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He’s never done this before!! Is this a new thing?

Pennyc

New member
Nov 26, 2020
8
0
My dad is 81 and has mixed dementia. He got diagnosed in June last year as moderate stage. He is declining and I think this year he will decline a lot. He is still driving and we have declared his Dementia with the DVLA and he is in the system and until the DVLA write to him, we cannot stop him from driving. To be fare he’s. Safe driving and only goes for a short drive once a day. This evening my mum rang me to tell me that he had just gone out in his car. He’s never done this before in the night. Apparently he unlocked the front door and went and got in his car. When my mum found him and asked what he was doing he said he was just going for a drive round. Unknown to my dad we have put a tracker in his car so I was able to track his journey and he didn’t go very far and was back within 30 mins. I’ve told my mum to hide the door keys. But what’s thrown us is that he’s never done this before...my question is, has anyone else experienced this wanting to go driving late at night? Or even leaving the house so late. Is this a new phase or could it just be a one off??
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
72,703
0
Kent
. To be fare he’s. Safe driving and only goes for a short drive once a day.

Safe for how long? This is the problem. No one knows when deterioration will set in and how serious it may be. Going for an evening drive just for the sake is risky and in the present climate of severe weather conditions and COVID any minor accident could prove to have much more serious consequences.

I would contact the DVLA again and update them. I did this with my mother who liked to `go for a little spin`. She was a veteran motorist and passed a LAMBDA test, absolutely loved driving but had dementia and unpredictable behaviour.

She never forgave me but at least she didn`t get a chance to cause an accident.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,252
0
High Peak
My dad is 81 and has mixed dementia. He got diagnosed in June last year as moderate stage. He is declining and I think this year he will decline a lot. He is still driving and we have declared his Dementia with the DVLA and he is in the system and until the DVLA write to him, we cannot stop him from driving. To be fare he’s. Safe driving and only goes for a short drive once a day. This evening my mum rang me to tell me that he had just gone out in his car. He’s never done this before in the night. Apparently he unlocked the front door and went and got in his car. When my mum found him and asked what he was doing he said he was just going for a drive round. Unknown to my dad we have put a tracker in his car so I was able to track his journey and he didn’t go very far and was back within 30 mins. I’ve told my mum to hide the door keys. But what’s thrown us is that he’s never done this before...my question is, has anyone else experienced this wanting to go driving late at night? Or even leaving the house so late. Is this a new phase or could it just be a one off??
Please, please stop him driving.. Hide the keys, disable the car or whatever but please stop him. He could kill someone.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
675
0
As @Grannie G says it is not only the present that gives cause for concern but what may happen as he deteriorates. I would say contact DVLA and perhaps also his GP. It will be difficult to stop him driving in the meantime. You could tell his insurance company and they may act more swiftly than DVLA. We often are told here to intervene by hiding keys, disabling cars etc but this isn't always practical or lawful. He has rights, and they include driving until stopped by proper legal process. Sadly the DVLA are slow.
 

Hayley JS

Registered User
Feb 20, 2020
301
0
Hi @Pennyc often pwd become more confused as the day wears on, this is called sundowning. I'd post a link but I don't know how, but if you type sundowning in the search bar there will undoubtedly be many previous posts relating to this and some good advice on how to deal with it. I have a little door sensor alarm that makes the most awful noise. When it goes off it totally distracts mum and the going out gets forgotten in the hullabaloo of our dogs joining in and barking whilst I sort turning it off, sounds mean I know but it works for us!
 

Pennyc

New member
Nov 26, 2020
8
0
I know he should not be driving but what can I do when I spend hours every week trying to get through to the DVLA and they are just so busy. I finally got through on Saturday but they wouldn’t tell me anything about my dads case because he wasn’t there with me!!! I then had to go to his house and get him to confirm over the phone he was happy for them to speak to me which was so stressful for him. They advised they were waiting for the Dr to reply and they were chasing him for me. I advised them he had declined since last year and I needed his license revoking. They said they couldn’t just revoke a license because of a concerned family member and that the only people to revoke a license is a Dr or the police if anything serious happened!!! He lives at home with my mum who had a heart attack last year and I do not want to do things to his car so it won’t start or hide his keys because then he will get stressed at my mum when I’m not there. So although people are saying to me stop him from driving....I’m sorry but it’s harder than you think and I will not put my mum under that stress.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
2,556
0
Hi @Pennyc and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I can see your dilemma, as taking steps to stop your father driving will add to your mother's stress. If your father does it again it may be worth calling the police on 101 next time he does this. They could then keep a look out for him. Just having a police officer advising him that he shouldn't be making unnecessary journeys due to covid restrictions might be enough to make him decide to stop driving. It might not stop him decided to go for a walk at inappropriate times. The need to get out and go somewhere becomes very strong in some people with dementia.
Do you have any help coming in? It sounds like both your parents could do with some extra support at the moment. If they are not quite at the stage of needing personal care Age UK's Help at Home service might be a good idea if they are available in your area and are running at the moment.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
72,703
0
Kent
It just shows how things have changed over the years.

