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New to site , Mother was diagnosed with Alzeimer's last year , Current issue is around driving

Cornwall21

New member
Feb 17, 2021
1
0
My Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year after several years knowing and not wanting to know that this was going to happen, In the last year my mother has had various mood swings initially due to her meds not being right or effective, this has since been corrected which was difficult time during the first lock down of 2020.


Just to set the scene my mother is 76 years old my father is 79 years old is now effectively become my mum's carer,
My mum has always had interests like cooking, and always kept on top of things around the home, my dad tends to do mostly all the cooking & cleaning now, my mother has started forget how to do certain tasks although still enjoys and has actively got back into personal things such as knitting / needle work things,

My dad says that she often is in denial that she has Alzheimer's to him although she seems ok when we call as family, this may only be 1 or 2 hours at any one time.

The situation we have at the moment is with regards her driving, she was passed off by the doctor & DVLA to continue to drive although on couple of occasions has burnt out the clutch on the car slight damage when being out driving, Her dad is concerned that she has forgotten how to drive and when she is in the car she has to think as if on a driving lesson or learning how to drive , she will use the wrong feet for pedals which he has noted when being with her in the car, The issue is she will hide the keys , but also keeps saying that it’s the car , that their something wrong with the car , she often looks at the possibility of having an automatic of which they can’t afford to buy a new car,

My father is very anxious as my mum can be very nasty towards him if he tries to help or questions her thinking but as a family we are really concerned as we feel if she does try to go out in the Car, she could injury herself or someone else.

The fact is we feel as a family that her licence needs to be revoked but this needs to be done in an indirect way so not impacting my father as he will be seen to be blamed, probably from a doctor to the DVLA.

I hope someone can advise or help where a similar situation where this has happened.

Thanks

Shawn
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
72,955
0
Kent
Hello @shawnbourne Welcome to the forum.

Driving seems to be one of the biggest bones of contention for people with dementia. Those with dementia are often in denial of their unfitness to drive and their carers live in dread of an accident harming their person with dementia or an innocent party.

Your mother may have been passed as fit to drive by her GP and the DVLA but how long ago and did they test her personally or just go by what she said.

I understand your father may back down from reporting your mother but you can do it for him and request anonymity.

Please do not hesitate to take action out of love or misplaced loyalty to your mother. I reported my mother who knew it was me and said if she had a gun she would kill me. She didn`t have a gun and didn`t kill me and thank goodness wasn`t responsible for killing anyone else.
 

sunshine70

Registered User
Jan 17, 2021
47
0
I had a similar situation with my mum. The doctor contacted the DVLA for us and her licence was revoked (my mum would never have done it herself and my dad didn't want to have to face the anger from my mum if he had done it).

We then told her that the doctor had been concerned for her safety driving and had made the decision. This was around the time that mum frequently made doctors appointments and then couldn't remember why or just forgot to attend them, so the doctor was aware. Also we'd had occasions where she had left her keys in the fruit and veg at the supermarket and had also forgotten where she had parked the car in the car park, so it was the best decision to be made.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,959
0
N Ireland
Hello and welcome to the forum @shawnbourne.

As has been said, this is a very common issue - I went through it myself when my wife was diagnosed.

If you put the word 'driving' into the search box at the top of the page you will find a great many threads going back several years and a read through them may give you some tips on how best to proceed.

There is also a Society Factsheet on the issue and if you would like to read/print that just click the 2nd line of the link I've put below. I hope something helps
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
720
0
Your problem here is that the DVLA have said she can continue to drive. Perhaps this was a while ago. Anyway do contact both the GP and the DVLA medical department, preferably by letter, and tell them what you have told us. It will take time so don't delay.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,915
0
South coast
When someone has dementia the DVLA usually only issues a driving license for a year and it has to be renewed annually. Does the DVLA know that she has dementia? Has her license perhaps run out and she hid the letter?
I would contact the DVLA
 

