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Memory service are clear that he must cease driving

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
If the memory clinic have said your father shouldn't drive, the GP will not contradict that so I don't think you need to worry about what his advice to your father will be. As you say, the difficulty would be if your dad decides to tell you otherwise as no doubt he'd be really annoyed if he thought the GP had spoken to you! Tricky.

Perhaps a letter would help? Do you have a letter with the diagnosis from the MC or could you get them to write one, confirming that he shouldn't drive? Or you could ask the GP to put his opinion in writing - tell him your dad keeps forgetting.

Good luck!
Yes I have it in writing from the memory clinic and I doubt the GP is going to contradict the consultant from the MC too. Good idea though to ask the GP to write his driving advice, thank you.
 

Delilah63

Registered User
Jan 4, 2018
49
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 only found out about this anosognosia thing a short while ago and it made sense of many of the problems we have had over the last 5 or 6 years. My Dad never really accepted his diagnosis, well more than that, it was like new information to him every time we had to tackle any interventions that were trying to help. Driving and everything around driving was a nightmare and I feel so sorry for you MartinWL as it is impossible to explain how hard this situation is. I did have maybe a couple of quiet conversations with Dad where he admitted he had lost his confidence driving, but in the end we invented a situation where my brother had "an emergency" and desperately needed to borrow Dads car to get to work, took the car away leaving Dad with the keys. We did have to explain this many many times to him but it was an explanation which sort of left him his dignity, that he was "helping" my brother. He eventually stopped asking about it, but it took a while. Apparently its very common for stopping driving to be one of the hardest things for some people to accept. Its not going to be easy at all for you, and Im sorry you are having to cope with that, but keep in mind, as dementia progresses, you are doing what you think is best, because you have to. I was given the advice that as carer you must learn to separate what your PWD wants from what they need and whilst you will always try to do what they want, because you love them, you will sometimes just have to bite the bullet and do what they need. Also, try really hard to banish any feelings of guilt, you are doing your best without a map. Good luck x
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
I have made a bit of progress. I was after all able to accompany my father to a face to face meeting with his GP who actually handled the situation very well, better than I had expected. However he made the point, which is correct if not useful, that. GP does not make the decision on driving, only the DVLA make that decision. The GP has also confirmed his view that my father does have mental capacity. It was useful to have the GP tell my father to his face that the diagnosis of dementia was not in doubt. A carer put his car keys somewhere out of sight but not really hidden, the other day, but we were on the cusp of getting a specialist locksmith in, so I had to help him find them, and he was heading for breakdown over it. He is perfectly capable of calling a locksmith or mechanic.

The GP helpfully underlined the necessity of telling his car insurance company the diagnosis and my father has now signed a letter to them, which he helped to draft, and I have posted it. By using a letter that he approved I cannot be accused of failing to defend what he thinks are his interests. If I had spoken to them by phone I would probably have been accused of undermining his case. The letter is clear that he has been advised to stop driving. He believes that advice is just advice and he is not obliged to take advice, which is of course true. I expect the insurance company will cancel his policy, which will be more than advice. They won't be swayed by a paragraph about his great driving track record. Frustratingly none of the medical professionals have been willing to directly tell him in words of one syllable, in writing, that he must cease driving.

My father is adamant that if he is banned from driving he will go downhill and die. I fear he may be right. It is his last freedom, and without a car he will feel trapped. At his age he is not receptive to change and it will be very difficult indeed to get him to adapt to using the very limited bus service or taxis although I will try. People have told him it will be cheaper than running a car but he isn't short of money so that counts for nothing. I fully expect depression to be the next issue when he is told he has no insurance. Of course he feels well, and doesn't recognise that he has dementia although it is obvious to me that he has lost short term memory to a considerable extent and he gets very anxious about things that are not a concern and distraught about minor problems.
 

