How to stop someone going back to the Dealer to collect their car, again and again...

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by GarryJD, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. GarryJD

    GarryJD Registered User

    Sep 17, 2015
    I'm relatively new to looking after someone with Dementia, but have worked in the NHS for 30+ years. My stepfather was fine in February this year, took his car into the garage for repairs in April, and by June his driving licence was suspended after medical advice. He has no recollection of this and still keeps going back to the dealership to collect his car. His car was so badly damaged it was going to cost £5K but the car was worth £750. The dealership was honest and said that it was beyond repair, but the argument went on with my stepfather.

    I have dealt with all the paperwork, and included him in all this by getting him to sign the documents to scrap his car. Despite this he is still trying to get his car back.

    The dealership were bringing him back home at their cost (more than 10 trips now), but today they made him walk back - almost 4 miles.

    When talking to him - he knows his car has gone - but now he says the dealership have sold it and he wants to go up and have an argument with them. When I say to him, "You know they don't have your car don't you?" he smirks or smiles and says "Yes" but I'm going anyway....

    Any ideas anyone - as I have recently learnt that he had developed hitch-hiking skills.....!
  2. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    #2 Katrine, Sep 24, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
    Hi Garry. There are a lot of positives in your story.

    FIL is no longer driving a damaged car.
    He didn't waste money on repairs.
    The car has been scrapped so there's no going back anyway. :rolleyes:

    The guys at the dealership have woken up to the fact that FIL is playing a game, or following an inappropriate script, or whatever you might like to call this obsession.
    They have today stopped enabling his behaviour.
    FIL got there, and back home, safely under his own steam. :)

    Ideally you want to get FIL a new hobby, one that is less annoying to other people and less potentially dangerous for him.

    My very first thought when I read your post was probably neither kind nor helpful, but I'll offer it anyway, in the hope that it makes you chuckle. :eek: Go to the scrap yard and buy a car that has been squashed into a cube. Install this in the garden as a piece of modern art. :D Second suggestion, go to the scrap yard, take a photograph of a squashed car of the same model, show him the photo when you have to evidence where it's gone.

    I think it's all gone too abstract for him to understand or remember. He is in the grip of powerful feelings that are impervious to logic. That's why my suggestions, though tongue in cheek, are aimed at finding a way for him to 'see' where his car is. At the moment he has a picture in his head of his car. The dealers have got it. He can't grasp what has happened next, because he can only remember the car as it used to be.
  3. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    Its the smirks and smiles that get to me when my oh says " yes of course he knows " . He means know of course I don't know but I'm not telling you that. No amount of logical conversation from you will help of course. Very frustrating for you.
  4. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Unfortunately, as I found, logic is one of the first things to go.
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Quite often you think you have had a conversation and they understand things, when actually they havent at all.
    The fact that he says he understands that they havent got his car anymore, but then says that hes going anyway shows that, actually he doesnt understand that they havent got the car anymore or what has happened to it. And even if you do get him to understand he wont remember. He doesnt remember that he cant drive, he doesnt remember that the car has been scrapped - all he remembers is that the car was taken there and he wants it back.

    Unfortunately, if he is already wandering it may not stop. Can you get him to wear a tracker? Eventually (soon?) he wont remember where he is going or where he lives and the thought of him getting into strangers cars fills me with horror :eek:
  6. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    How about giving the dealer your contact details so you are then able to pick him up rather than the worry of him walking home or inconveniencing them. Maybe the police asking him to leave the premises maybe enough but I doubt it.

    How about telling him that the car is now being sent elsewhere for inspection, or someone is going to see the garage about inspecting it and you will let him know when it's ready. I realise that with logic gone and memory not good this may not help either.

    Is there anything else he could focus on? Like a job you give him to do, even if it's painting a shed or digging a hole or a jigsaw. Maybe give him a jigsaw and tell him once it's done you will call the garage to see if there is any news if the car, by which time he may have moved on hopefully.

    Does he go to day centres or anything as he maybe bored and this interaction with others at the centre would distract him.
  7. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    If the garage is a four mile walk from home, how is he getting there? I'm wondering if there is any way of heading him off before he sets out. If he really can't be stopped, could you make any arrangement for taxis to bring him home - walking and hitch-hiking seem like a bad idea for someone who is elderly and confused, but it is easy to understand that the garage can't do it at their own expense forever. Trying to divert his attention onto something else sounds like the best idea, if only you could do that.
  8. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #8 Margarita, Sep 24, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015

    Next time say to your dad
    " How does it FEEL like not having your car" ?

    To want an argument with someone includes " Feeling"

    So every time your dad keeps saying 'wants an argument with them" or " wants his Car back"

    distract him with talking asking about his feeling about the car,
    Journeys he enjoyed with his car, how the car made him feel, how he feels now without the car the independents feelins it gave him .