Countryboy

Registered User
Mar 17, 2005
1,578
0
South West
Hi I’m still driving almost 22 years now after my initial diagnoses and in those never had a accident or scratch never had a parking ticket or speeding in my car or on my 1000cc motorcycle { ok on speeding maybe I have been lucky because I am a fast driver }.
I know there’s always debate and personal views / experiences from those with Dementia diagnoses + their family members , GP’s or memory clinics quite a large scope , but the worst are the bureaucrats with no experience of Dementia just reading various bits of information and worst of all the media or TV programmes all they report is the very worst cases of dementia,
Regarding I not only have a personal view but I have 22 years of living with my own experience Alzheimer’s & frontal-temporal-dementia diagnoses so possible little bit of experience now, ok were all individuals and dementia will affect us differently , but 22 years ago I got all the doom & gloom rubbish from bureaucrats & DVLA but I thought ok I’m 56 my mum lived until age 94 dad 85 so I could live another 30 to 40 years so I allowed the Health Professionals carry out all the PET & SPECT Scans all the various table top tests not a problem however as far as day to day living I continued working for a further 8 years until age 65 DVLA bureaucrats took away my full driving licence in 2002 irrespective of my numerous phone calls, letters, emails they continued to ignore me Until I decided to challenge them in Court a Solicitor friend told me to gather as much evidence as possible first I took his advise and first got my wife to film me drive in Majorca through Palma and on the Motorways up in the mountains obviously the hire car details showed I was the only driver also the hire company gave me a letter saying I had hired a car from them for several years no issues, I then had letter/reports from my insurance agent, Consultant , my GP, my OT I paid for a driving assessment with mobility centre and sent it off to the DVLA medical advisers and Solicitors ok this took me 10 years 2002 to 2012 :eek:o_O and low and behold November 2012 I got a full driving licence again. :cool::p ok only 3 years but thats the same for every driver over 70 unless you have actually been through it yourself you won’t understand the joy and happens that brought it gave me my freedom back ,:);):cool:
Now this is my experience so I’m not suggesting everyone with dementia should carry on driving however if a person with dementia has the confidence the ability and obviously driving safely why listen to others think for yourself it your life that being destroyed by bureaucrats don’t let them get away with it remember your only here once
4 weeks ago I had a Kidney removed because of cancer OK just another challenge but I’m still above ground ;););)
 
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Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,347
0
High Peak
Someone who can't remember which foot to use for which pedal should not be driving. It really is as simple as that. What would she do in an emergency situation (possibly caused by another driver) where she suddenly had to take instant decisive action?

Please stop her driving. Hide the keys, disable the car, say it needs to go to the garage to be fixed. Say whatever she will believe. Meanwhile, as others have said, you can contact the DVLA anonymously to let them know then your father won't be blamed.

Hi (*waves*) @Countryboy - glad to hear you are still thriving and driving :)
But you'd stop if you no longer knew which pedal was which, wouldn't you?
 

Countryboy

Registered User
Mar 17, 2005
1,578
0
South West
Hi Jaded’n’faded yes your correct I agree with you 100% I have been TP member since March 2005 and always in favour of people with Dementia should remine in control and make their own decisions as long as possible and salute them, But in all those years I have never suggested that anyone who has lost the ability to be in control or is confused because of dementia should be allowed to continue driving or lost ability to drive even with having dementia let face Bad driver irrespective age or disability we know that people with can also be bad drivers thus being a danger to themselves and worse the general public and should a driving licence revoked

Jaded’n’faded as you said is correct
Someone who can't remember which foot to use for which pedal should not be driving. It really is as simple as that. What would she do in an emergency situation (possibly caused by another driver) where she suddenly had to take instant decisive action?

But when I was diagnosed in 1999 the Consultant was of the older generation and never mentioned driving or DVLA however when he left in 2001 and was replace by a much younger Consultant that was one of the first things he said have you notified DVLA looking back I wish I ignored him on that because after notifying DVLA it took 13 months before DVLA said I could only a 1 year licence “what” so I fought tooth and nail to retain the right to have a driving licence and maintained it was up to I would have a full driving licence Now what a terrible mistake if I listen to doom and gloom back then, also whenever the GP or Consultant conversation started talking about driving I would offer the a challenge if they wanted to discuses driving I would suggest the took a ride with me in the Car they could dive anywhere in any conditions through town and dual motorway traffic and I would drive the return journey we have a Third person sit in rear of car and video us surprisingly the didn’t take up the challenge, ok it took until 2012 before I I got my full licence back but if I remember a Horse called Never Say Die won the grand national years ago

This is my experience with dementia and staying in control not an opinion

Country boy
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,307
0
Victoria, Australia
Hi Jaded’n’faded yes your correct I agree with you 100% I have been TP member since March 2005 and always in favour of people with Dementia should remine in control and make their own decisions as long as possible and salute them, But in all those years I have never suggested that anyone who has lost the ability to be in control or is confused because of dementia should be allowed to continue driving or lost ability to drive even with having dementia let face Bad driver irrespective age or disability we know that people with can also be bad drivers thus being a danger to themselves and worse the general public and should a driving licence revoked

Jaded’n’faded as you said is correct
Someone who can't remember which foot to use for which pedal should not be driving. It really is as simple as that. What would she do in an emergency situation (possibly caused by another driver) where she suddenly had to take instant decisive action?

