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Memory service are clear that he must cease driving

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
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.
How much detail do you want?
This is pretty comprehensive
Thank you, that is indeed detailed. I am doubtful of my own ability to translate it into an explanation my father can understand, though, it is rather specialised!
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
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.
I accept all that, but how to do it?. My father would probably be capable of revoking the power of attorney.. I don't have much legal right to compel him to do things.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,307
My mother in law often used to say she would revoke the POA , I used to say she should let me know when she had done it . Of course I knew she would never do it because she was incapable of taking the initiative to make the correct steps to do so. I think you should think outside the box with this illness. If you are going to look all the time for the legal route to cover every eventuality and circumstance that may arise as the disease progresses , you will wind yourself up in knots. There comes a point where the person with dementias needs outweigh what they want to happen. It sounds like your dad will never agree to stop driving. There have been many threads on this forum about the same issue and I'm sure others will be along to give their practical advice about how they managed it with their loved ones. My mother in law didn't drive, so I can't give any practical advice. But I think you will have to employ that old tactic of deceiving your dad. I have read that others have taken away the car on the pretext of it "needing repairs", or hiding keys . This may go against the grain , but it sounds like your dad will never accept the inevitable. Lies may sound harsh , but as the disease gets worse, it will become the new normal.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
My mother in law often used to say she would revoke the POA , I used to say she should let me know when she had done it . Of course I knew she would never do it because she was incapable of taking the initiative to make the correct steps to do so. I think you should think outside the box with this illness. If you are going to look all the time for the legal route to cover every eventuality and circumstance that may arise as the disease progresses , you will wind yourself up in knots. There comes a point where the person with dementias needs outweigh what they want to happen. It sounds like your dad will never agree to stop driving. There have been many threads on this forum about the same issue and I'm sure others will be along to give their practical advice about how they managed it with their loved ones. My mother in law didn't drive, so I can't give any practical advice. But I think you will have to employ that old tactic of deceiving your dad. I have read that others have taken away the car on the pretext of it "needing repairs", or hiding keys . This may go against the grain , but it sounds like your dad will never accept the inevitable. Lies may sound harsh , but as the disease gets worse, it will become the new normal.
I don't think he has reached the stage yet where he could be hoodwinked by a bit of subdefuge, he is still in possession of his faculties in many ways. I can't risk a major relationship breakdown by stealing his car and that would be a crime anyway. I know a bit of economy with the truth will be necessary in due course but I have a situation in which he is not so far down the road that I can just ignore his wishes and I could not make a strong enough case to declare him lacking mental capacity and I am not qualified to determine that.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
My cousin initially took away his dad's car keys and then the car.
I wish I could but the law does not give carers the right to commit theft. The law needs to be stronger in this area so that on the authority of a hospital consultant an immediate driving ban could be imposed and a car impounded. But we don't make the law.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,856
South coast
Hiding the keys and then denying it, or moving the car and saying that its in the garage being fixed is not theft - it is "therapeutic untruths", which is a bona fide technique for use in dementia. When someone with dementia is unable to understand the reality of their situation, but there is a need that has to be answered, then the way of bridging that gap is therapeutic untruths - tell them something that they can understand, even if it is not actually true.

This is a technique that comes hard to us as we have been brought up to tell the truth, especially to our parents and often, in the initial stages, we can be hoodwinked into thinking that they are more able than they really are, so we shy away from using it. You will find, though, that as the dementia advances, you will have to, in order to keep the peace.

You seem very concerned about the idea that you might be stealing from him. Has he already accused you of doing so? Im afraid that this is so common in dementia that it is almost diagnostic and you have to develop a thick skin (which is hard). Legally, even if you sold his car, so long as the money went into an account in his name it is not stealing.
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,319
How about removing the spark plugs or some other way of stopping the car from going ?
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,499
Kent
I contacted the DVLA and gave them details of my mother`s dementia. They wrote and asked her to return her license.

She was an advanced driver a member of IAM, the Institute of Advanced Motorists but got to the stage when she said her car knew the way home even if she didn`t.

