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Memory service are clear that he must cease driving

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
My father has had a verbal diagnosis of dementia from the memory nurse who carried out an assessment and informed us that a consultant had reviewed a brain scan and identified damage. The memory service are clear that he must cease driving and we expect that confirmed in writing shortly. This will probably be followed in a few weeks by DVLA revoking the licence. However I have a lot of problems before that happens. Car insurance runs out very soon and with medical advice not to drive there is no hope of getting insurance renewed - but getting him to tell the insurer is going to be a problem and when he gets the letter he's obliged to tell DVLA himself - but again I am not sure that he'll sign a letter to DVLA even though it is punishable by a large fine to fail to tell them. He is utterly in denial, claims it is a wrong diagnosis (it isn't, that's obvious to me), claims his driving is absolutely fine (and it is not bad in practice apart from going too fast), does not believe he has significant memory loss and talks as if nothing had happened, e.g. about journeys he wants to make in the car. He has closed his mind to it largely. The crunch is coming quite soon because of the insurance issue and I am not sure how to handle that. Generally I manage all financial things such as insurance for him but I am certainly not going to lie to the insurers. Any ideas?
 
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Bikerbeth

Registered User
Feb 11, 2019
1,568
Bedford
I am assuming you want to keep car insured until sold. (Which I am sure will be another challenge) If so does your father already need assistance with financial matters anyway. If so could you ring insurance company and then get your father to tell them that you can speak to them on his behalf. I did this with Mum and then I wandered into a different room and told insurance company Mum’s illness but that the car needed insurance until sold. They were helpful and organised accordingly. Alternatively could you insure the car on your policy as a short term measure.
with regards to DVLA I wrote a letter signed by me and enclosed a copy of the letter from memory clinic regarding Mum
 

Pete1

Registered User
Jul 16, 2019
867
Hi @MartinWL, do you actually have Power of Attorney to manage Dad's affairs? If you don't I would suggest that you look to put that in place as a matter of urgency (you mentioned you managed his affairs so I'm guessing you do). Once you have that in writing, if you are acting for Dad, you will have to inform the insurers and DVLA - it doesn't feel good doing it I know, especially as you feel at the moment his driving ability seems to be OK. What I would say is that could change and Dad could injure himself or others - I always cite a case that happened in my Town where a driver that had been advised to no longer drive continued to do so (the Police had advised DVLA) he got confused at a new road layout mounted the pavement and killed a pedestrian, young teenage girl. So the vehicle needs to be removed too, as advising the DVLA and insurers won't necessarily prevent use of the vehicle. Very difficult situation. I wish you all the best.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
Hi @MartinWL, do you actually have Power of Attorney to manage Dad's affairs? If you don't I would suggest that you look to put that in place as a matter of urgency (you mentioned you managed his affairs so I'm guessing you do). Once you have that in writing, if you are acting for Dad, you will have to inform the insurers and DVLA - it doesn't feel good doing it I know, especially as you feel at the moment his driving ability seems to be OK. What I would say is that could change and Dad could injure himself or others - I always cite a case that happened in my Town where a driver that had been advised to no longer drive continued to do so (the Police had advised DVLA) he got confused at a new road layout mounted the pavement and killed a pedestrian, young teenage girl. So the vehicle needs to be removed too, as advising the DVLA and insurers won't necessarily prevent use of the vehicle. Very difficult situation. I wish you all the best.
I have both types of POE pending registration with the appallingly slow Office of the Public Guardian. They have had the form for weeks and we don't expect it to be finalised until well into August. But in any case my father has not yet lost mental capacity so I don't think I can dictate.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
Losing capacity doesnt mean that they cant do anything for themselves, @MartinWL and you can lose capacity for one thing, but not another. You said that you already manage his financial matters, so he has already lost capacity for that and getting the POA will just put it on a legal basis. It doesnt sound to me as though he has capacity to understand about not driving either, so this is something else you will have to manage for him.
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
560
You can use the financial LPA as soon as necessary even if your dad still has some capacity. We were able to register ours with the bank and set things in place to stop the risk of mum being scammed again. I also used it to sort out Mums house insurance after she did not renew it, the company were very helpful and restarted cover immediately.