But when I was diagnosed in 1999 the Consultant was of the older generation and never mentioned driving or DVLA however when he left in 2001 and was replace by a much younger Consultant that was one of the first things he said have you notified DVLA looking back I wish I ignored him on that because after notifying DVLA it took 13 months before DVLA said I could only a 1 year licence “what” so I fought tooth and nail to retain the right to have a driving licence and maintained it was up to I would have a full driving licence Now what a terrible mistake if I listen to doom and gloom back then, also whenever the GP or Consultant conversation started talking about driving I would offer the a challenge if they wanted to discuses driving I would suggest the took a ride with me in the Car they could dive anywhere in any conditions through town and dual motorway traffic and I would drive the return journey we have a Third person sit in rear of car and video us surprisingly the didn’t take up the challenge, ok it took until 2012 before I I got my full licence back but if I remember a Horse called Never Say Die won the grand national years ago

This is my experience with dementia and staying in control not an opinion

Country boy
As I see it, the problem with people continuing to drive when they have Alzheimer's is that many of them are never assessed properly.

When I had my first concerns about my husband's driving, I reported him to our licensing authority and they duly sent a form to be completed by our GP. He completed it but it was about his health and not about his ability to drive so my husband wanted to keep on driving.

When he was finally diagnosed with AD, the geriatrician reported him as it was mandatory in this country and he was required to undergo a full licence assessment. He was interviewed by an Occupational Therapist, then had two preliminary lessons with a driving instructor before a full licence test.

He failed the test and had his licence suspended immediately and has never driven again. He had no understanding of what his driving was like and for him like everybody, inability to drive meant loss of Independence.

I was once a volunteer with a support group for people who had macular degeneration and had low vision.. When they were no longer able to drive, they experienced the same sense of loss of Independence as people with Alzheimer's.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
720
0
The system isn't as rigorous in the UK. In any case the issue ought to be the likely future driving ability of the patient. Dementia is progressive. Action is needed before a person becomes a danger, not after.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,307
0
Victoria, Australia
The system isn't as rigorous in the UK. In any case the issue ought to be the likely future driving ability of the patient. Dementia is progressive. Action is needed before a person becomes a danger, not after.
The trouble is that my husband's ability to drive was going down the gurgler long before he was diagnosed. Unless he'd had an accident, it was only going to be me screaming about him being a danger on the roads so I am not sure how anybody would assess people on their potential as a driver.

When he was informed that he'd lost his licence by the licensing body in our state, he accepted it which was wonderful because prior to that, he had insisted that that my opinion about his driving was total rubbish.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,347
0
High Peak
I would urge anyone to seriously consider how they would manage if forced to give up driving. As well as the loss of independence, it can bring significant new difficulties in getting around, particularly if you live in a rural or isolated area.

Although I have a license, I've never used it and have been 'car-less' since I was divorced some 15+ years ago. (He took the car!) But I am really lucky - I live in a small village but have a doctor, supermarket, post office and various other services all within 5 minutes walk. My boyfriend who lives down south in a town, is starting to suffer from various eye problems and sooner or later will have to stop driving. He'll feel like his legs have been cut off! Although it's an urban area, he is a few miles from any shops and services. This has never been a problem as he's always had the car but I am dreading the time when he has to stop driving. I have no idea how he will manage. (And no, he can't move in with me - not a chance!)
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,915
0
South coast
I would urge anyone to seriously consider how they would manage if forced to give up driving.
I would absolutely agree with this.
I have seen far too many people who have lost their licence from glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration and other visual diseases. Once the sight is gone, its gone. A lot of them are totally devastated and have obviously never considered that they might lose their licence.
Driving is a privilege, not a right.
 