She sussed I was the culprit and said if she`d had a gun she would have killed me. She didn`t have a gun and it was better than her killing anyone else.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,596
Nottinghamshire
My daughter “borrowed” my dad’s car so she could run errands for him - and continued to borrow it often agreeing to run him home and then give it back but then asking him if she could borrow it to get home again...

Dad moaned occasionally but he’d actually given the car to my daughter some months before after advice from his consultant and then forgotten. Reminding him that he’d given it to her lead to accusations of lying but the “borrowing” story worked for us until he forgot all about driving.
 

Ponddweller

Registered User
Jun 20, 2019
80
Dear @MartinWL,
Your dilemmas about the car really resonated with me as my sister and I had a similar situation with our Dad in December/January. Dad's dementia seemed to come on really quickly in June 2019 in that he suddenly lost his short term memory. However, in other aspects he seemed normal. In particular he is lucid and can make seemingly rational arguments. Only if you knew him would you know anything was wrong.

He was seen at the memory clinic in September but not formally diagnosed until December. He was told at the clinic that he should only drive locally but told the nurse he might as well kill himself. As he lives alone, I live 150 miles away, and my sister, though local, was working full-time and had just been diagnosed with cancer, we decided to pick our battles and concentrate on trying to get POA and carers organised rather than remove his car. He did continue to drive but was picking up dents and dings and eventually lost his car (long story) but maddeningly found it again a week later. On that occasion I reported him to the police but they just went round to try and help him remember where he'd left it. I also reported him to the DVLA. They wrote to him asking him to report any medical conditions. As he was having difficulty with forms this took a while but eventually he was asked to get a signature from his GP to declare whether he was fit to drive. The GP called me and said he was unfit in his opinion and would inform the DVLA. The DVLA couldn't discuss him with me directly as POA hadn't yet come through so I didn't know if they'd written to him. When nothing seemed to appear I asked them to write to him to definitively state that he had no licence a few weeks later.

When he was diagnosed his licence only had a week to run so the consultant said there was no need to declare it to the DVLA. Either way, he instantly forgot about the diagnosis, he just knew he was furious about something. My sister removed his keys a few days later. This led to a week of horrible abuse from him, heartbreakingly in the days leading up to her cancer surgery when he would call her and her husband and shout awful things at them. He then called a locksmith and got the car locks changed. He would threaten the police and my sister works for the Department of Justice so she was really worried about this. She pointed out she had POA by this point but he would say he would get it revoked. Intellectualy we knew that he'd be unlikely to manage this, but he was showing such initiative in getting the locks changed we didn't really know what to expect. He actually wasn't driving much at the time because he kept leaving the lights on and draining the battery so it spent most of the time at the garage. They were also in cahoots with us and would take extra long getting it back to him. Things calmed down over christmas then the following week my sister put a wheel clamp on the car one night until she could get access to the house to take his keys but he sawed it off. He's 85 and can barely walk but managed to find the strength to do that. He never mentioned this to us. She finally got hold of the keys a couple of days later with the help of his carers and then took the car in the night. In the meantime she'd talked to the local police and they had assured her that as she had POA she was in the right, legally and morally.

We spent a couple of days waiting for the explosion but nothing so my sister went round. She found him calm, brandishing a letter from the DVLA explaining that due to his medical condition he wouldn't be getting a new licence and he couldn't drive. He was making a GP appointment for them to explain it to him but was calm and rational. He even admitted that he had known he wasn't supposed to drive but reasoned that he was an old man and it didn't matter. He was apologetic and offered the car to my nephew. We were flabbergasted. I probably haven't expressed it here but it was the most stressful few months of our lives, especially my sisters. I think the calm may have coincided with my Dad's donepizil medication kicking in which has been miraculous in calming his agitation but it definitely helped having the authorities put it down in black and white for him.
Since then he occasionally asks why he doesn't have a car and still thinks it was because of a temporary memory loss so the GP could get it reversed but obviously this isn't going to happen.

