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New driving problems


Registered User
Jul 18, 2014
Hi it's been awhile since ive been on here
In fact last time I wAs worried about dad driving whilst in early stages of alzehimers.....
However all was resolved when the DVLA withdrew his licence, and dad took the decision eventually with good grace.

Since then he has ticked along quite happy, although very slowly you can detect his lights are turning off so to speak and his memory is deteriorating......

New problem has now come to light.

Whilst inside the shop helping my mother with groceries the car park attendant came in to the shop to tell me my father (left alone in the car) had driven my car in the car park to a new car space (at the front of a row so he could see passers by) he had narrowly missed a wall, he has no licence and No insurance!

Not wanting to cause an upsetting argument, I never said anything, but vowed never to leave the keys in the car again.....

Well today I took the keys in my handbag and went in to help mum with the shopping

We came out to find the car had been moved!
Car park attendant said my dad had pushed it this time into the space he wanted
Truth is it was only 3/4 in the car space......

My dad is 84, has Alzheimer's, COPD, and heart issues and the car is a brand new SUV!!

We leave him in the car because shopping is tiring for him and he doesn't wander away.

What on earth do I do??!


Registered User
Jan 12, 2015
oh dear. he must be strong!! So tiring to walk, but can push and steer a SUV by himself? What if when you parked, you checked with him that the space was fine - just say 'is it alright with you if I park here?'
it may not work as he will probably forget. Maybe he gets bored in the car - could you leave the radio on or something (obviously if your car allows you to do this without keys)
other than that - any chance of getting someone else to sit with him?


Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
You could get one of the shop wheelchairs with the basket that fits on and push him around the shop in that or have someone to sit at home or in the car with him, I can't see any other way of doing it,

Best wishes, Jeany x


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
You could get one of the shop wheelchairs with the basket that fits on and push him around the shop in that or have someone to sit at home or in the car with him, I can't see any other way of doing it,

Best wishes, Jeany x
My thoughts exactly Jeany. Or if there's 2 of you with him one could push him in the shop wheelchair and the other push an ordinary trolley.


Registered User
Jul 18, 2014
I know?!!!
I couldn't believe it either that he managed to push the car!!

You see when he was driving, for years they would always park in the same space and dad would always wait in the car for mum.

So now I'm the driver I can't always guarantee I'll get his favourite car space
And I can't be in two places at once when his favourite space becomes available to move into it! So he's just been taking on himself to move the car by any means it seems!
It may have happened more than twice, now I'm thinking about it, with our sons car as well
Mum won't allow anyone else to help, only me, so another person is out of the question.

They are both very strong minded and are difficult to reason with, which I admire, but sometimes it makes things very hard indeed.......


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
I really dont think you can leave him in the car anymore - one day there will be an accident or he will injure himself.
Could you do their shopping online for them?
Otherwise you can only use the shop wheelchair with a basket on the front as Jeanny suggested, or insist that they get extra help to look after him when you go shopping.

Lizzie L

Registered User
Dec 1, 2014
Would a steering wheel lock or a lock that does round the handbrake and fits to the gear stick disable the car?



Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
SW London
If he can't be left at home, is there a cafe where he could sit with your mum while you zoom around and do the shopping? Or with you, while mum goes? Friend with very immobile OH, though no dementia, often takes him with her since he likes to get out, but he will sit in the Asda's caff while she shops.


Registered User
Mar 28, 2012
In the end, this really isn't safe. If they are strong minded and difficult to reason with, then maybe you just have to tell them how it's going to be. You could leave him at home - if that's safe, or he can come round the shop with you, or you can sit with him while your mum shops. Or you could order the shopping online and take them somewhere else.


Registered User
Jul 18, 2014
Thanks for all comments and suggestions

It breaks my heart to have to put a handbrake/gear lock on but I think it's the only way I can keep everyone safe!

I know in the future we will smile and laugh about my father's determination and strong will but just now living it is not funny
No one got hurt and there was no damage done this time, but it's not safe for him to keep doing this and he has lost his sense of reasoning and rational thinking

I'm guilty now because I was angry and spoke to him sternly and he knee jerk reacted by saying he wouldn't come in the car anymore then
Mums now terrified I'll not take them at all......

I'm still so shocked he'd managed to move it!

No point in having an argument, it only causes upset, and he can't remember anyway
You have to be on your guard all the time!!

Thankyou for your comments xxxx


Registered User
Jan 28, 2015
I hope you find a solution and I can't really add much more than has already been said other than to comment that whatever you try and put in place to keep a dementia sufferer safe from harm, they seem to always seem to find a way to edge towards it again!