I reported my mother to the DVLA and they asked her to return her licence. I don`t know if they contacted her GP for confirmation of my report or not.

Of course the DVLA might have been less busy in those days, in the late 90s
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
3,685
0
Essex
Hi @Pennyc and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I can see your dilemma, as taking steps to stop your father driving will add to your mother's stress. If your father does it again it may be worth calling the police on 101 next time he does this. They could then keep a look out for him. Just having a police officer advising him that he shouldn't be making unnecessary journeys due to covid restrictions might be enough to make him decide to stop driving. It might not stop him decided to go for a walk at inappropriate times. The need to get out and go somewhere becomes very strong in some people with dementia.
Do you have any help coming in? It sounds like both your parents could do with some extra support at the moment. If they are not quite at the stage of needing personal care Age UK's Help at Home service might be a good idea if they are available in your area and are running at the moment.
Hi! @Pennyc.

In dad's case he decided to sell the car not long after he received his provisional licence but when dad was diagnosed the consultant said to inform him as soon as I become concerned about his driving. Dad adapted quite well and it was an adventure for him using public transport however when his condition became moderate/severe he started getting up at 2.45 am saying that he was looking for the car so I would suggest looking at your parents security as well as contacting his consultant about his driving.

MaNaAk
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
675
0
I know he should not be driving but what can I do when I spend hours every week trying to get through to the DVLA and they are just so busy. I finally got through on Saturday but they wouldn’t tell me anything about my dads case because he wasn’t there with me!!! I then had to go to his house and get him to confirm over the phone he was happy for them to speak to me which was so stressful for him. They advised they were waiting for the Dr to reply and they were chasing him for me. I advised them he had declined since last year and I needed his license revoking. They said they couldn’t just revoke a license because of a concerned family member and that the only people to revoke a license is a Dr or the police if anything serious happened!!! He lives at home with my mum who had a heart attack last year and I do not want to do things to his car so it won’t start or hide his keys because then he will get stressed at my mum when I’m not there. So although people are saying to me stop him from driving....I’m sorry but it’s harder than you think and I will not put my mum under that stress.
It only takes a few minutes ago write and post an old-fashioned letter but can take hours to get through by telephone to institutions that, like DVLA, don't offer good service. So that's what I would suggest in similar cases. Of course they can only revoke a licence after receiving a report from the person's GP. They ask the GP to provide this. They also ask the driver to complete a form, and failure to complete and return it means automatic revocation of the license. Actually only the DVLA medical department can revoke a licence, nobody else other than a court of law. The police and doctors can only recommend to the DVLA, but the DVLA will take a lot of notice of what a GP tells them. If the GP is holding things up by taking his/her time to write the report you can always write to the surgery or email to chase up.

Unfortunately we do not have a system in the UK that can stop a driver driving very quickly if public safety is threatened, the whole process is very long winded
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
675
0
In dad's case he decided to sell the car not long after he received his provisional licence but when dad was diagnosed the consultant said to inform him as soon as I become concerned about his driving. Dad adapted quite well and it was an adventure for him using public transport however when his condition became moderate/severe he started getting up at 2.45 am saying that he was looking for the car so I would suggest looking at your parents security as well as contacting his consultant about his driving.

MaNaAk
This is another point, there is a possibility that a PWD may forget that they no longer have a licence to drive and, if there is a car available, they may get in and drive it. This can be very hard to deal with as nobody really has legal authority to confiscate someone else's car or sell it. That's theft. In my case I had power of attorney and used that to sell the car, which provoked a great deal of anger and rage. I felt able to defy his wishes because he was in denial about the diagnosis, and I could argue that he did not understand information given to him in relation to the decision, and therefore did not have capacity under the Mental Capacity Act for the decision to retain or sell the car.
 

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