Like your Dad, ours was patently unfit, but not at a stage where we could fool him. He thought of driving as his lifeline as he has difficulty walking and lives in a village. He would threaten to kill himself if he couldn't drive. We realised later he was making very risky trips from Gloucestershire to South Wales to try and find old friends. I agree that the law is a bit of a mess on this, leaving the onus on the PWD to declare themselves to the DVLA and the family to remove the car, in our case leading to horrendous emotional distress on all sides, and potentially damaging my sister's health. BTW, her treatment and operation went brilliantly and she's come out the other side. I must admit at the time when I told people he was still driving and they were shocked and said it was dangerous, it would reduce me to tears as if I couldn't work that out for myself but we just didn't seem to be able to find a way round. All I can suggest is that you try and speak to the GP, DVLA and local police and seek their reassurance and advice. That's what helped us in the end.
Good luck
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,386
Suffolk
There used to be a test that people who thought they could drive could take. If you passed it, then fine, if you failed it, that was the end of the driving. I know OH took it, but I don’t know if that system is still in use. Perhaps someone more uptodate would clarify.
Also note that the diagnosis of dementia does not mean the automatic end of driving. There have been plenty of people on this site who are still driving legally years after diagnosis.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
787
High Peak
It's very difficult. I admire your wish to do right by your father, to protect him and to defend his right to make decisions, even bad ones.

However, I really think that if he'd been out in his car yesterday and got lost or had an accident of some sort, even a minor one, you wouldn't be thinking this way - you'd take appropriate action. Is that what you are waiting for - full-on proof that he shouldn't be driving?

Please don't wait. By all means support some of his bad decisions for a while if they are things that don't matter. (Who cares if he wants to re-decorate his living room in maroon and orange?) But driving is a big deal and you would never forgive yourself if your father hurt himself or someone else.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
Hiding the keys and then denying it, or moving the car and saying that its in the garage being fixed is not theft - it is "therapeutic untruths", which is a bona fide technique for use in dementia. When someone with dementia is unable to understand the reality of their situation, but there is a need that has to be answered, then the way of bridging that gap is therapeutic untruths - tell them something that they can understand, even if it is not actually true.

This is a technique that comes hard to us as we have been brought up to tell the truth, especially to our parents and often, in the initial stages, we can be hoodwinked into thinking that they are more able than they really are, so we shy away from using it. You will find, though, that as the dementia advances, you will have to, in order to keep the peace.

You seem very concerned about the idea that you might be stealing from him. Has he already accused you of doing so? Im afraid that this is so common in dementia that it is almost diagnostic and you have to develop a thick skin (which is hard). Legally, even if you sold his car, so long as the money went into an account in his name it is not stealing.
No accusations yet but he is not so far advanced that I could hide the keys or take the car. Remember that none of us have rights to control someone. As the illness develops these techniques might work. Telling therapeutic untruths may be necessary but taking s car away without consent is a crime however well meaning.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
Hiding the keys and then denying it, or moving the car and saying that its in the garage being fixed is not theft - it is "therapeutic untruths", which is a bona fide technique for use in dementia. When someone with dementia is unable to understand the reality of their situation, but there is a need that has to be answered, then the way of bridging that gap is therapeutic untruths - tell them something that they can understand, even if it is not actually true.

This is a technique that comes hard to us as we have been brought up to tell the truth, especially to our parents and often, in the initial stages, we can be hoodwinked into thinking that they are more able than they really are, so we shy away from using it. You will find, though, that as the dementia advances, you will have to, in order to keep the peace.

You seem very concerned about the idea that you might be stealing from him. Has he already accused you of doing so? Im afraid that this is so common in dementia that it is almost diagnostic and you have to develop a thick skin (which is hard). Legally, even if you sold his car, so long as the money went into an account in his name it is not stealing.
No accusations yet but he is not so far advanced that I could hide the keys or take the car. Remember that none of us have rights to control someone. As the illness develops these techniques might work. Telling therapeutic untruths may be necessary but taking s car away without consent is a crime however well meaning.
Dear @MartinWL,
Your dilemmas about the car really resonated with me as my sister and I had a similar situation with our Dad in December/January. Dad's dementia seemed to come on really quickly in June 2019 in that he suddenly lost his short term memory. However, in other aspects he seemed normal. In particular he is lucid and can make seemingly rational arguments. Only if you knew him would you know anything was wrong.

