How can we stop my dad from driving

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by lea, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. lea

    lea Registered User

    Dec 31, 2007
    According to my mum, my dad has not been diagnosed with alzheimers or dementia but me and my sisters think it is unsafe for him to drive. My mum wants him to carry on as normal and gets very upset if I talk about it to her. We don't want to go behind her back but we want to stop my dad driving. Anyone else had this dilemma?
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Hi Lea and welcome to Talking Point.

    Whether or not your father does or does not have dementia, his ability to drive may well be impaired. Just aging can impact driving ability. I assume you have some reason for fearing that he may do himself or someone else some harm?
  3. lea

    lea Registered User

    Dec 31, 2007
    Hi Jennifer. Yes, when I've been in the car with him he seems uncertain and confused. A few days ago I was in the car with him and he was about to go over a red light until I stopped him. Lea
  4. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Hi Lea

    How does your dad feel about it? Has anyone discussed it with him?
  5. lea

    lea Registered User

    Dec 31, 2007
    No, we have npt talked to him. I have talked to my mum about it but she wants him to continue driving and it turning a blind eye to the dangers. She would be very cross if we talked to dad about it. Dad would probably also get very angry if we were to mention it. He shouted at me when i told him not to go over a red ight!:(
  6. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    I do sympathise because I went through a similar situation with my father. He did eventually give up driving of his own accord but it took years and I would have found it hard to live with myself if he had hurt anyone from the time when we worried about his driving to the time when he stopped. He did at one point damage several cars in his road when he drove his car into his own garden wall and then reversed up the street leaving it looking like a demolition derby had taken place!

    It sounds to me as though your mum might be worried that there is something wrong with your dad but is trying to deny it. If she agreed with you that he should stop driving then that would mean admitting that there is something wrong. Has he been seeing a doctor about his problems? Unless he is willing to give up driving voluntarily then I doubt anything will be done unless and until he is given a diagnosis. Also, there is also the possibility that he doesn't have dementia and his behaviour is related to another, possibly more easily treatable condition.
  7. lea

    lea Registered User

    Dec 31, 2007
    Hi Brenda

    Thanks for your reply. My mum is in denial and that's what makes everything difficult. He is seeing a doctor but we don't know whether or not dad has been diagnosed with dementia. However my mum told me that he was seeing a psychiatrist at the hospital and he had given him pills for anxiety and some little blue pills for when he got confused.

    It's hard to get to the truth but me and my sisters are all sure that he has alzheimers or a similar disease.

    I could easily see dad causing similar havoc in his car. Did you talk to your dad about it? Did you talk to your mum about it? Was your dad diagnosed before he stopped driving? The fact sheet says that if he is diagnosed then he has a legal obligation to let the DVLA know. A member of the family could tell the dvla but this would not be a very nice thing to do.

  8. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Hi Lea

    I should have made myself clearer - my dad was never actually diagnosed with dementia, it's my mum who has it! I think my dad was always a bad driver but it got worse as he got older - he was driving until he was in his eighties. I did try talking to my dad about it but he wouldn't accept that he had a problem and it was pointless talking to my mum about it. It did get to the stage where my son was not allowed to go anywhere in the car with him because I just couldn't cope with the anxiety. I did try to get his GP on side after he had a mini stroke in the car - although luckily not whilst actually driving - but the GP wasn't interested.

    My dad did stop driving after dark and in bad weather for a while before he gave up altogether. I am afraid he did also have an accident in which he overturned the car, although amazingly both him and my mum escaped injury.

    You will find that this is a not uncommon scenario and you may well get more replies from members with similar stories.

    Do you think your mum knows more than she is telling you? If so why do you think she is hiding the truth from you? Is she trying to protect you or protect herself? I am sure if she told you what she knows you would be a great support for her, upsetting though it would be for you. Obviously you can't force her to tell you anything though so it is a catch 22!
  9. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    North East
    Hi Lea

    We had this problem with my Mum - it's so hard, as they don't think that there's anything wrong with them and that their driving is fine.

    My Dad had cancer and found it difficult to get about, so he was quite happy for Mum to drive and he said that he would keep her right:(

    When Dad went into hospice, we (my 2 brothers and 2 sisters) took the decision to take the car keys away as we knew that Mum was a danger to others as well as herself. It was a terribly stresssful time as she was totally convinced that Dad had taken the car away and she was horrible to him.

    When he came home from the hospice, we kept the car away and tried to convince Mum that it was in the garage. I know that she gave dad hell over it nad even now, it can really upset me just thinking about it. Dad died a few months later, but even then, she still kept going on about how he had deprived her of the car. Even when I kept telling her it was us - she just wouldn't have it.

    So whatever you decide to do, recognise that it will be terribly stressful, but sometimes, you have to see the bigger picture. It's just sad that the person with AD won't be able to see it.

