asked what are great grandchildren
Started arguing about his capability to drive, the Psychiatrist seemed to want to end the test .Saying not Altzheimers but Old age .
He gave his direct Phone Number for help in the future.
Thanks John.
 

Linbrusco

Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
1,611
Auckland...... New Zealand
Hi .I got lucky in a way .Dad eyes were too poor to drive so the roads are safe .To see your 92 year old Dad with his hands over his face very upset is the bad bit .I got all the blame he is now honestly looking for a "dodgy optician " .He wont give up without a fight.I am to blame he has gone in a shell.
Re - House visit

Could someone give me their view on his diagnosis whats old age?
He would not go to the appointment so a consultant psychiatrist came to his house but said its not Alzheimers its old age.Dad got most questions wrong
11th it was the 18th
Got April
No idea of the year .
Said only 1 son he has 2
Asked what are grandchildren?
When told and asked how many said none he has 4
Asked what are great grandchildren
Started arguing about his capability to drive, the Psychiatrist seemed to want to end the test .Saying not Altzheimers but Old age .
He gave his direct Phone Number for help in the future.
Thanks John.
I'm sorry I can't comment on the driving as my Mum has never driven, but my Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers coming up 3 yrs ago. Is now at a moderate stage.
If Mum was asked those same questions, she would get every one wrong also apart from possibly the month.
Alzheimers is more than just memory, but behaviours, and visual/audio perception and more.
Blood tests and a CT scan at least rules out anything physical.
Psychiatrist seems to be copping out of doing anything more?
 
Last edited:

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,189
South coast
It sounds like the psychiatrist gave him a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). How on earth can someone as qualified as he dismiss the results as old age?!!! If you get more than 7 answers (I think its 7) wrong then this warrants further investigation.
 

RedLou

Registered User
Jul 30, 2014
1,162
I'd say you want a second opinion. Be polite but firm -- if you need to I'd add that your father is vulnerable adult and if the system lets him down and he comes to harm you will hold any part of the process which allowed that to happen to account.