He was seen at the memory clinic in September but not formally diagnosed until December. He was told at the clinic that he should only drive locally but told the nurse he might as well kill himself. As he lives alone, I live 150 miles away, and my sister, though local, was working full-time and had just been diagnosed with cancer, we decided to pick our battles and concentrate on trying to get POA and carers organised rather than remove his car. He did continue to drive but was picking up dents and dings and eventually lost his car (long story) but maddeningly found it again a week later. On that occasion I reported him to the police but they just went round to try and help him remember where he'd left it. I also reported him to the DVLA. They wrote to him asking him to report any medical conditions. As he was having difficulty with forms this took a while but eventually he was asked to get a signature from his GP to declare whether he was fit to drive. The GP called me and said he was unfit in his opinion and would inform the DVLA. The DVLA couldn't discuss him with me directly as POA hadn't yet come through so I didn't know if they'd written to him. When nothing seemed to appear I asked them to write to him to definitively state that he had no licence a few weeks later.

When he was diagnosed his licence only had a week to run so the consultant said there was no need to declare it to the DVLA. Either way, he instantly forgot about the diagnosis, he just knew he was furious about something. My sister removed his keys a few days later. This led to a week of horrible abuse from him, heartbreakingly in the days leading up to her cancer surgery when he would call her and her husband and shout awful things at them. He then called a locksmith and got the car locks changed. He would threaten the police and my sister works for the Department of Justice so she was really worried about this. She pointed out she had POA by this point but he would say he would get it revoked. Intellectualy we knew that he'd be unlikely to manage this, but he was showing such initiative in getting the locks changed we didn't really know what to expect. He actually wasn't driving much at the time because he kept leaving the lights on and draining the battery so it spent most of the time at the garage. They were also in cahoots with us and would take extra long getting it back to him. Things calmed down over christmas then the following week my sister put a wheel clamp on the car one night until she could get access to the house to take his keys but he sawed it off. He's 85 and can barely walk but managed to find the strength to do that. He never mentioned this to us. She finally got hold of the keys a couple of days later with the help of his carers and then took the car in the night. In the meantime she'd talked to the local police and they had assured her that as she had POA she was in the right, legally and morally.

We spent a couple of days waiting for the explosion but nothing so my sister went round. She found him calm, brandishing a letter from the DVLA explaining that due to his medical condition he wouldn't be getting a new licence and he couldn't drive. He was making a GP appointment for them to explain it to him but was calm and rational. He even admitted that he had known he wasn't supposed to drive but reasoned that he was an old man and it didn't matter. He was apologetic and offered the car to my nephew. We were flabbergasted. I probably haven't expressed it here but it was the most stressful few months of our lives, especially my sisters. I think the calm may have coincided with my Dad's donepizil medication kicking in which has been miraculous in calming his agitation but it definitely helped having the authorities put it down in black and white for him.
Since then he occasionally asks why he doesn't have a car and still thinks it was because of a temporary memory loss so the GP could get it reversed but obviously this isn't going to happen.

Like your Dad, ours was patently unfit, but not at a stage where we could fool him. He thought of driving as his lifeline as he has difficulty walking and lives in a village. He would threaten to kill himself if he couldn't drive. We realised later he was making very risky trips from Gloucestershire to South Wales to try and find old friends. I agree that the law is a bit of a mess on this, leaving the onus on the PWD to declare themselves to the DVLA and the family to remove the car, in our case leading to horrendous emotional distress on all sides, and potentially damaging my sister's health. BTW, her treatment and operation went brilliantly and she's come out the other side. I must admit at the time when I told people he was still driving and they were shocked and said it was dangerous, it would reduce me to tears as if I couldn't work that out for myself but we just didn't seem to be able to find a way round. All I can suggest is that you try and speak to the GP, DVLA and local police and seek their reassurance and advice. That's what helped us in the end.
Good luck
Thanks for this, what a horrendous story.
It's very difficult. I admire your wish to do right by your father, to protect him and to defend his right to make decisions, even bad ones.

However, I really think that if he'd been out in his car yesterday and got lost or had an accident of some sort, even a minor one, you wouldn't be thinking this way - you'd take appropriate action. Is that what you are waiting for - full-on proof that he shouldn't be driving?