    His independents feelins that his does not have now without the Car .

    One thing a dementia can not take away from someone is "feelings"

    I am not saying it will stop your dad in still wanting to go to the dealership shop. May have to keep going over the say ground of answering.
    Just a distraction, acknowledgement of his feeling about the Car

    hope it helps :)
  9. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    I used to work in a car dealership before I had to give it up to look after Mum and Dad.

    I was on reception.

    We had an elderly gentleman who initially brought in his car for servicing and repair but eventually was forced to give up driving (he told us it was because he was bored of driving but we suspected otherwise).

    At first he came in to collect his car which wasn't with us. One of our service ladies gave him a lift home.

    Then he started coming in on his mobility scooter and stayed for several hours, chatting to the staff, drinking tea etc.

    It was obvious he just came in for the company, and he wasn't the only one. We had several 'regulars', including an autistic lad who collected brochures and a widower who came in for the occasional test drive but just liked chatting to people and didn't seem to have any friends.

    It might be an idea to talk to the dealership and find out what he is like when he is with them. He might just enjoy the change of scene and chatting to people, despite telling you he is going there for another reason.

    Some of the receptionists are vaguely human! ;)
  10. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    I think you may be right in fact his excuse to go to the garage is the car but maybe his reason is for a chat and socialising. His trip back gives him more chance to chat again as does the hitch hiking.

    Maybe see if you can arrange a befriended to visit as maybe he's lonely rather than missing his car. Hopefully when the weather gets worse his visit to the garage may subside.
  11. GarryJD

    GarryJD Registered User

    Sep 17, 2015
    Thanks for scrapping advice!

    Sorry for the delay I've been with my parents for the last week as they've both been poorly with infections. Dementia + Bladder Infection = Trouble.... I like the advice about having a squashed car - and believe me my Mom even suggested this tonight....

    He has been up to the garage again today, but more worrying is he got lost for 10 hours last Friday - first time he's been gone that long. Thank Heavens for the West Midlands Police.... They picked him up near Birmingham Airport....
  12. GarryJD

    GarryJD Registered User

    Sep 17, 2015

    I'm in the process of trying to get him a Tracker - problem is he stopped taking his phone with him a few months ago as he didn't want to be bothered by people - then said people could keep and eye on him with his phone... I only hope I can get a tracker that I can slip onto his house keys so he doesn't know he is carrying them.

    I've thought about Micro-Chipping, but apparently that is unethical... Kidding....x
  13. GarryJD

    GarryJD Registered User

    Sep 17, 2015
    Thank You Ex-Receptionist...!

    Thanks for this - the people at Dads garage have been fantastic - and they have my contact details if he becomes difficult. He went missing for the first time on 25/09/2015 - one of the places I searched was the dealership. They said he's not been in today, but he was here yesterday...... They were clearly worried about him - so yes - there are quite a few receptionists that are human......!!!
  14. Chuggalug

    Chuggalug Registered User

    Mar 24, 2014
    Garry, are any of the medics who care for him (assuming they do), aware of his wanderings and this delusion? The car was a powerful one for my husband, and it lasted for all the time he lived with me. Have you mentioned any of this to the GP? There may be something he could be medicated with to help. It does need sorting as he's now very vulnerable. Four miles is a huge walk for a dementia sufferer.
  15. GarryJD

    GarryJD Registered User

    Sep 17, 2015
    This is where it gets complicated. He lives with my Mom and she has refused any help from Social Services which means it falls to the family to help - which is me and her older Sister!. GP is aware but cannot medicate him with usual medication as he has a very slow heart rate. However, he can walk for miles - and he does.... this is very worrying as the Police had to bring him back last week as I think I've mentioned..!
  16. Chuggalug

    Chuggalug Registered User

    Mar 24, 2014
    Yes, and that's what concerned me. I'm so sorry. I'm afraid that I stuck my head in the sand. There's a reason behind it. I really wanted help but kept getting fobbed off and left alone to cope for years. So I just stopped asking. Could it be your Mum has had to face anything like that, and she's become a bit cynical? Does she laugh when the word 'help' is mentioned? That's how bad it became for me. If so, she needs support for her own peace of mind, God love her. I know that as a family, you already do the best you can.
  17. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    When the police bring him back, be sure to get an incident number. This will be a record of the incident(s) which may help later if a care placement is needed.

  18. Risa

    Risa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
    Can you get a tracker for your Dad? I know from experience with my Mum that it is impossible to stop her from going out when she is in that frame of mind but at least with a tracker we know where she is. We have also taken away her bus pass to limit where she can roam. Mum hasn't been able to use her bank cards or understand money for a few years so apart from 32p in her purse, she can't finance any journeys which also reigns her in a bit.

    Could you also put your contact details in your Dad's jacket or on a keyfob on his doorkey so that if he is found by the police, they know how to reach you?

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