Pete1

Registered User
Jul 16, 2019
867
Hi @MartinWL,
Frustratingly none of the medical professionals have been willing to directly tell him in words of one syllable, in writing, that he must cease driving.
I can understand your frustration there. Your Dad's reaction is also understandable, and as you have stated the outcome is inevitable (re insurers). I think it depends how Dad uses the car currently - my Mum was adamant she couldn't cope without her car, but of course quickly became familiar and accepting of using registered taxis or me ('unregistered taxi'!) so it didn't actually impede her at all (once she was versed with using a taxi). I set up a monthly account with a preferred provider so there wasn't any hassle with paying either. Also it is easier now to get things like weekly shopping delivered directly - which I'm sure you can help out with. All the best.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
206
Hi @MartinWL My OH did not get his license renewed last year, I suspect by his Dr writing to the DVLA. He still thinks he can drive and is capable, but he wasn’t. He drove too fast and too close to other vehicles, and frequently cut people up. He had no awareness of other road users, and was dangerous, but refused to accept that. I then took the decision to sell both of our cars, and buy another one. This wasn’t theft, that was a sensible decision based on facts. At times he is so lucid and very good at hosting mode. But this morning said that people in this house are stealing his razors, and he is going to hide them now. It’s the nature of the disease, denial.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
Perhaps a bit different if you're married to the PWD. I will be in a stronger position in a couple of weeks or so when a POA is finally registered which will give me the authority to sell his car, along with the Mental Capacity Act, once the DVLA have cancelled his licence. However I am worried about the relationship damage that this will cause, he will be incandescent with fury. I know it is all the disease talking, but my ability to support him does rather depend on him trusting me. His insurance runs out today at midnight. We have informed the insurance company by letter of his diagnosis. I doubt if they will be prepared to renew. He will regard it all as an injustice. It is going to be extremely difficult to manage the relationship.
 

Quizbunny

Registered User
Nov 20, 2011
118
Unfortunately it is a fact that relationships do have to change as dementia alters the sufferers ability to reason and consider things in a normal fashion. For me the decision to remove mums car was an easy one after she drove the wrong way around a roundabout with my nephew in the passenger seat. Keeping mum safe was clearly important, but ensuring the safety of other people was paramount.
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
11,603
Merseyside
Will he understand the implications of not being insured? I do think you need to remove the car ASAP.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
I would find this easier if there had been an incident like the roundabout one. There has been no evidence of any driving mistakes in my father's case. I have not let him drive me for some months so have not been able to assess for myself. This makes it even harder to get him to accept that his diagnosis means giving up driving. He thinks he is just normally forgetful for a man of 90, but actually his short term memory is now very bad. I have not found a good explanation of why dementia affects driving that a non-scientist can understand although it seems obvious to me that a PWD could not cope with a driving emergency.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
Will he understand the implications of not being insured? I do think you need to remove the car ASAP.
I know this is true. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anyone, not even the police, with a right to confiscate a car. When I get POA I think I can do it. I wish the DVLA were faster, but like everyone in authority they seem to work like snails and go home at 5pm each day leaving the public in danger. My dad keeps saying that nobody has told him he must not drive, and nobody has. The GP says, correctly, that GPs don't make that decision. The memory clinic just gives advice not orders. Without insurance he cannot legally drive but stopping him may turn out to be difficult as he is capable of calling in a mechanic or locksmith if I try to disable the car.
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
11,603
Merseyside
Can you not just take it to your house? If he reports it stolen, explain to the police why you gave done it?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
Would he be willing to lend you his car as your one has suddenly developed an inexplicable fault that requires a part that will take a long time to arrive?
;););)
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,351
Police have the power to seize a vehicle which is being driven on a public road without insurance . The vehicle is impounded and the driver has 14 days to produce a valid insurance certificate as well as pay the vehicle storage charges. After 14 days, the vehicle may be sold at auction and the owner can claim the money from the sale. In some cases, the vehicle is destroyed , if there is no sale. If your father continues to drive without insurance then you can ring the police and tell them the situation, hoping there may be some action on their part.

I would find this easier if there had been an incident like the roundabout one. There has been no evidence of any driving mistakes in my father's case. I have not let him drive me for some months so have not been able to assess for myself
Sorry, you can't wait for a driving mistake , or an accident.
To be frank as others have already said, subterfuge is the way forward, if you don't want to go down the police route. If the DVLA says he can't drive then how are you going to deal with this then, if he continues to drive ? Because the relationship will change, it's inevitable. You have to start making often very difficult decisions, with or without POA . I understand you are worried about the reaction of fury , I've been on the end of severe aggression from my mother in law , who had mixed dementia. I think the idea from @Cat27 of taking the car to your house is a good one and when he reports it stolen, then just explain the situation. I think you will find that the police will see you have acted in good faith, with no criminal intent and see the situation as a family dispute , rather than a dishonest action. Something has got to give here.
 

Quizbunny

Registered User
Nov 20, 2011
118
On the 30th of June in Edinburgh a three year old child was killed when an elderly driver mounted the pavement at 2.30 in the afternoon.