Please don't wait. By all means support some of his bad decisions for a while if they are things that don't matter. (Who cares if he wants to re-decorate his living room in maroon and orange?) But driving is a big deal and you would never forgive yourself if your father hurt himself or someone else.
I intend to do all that I can within the law. I have no power to force my father to stop driving. Only the DVLC have that power and they are slow. I have no legal right to steal his keys, they are his keys, not mine. If he drives without insurance I might have to involve the police, which would be quite horrible but essential. Whilst legally he can be banned from driving it is going to be very difficult to sell the car without his cooperation. When I get POA there will be a bit more scope but the OPG are even slower.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,596
Nottinghamshire
I don’t remember who told me this @MartinWL but I do remember thinking how very tragic it was that a young teenager lost her life when she was run over, on the pavement, by a PWD who believed they were fine to drive.

A car, in the wrong hands, is lethal,
 

Normaleila

Registered User
Jun 4, 2016
751
No accusations yet but he is not so far advanced that I could hide the keys or take the car. Remember that none of us have rights to control someone. As the illness develops these techniques might work. Telling therapeutic untruths may be necessary but taking s car away without consent is a crime however well meaning.

Thanks for this, what a horrendous story.

I intend to do all that I can within the law. I have no power to force my father to stop driving. Only the DVLC have that power and they are slow. I have no legal right to steal his keys, they are his keys, not mine. If he drives without insurance I might have to involve the police, which would be quite horrible but essential. Whilst legally he can be banned from driving it is going to be very difficult to sell the car without his cooperation. When I get POA there will be a bit more scope but the OPG are even slower.
Does he have valid insurance at the moment? I'm not sure that he does if he's not told the insurance company his diagnosis and that he's been told not to drive.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
Does he have valid insurance at the moment? I'm not sure that he does if he's not told the insurance company his diagnosis and that he's been told not to drive.
That's a good point. As it happens the insurance is due for renewal very soon so I see that as my opportunity, it cannot be renewed.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
1,927
I took dads car away when it became clear that he was a danger to himself and others. He had dents on all four corners, a caved in passenger door and front wing after an argument with a parked lorry and he had written off a tyre on a traffic island so he was driving around on the silly little temporary spare wheel that was supplied with the car

It was very difficult as he thought all of the damage was minor. My chance came when he lost his car after he parked it and nobody could find it. His excuse was that he had felt dizzy so I told his doctor who told dad that he could not drive anymore until we had sorted out the dizziness and this led to dads diagnosis..

I just took over and kept the car at my house for a week or so then we phoned dads insurance (motability car) and got dad taken off and me added so I was allowed to drive his car for him.

I had no qualms about this and was hugely relieved that dad could no longer drive because it would have ended very badly for someone if he had continued driving. It took some time for dad to accept it but he was eventually happy to have me drive him around as his minder.

Dad had no diagnosis at the time so whether it would have been considered theft or not I don't know but I like to think the police are sensible about these things and I certainly felt a whole lot better knowing that dad was no longer a danger on the road.

It had to be done because I knew that dad was a danger which made me responsible for anything that could have happened. If dad had killed someone then it wouldn't have been his fault, it would have been my fault for letting it go on, I have no doubt about that. It frightens me when I think about it now. Thank god he mislaid his car that day.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
80
I've now got my dad's GP to agree to see him in person and soon. Hopefully the GP will try to explain that driving must stop and why. My dad doesn't want me to go with him and it isn't an easy time for me ( I live over 100 miles away). He hasc also refused the offer of a taxi or a lift from the care provider, so intends driving himself a few miles to the surgery. This is an opportunity to get the GP to reinforce the message and I have told the surgery that. I am wondering what happens if my father comes back saying that the doctor has no concerns about him driving. He may not deliberately lie but he gets confused. However the doctor might not tell me anything, due to patient confidentiality. I have to know the outcome, if the GP supports the memory clinic advice, as I expect he will, I've got to try and get my father to actually stop, and will need the truth. I also need to make sure his car insurance is not renewed without the insurers knowing the facts. I am pretty sure they will refuse to renew, and the policy has a week to run. But my father may believe what he wants to hear rather than swallow a bitter pill.

Have others had this situation? Not sure that this GP will be super-helpful.