  10. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    It is so difficult to deal with!!

    Firstly is your Dad over 70 - cos surely then they need a yearly 'review' and need to complete a form in which they declare there are no problems. At this point I insisted that my husband discussed 'the form' with our GP. Thankfully he encouraged D to give up driving with lovely comments about having a competent driver in me.

    At this point D volunteered giving up his licence. He hated it, he was a wonderful driver, but at least he finished with a clean licence - we emphasised this all the way through.

    Another thought ------- could you write directly to the DVLA stating your concerns and worries - I am sure they have to act on such cases, but not too sure how (? write to GP).

    I am sure a solution will come to you - so many of us have had to cope with it. With best wishes Jan
  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Dear Lea

    If your father really is unsafe there isn't going to be an easy solution to this problem - someone is going to have to "shop" him to the authorities. This will, I'm sure, cause massive fall-out in your family circle, so I'm not going to lie to you - this is by no means an easy or pleasant option. However, unsafe is unsafe and it's simply not fair for the rest of the population to allow your father to continue to move around in several tons of potentially lethal machinery.

    You may, actually, find it fairly difficult to get anyone to take action over this - people have posted in the past that pleas to the DVLA have fallen on deaf ears so it may take quite a lot of determination on your part to get anything done about it. The people who have the most success, if that's the right word, are medical professionals who have a legal duty to report problems. So your father's GP may be your first port of call. The problem is, you're not your father's next of kin and even if you were the GP does not have to take to you about your father's situation. However, a letter raising your concerns and observations would at least be a start.

    Unfortunately, if you're mother is unwilling to discuss the whole thing (not just the driving but also your father's possible health issues) you are going to have to be very thick-skinned about this. I sense you and your sister may be quite young - I may well be wrong about this but your mother's behaviour seems unusually protective and that can happen more frequently with early onset dementia.
  12. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    Dear Lea,

    You have my utmost sympathy. We went through all of this with Dad. Like Brenda's Dad, he did not have a diagnosis of dementia. He was always an erratic driver (came to live in the city on retirement - was used to quiet country toads before that) and got worse as he got older.

    We tried everything - talking to him, talking to Mum, refusing to go in the car with him. It took months to get anywhere but eventually he was forced to give up driving - something he (and Mum!) could never understand or accept. It was a horrific time but I agree totally with Jennifer who says we must be concerned not only for the ones we love, but for other road users.

    We tried some "emotional blackmail" on Dad, saying "how would you feel if you accidentally hit and injured someone?" but that didn't work either. It seems that the person is SO reluctant to lose their licence that they will stop at nthing to keep it.

    In defence of my Dad (and almost certainly your's) they truly believe they are driving perfectly well. :eek: When Dad had his RTA (like your DVLA) test, he thought he would get a perfect score :confused: and was outraged to find he'd failed.

    My suggestion is to write to your Dad's GP (keep a copy of the letter - you may need it later for DVLA) and set out ALL your concerns about his driving. Include the fact that your Mum is very defensive - this could be useful information for the GP.
    Ask if he/she can set in motion some way of having your father properly assessed.

    Best of luck with this terribly difficult situation.
  13. RAF1

    RAF1 Registered User

    Sep 29, 2007
    I had this problem with my wife Melva and I refused to let her drive. This caused a lot of problems here at home as she would steal the keys at night after I was asleep and drive the car back and forth in the drive and garage. I finally talked to her GP and he said that it was not safe for her to drive and told her this. She was upset but respected him and didn't try to drive for a while. Then we went to a Neurologist who said "I see no reason why Melva can't take driving lessons and continue driving" many more problems again. (I refused to take her back to that neurologist and I got her records from him. I then spoke with the GP to refer her to a different Neurologist who told her in no uncertain terms that she couldn't drive. This was after he spent 3 hours evaluating her and she was very upset with him for the evaluation and for telling her that she couldn't drive. She then (about 2 weeks later) told me that I could quit hiding the keys to cars as she was done driving. I still hide the keys but haven't had any problems with the driving thing. The big thing is to get the doctors to tell your dad that he shouldn't drive....One of the things that both doctors told Melva was that they were aware that she was giving up some of her freedom but that was better than killing some poor child. Good luck to you as it really is difficult getting them to quit.
  14. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Thank you for posting as you did RAF 1. Your comments mean so much:
    Could any of us live with that.
  15. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Perhaps an alternative is to notify the Insurance company that dad is displaying symptoms of unroadworthiness. That might put up his premiums so much that he has to have a re-think.

    That said, my friend's mum who didn't have dementia or anything like it, continued driving until nearly ninety, knocking off every wing mirror on parked cars for many years. And I have a friend who is only just 60 who is such a bad driver I fear for my safety when I am with her. So it isn't just those with AD or similar who are a danger to others and themselves.



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