I recently set up my own LPAs and got the final registered documents back in about six weeks, have your taken longer? Maybe you could chase them up?
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
Losing capacity doesnt mean that they cant do anything for themselves, @MartinWL and you can lose capacity for one thing, but not another. You said that you already manage his financial matters, so he has already lost capacity for that and getting the POA will just put it on a legal basis. It doesnt sound to me as though he has capacity to understand about not driving either, so this is something else you will have to manage for him.
I suppose you are right but the mental capacity act is clear that making unwise decisions isn't loss of capacity. He is very capable of making clear that he does not want to sell the car and I don't think I can override that. Later as the disease progresses maybe but he is too lucid and able to express himself at present. He may be convinced he can get his licence back on appeal and want to retain the car.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
You can use the financial LPA as soon as necessary even if your dad still has some capacity. We were able to register ours with the bank and set things in place to stop the risk of mum being scammed again. I also used it to sort out Mums house insurance after she did not renew it, the company were very helpful and restarted cover immediately.

I recently set up my own LPAs and got the final registered documents back in about six weeks, have your taken longer? Maybe you could chase them up?
I wrote to the Public Guardian himself on the general point of how bad the service is and the need for reforms (e.g. no online fee payment) but only got an acknowledgement as after a month! The organisation is a scandal.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
the mental capacity act is clear that making unwise decisions isn't loss of capacity.
Absolutely true - but is his refusal to sell the car an unwise choice, or a loss of capacity to understand that he can no longer drive? Being able to state your wishes clearly does not necessarily mean that you are able to make that choice.

Mum was able to state very clearly that she did not want to move into a care home, but she had absolutely no understanding that she was completely unable to look after herself. She was judged to have lost capacity in this matter and she had to be moved into a care home
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
On the use of a LPA I know it can be used at once but am less sure that it can be used to overrule the clear wishes of the donor, clearly expressed. I know some people have done things like hiding car keys, moving or selling the car, but this is theft, if the owner is still capable of making that decision, which he is in my case. I think I may have to rely on the impossibility of getting insurance but this may not be enough to stop the driving, which would then mean involving the police! We as carers and relatives don't have powers to control parents or dictate to them. Mine is very coherent and lucid and adamant that his driving is fine.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
Absolutely true - but is his refusal to sell the car an unwise choice, or a loss of capacity to understand that he can no longer drive? Being able to state your wishes clearly does not necessarily mean that you are able to make that choice.

Mum was able to state very clearly that she did not want to move into a care home, but she had absolutely no understanding that she was completely unable to look after herself. She was judged to have lost capacity in this matter and she had to be moved into a care home
True but I would feel the need for someone well qualified e.g. consultant old-age psychiatrist, to decide that he had lost capacity. I don't think he has really lost the ability to understand things, but he blots out what he does not want to hear.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
Can anyone point to a web page explaining in detail how dementia makes driving dangerous? Or case studies of accidents? I have only found fairly superficial explanations, not much detail.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
You can report your concerns about his driving anonymously to the DVLA even before a diagnosis.
Would doing this resolve your dilemma?
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
You can report your concerns about his driving anonymously to the DVLA even before a diagnosis.
Would doing this resolve your dilemma?
No it wouldn't, alas. The problem is how to make a person who is an adult able to make his own decisions however unwise, accept that he must take the medical advice to give up driving. And to do that without stealing keys, car, or other law breaking.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
239
If the memory service say he must cease driving (your original post) then there is your answer.
That's the theory. But my dad disagrees with the diagnosis and will have to be forced to give up driving somehow. I don't know how this can be done as there are not enough grounds to overrule him under the Mental Capacity Act.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
One of the symptoms of dementia is a thing called anosognosia, which is where he person is unable to understand that they have something wrong with them. If your dad has this (and it certainly sounds like he has) then he will be unable to make a choice about stopping driving and will never agree to it. He may be able to state loud and clear that he wont give up, but it is not a true choice. At what point will you feel that you have to intervene? It comes very hard to us carers, but there comes a time when we have to stop enabling their wishes and start enforcing their needs.