I struggle with the idea of any 90 year olds still driving to be honest, but with dementia way too dangerous.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,044
On the 30th of June in Edinburgh a three year old child was killed when an elderly driver mounted the pavement at 2.30 in the afternoon.

I struggle with the idea of any 90 year olds still driving to be honest, but with dementia way too dangerous.
I agree with that, dad had many incidents but luckily all small. I know that if something bad had happened it would not have been dads fault, it would have been mine because I knew that he should not have been driving. I was responsible for his behaviour and I don't care what anyone says. I was responsible because I knew. It is a bit like being responsible for a small child.

@MartinWL You may be surprised and find that your dad accepts the loss of his car sooner than you expect. My dad was convinced that he would still be able to drive but very quickly convinced himself that it had been his idea all along to stop driving and even started telling other people that he had just decided to stop driving because he felt that it was time that he did.

Thank god for dads doctor who told him straight to his face 'You must not drive anymore' no pussyfooting around with him. Old school I suppose.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
On the 30th of June in Edinburgh a three year old child was killed when an elderly driver mounted the pavement at 2.30 in the afternoon.

I struggle with the idea of any 90 year olds still driving to be honest, but with dementia way too dangerous.
Agreed, there ought to be an upper age limit. There should also be a robust system where the signature of two doctors on an order to cease driving had immediate effect and there were powers to remove a car to a place of safety, but the law is weak and the DVLA are the only authority that can stop someone driving and they are slow as a snail.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
On the 30th of June in Edinburgh a three year old child was killed when an elderly driver mounted the pavement at 2.30 in the afternoon.

I struggle with the idea of any 90 year olds still driving to be honest, but with dementia way too dangerous.
Agreed, there ought to be an upper age limit. There should also be a robust system where the signature of two doctors on an order to cease driving had immediate effect and there were powers to remove a car to a place of safety, but the law is weak and the DVLA are the only authority that can stop someone driving and they are slow as a snail.
I agree with that, dad had many incidents but luckily all small. I know that if something bad had happened it would not have been dads fault, it would have been mine because I knew that he should not have been driving. I was responsible for his behaviour and I don't care what anyone says. I was responsible because I knew. It is a bit like being responsible for a small child.

@MartinWL You may be surprised and find that your dad accepts the loss of his car sooner than you expect. My dad was convinced that he would still be able to drive but very quickly convinced himself that it had been his idea all along to stop driving and even started telling other people that he had just decided to stop driving because he felt that it was time that he did.

Thank god for dads doctor who told him straight to his face 'You must not drive anymore' no pussyfooting around with him. Old school I suppose.
Unfortunately my dad's GP said it was not his decision, which did not help very much.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
236
Police have the power to seize a vehicle which is being driven on a public road without insurance . The vehicle is impounded and the driver has 14 days to produce a valid insurance certificate as well as pay the vehicle storage charges. After 14 days, the vehicle may be sold at auction and the owner can claim the money from the sale. In some cases, the vehicle is destroyed , if there is no sale. If your father continues to drive without insurance then you can ring the police and tell them the situation, hoping there may be some action on their part.


Sorry, you can't wait for a driving mistake , or an accident.
To be frank as others have already said, subterfuge is the way forward, if you don't want to go down the police route. If the DVLA says he can't drive then how are you going to deal with this then, if he continues to drive ? Because the relationship will change, it's inevitable. You have to start making often very difficult decisions, with or without POA . I understand you are worried about the reaction of fury , I've been on the end of severe aggression from my mother in law , who had mixed dementia. I think the idea from @Cat27 of taking the car to your house is a good one and when he reports it stolen, then just explain the situation. I think you will find that the police will see you have acted in good faith, with no criminal intent and see the situation as a family dispute , rather than a dishonest action. Something has got to give here.
Somehow I cannot feel confident in the police on this and in any case they cannot authorise theft. I would want something in writing from the police in advance, and I would be very surprised if I could get that.
Good to read about police powers if the car is taken on the road, that could be useful ammunition.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
the DVLA are the only authority that can stop someone driving
Actually, they can only write and tell him that he must not drive. Im afraid that it will probably be up to you to implement it. Are you expecting that he will read the letter and go "Oh, OK then, you had better sell the car for me"? It might happen, but I would be amazed and IMO he is extremely like to just continue driving, with no license and no insurance.
 

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