Countryboy

Registered User
Mar 17, 2005
1,578
0
South West
The system isn't as rigorous in the UK. In any case the issue ought to be the likely future driving ability of the patient. Dementia is progressive. Action is needed before a person becomes a danger, not after.
I sorry but why is there so much stigma around a person with dementia why is it assumed everyone with dementia is the same because if you actually believe that you’re in cuckoo lando_O. were all individuals we all come from different backgrounds, different educations, varied life and work experiences with different abilities and attitudes to life in general.

Ok I’m not saying dementia isn’t progressive however not always the case why do I believe that well I was diagnosed with dementia almost 22 years ago and although over that 22 period I have heart attack , diabetes, Kidney remove a few weeks ago because of cancer that growing old but my dementia has remained stable for 22 years my Dad, Mum, mums Brother, & Sister all had dementia and they were all different Mum lived on her own and remained independent and died aged 93 ok we lived next door so was there if need be, Dad Mum her Brother all held a driving Licence from back in 1920”s I don’t think any of them every took a driving test and all still held a driving licence until their death even after a dementia diagnoses in 1970’s they were never advised to notify the dvla

Regards taking action before anyone becomes a danger surly that cover a multitude of illness or medical conditions I agree if we could all see into the future it would be amazing when there is so many atrocities involving physical violence or injury.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,347
0
High Peak
I sorry but why is there so much stigma around a person with dementia why is it assumed everyone with dementia is the same because if you actually believe that you’re in cuckoo lando_O. were all individuals we all come from different backgrounds, different educations, varied life and work experiences with different abilities and attitudes to life in general.

Ok I’m not saying dementia isn’t progressive however not always the case why do I believe that well I was diagnosed with dementia almost 22 years ago and although over that 22 period I have heart attack , diabetes, Kidney remove a few weeks ago because of cancer that growing old but my dementia has remained stable for 22 years my Dad, Mum, mums Brother, & Sister all had dementia and they were all different Mum lived on her own and remained independent and died aged 93 ok we lived next door so was there if need be, Dad Mum her Brother all held a driving Licence from back in 1920”s I don’t think any of them every took a driving test and all still held a driving licence until their death even after a dementia diagnoses in 1970’s they were never advised to notify the dvla

Regards taking action before anyone becomes a danger surly that cover a multitude of illness or medical conditions I agree if we could all see into the future it would be amazing when there is so many atrocities involving physical violence or injury.
I think because dementia is very very scary and we're reluctant to talk about (or even think about) things that scare us. We refer to cancer as 'the big C' because we're too scared to say the word out loud. There are a million euphemisms for dying and many people just cannot bring themselves to say a loved one has died and must instead say they 'passed on' or whatever.

Until we come to terms with the fact that many many people get dementia and live with it for years (in all its many forms!), there will still be a stigma. And some of it is historical - we used to hide old people away if they went 'doolally' or 'lost their marbles' (See? Euphemisms again!) out of some misplaced sense of shame. (And younger people with mental health issues or learning difficulties too.) At least we don't do that now and there is more discussion of dementia and more awareness.

I'd like to think things will change more in time though I'm not holding my breath. You know as well as I do that every poster you see about dementia shows a relaxed, smiling carer with nothing better to do than chat and a clean, smartly dressed aware-looking old person, totally happy and enjoying life as much as anyone without dementia. Until that changes and we continue to hide the reality, the stigma of 'real' dementia will remain.

But to end on a positive note, you will read many many posts here on TP that say, 'everyone with dementia is different.' And most of us have experienced 'helpful' others telling us their aunt had dementia so they 'know all about it' and can tell us exactly what's best for our mother/father/husband... Grrrrr!
 

Countryboy

Registered User
Mar 17, 2005
1,578
0
South West
I would urge anyone to seriously consider how they would manage if forced to give up driving. As well as the loss of independence, it can bring significant new difficulties in getting around, particularly if you live in a rural or isolated area.

Although I have a license, I've never used it and have been 'car-less' since I was divorced some 15+ years ago. (He took the car!) But I am really lucky - I live in a small village but have a doctor, supermarket, post office and various other services all within 5 minutes walk. My boyfriend who lives down south in a town, is starting to suffer from various eye problems and sooner or later will have to stop driving. He'll feel like his legs have been cut off! Although it's an urban area, he is a few miles from any shops and services. This has never been a problem as he's always had the car but I am dreading the time when he has to stop driving. I have no idea how he will manage. (And no, he can't move in with me - not a chance!)
Hi Jaded’n’faded yes your 100% correct ;) like you I live in the same village approximately quarter mile for the house I was born 78 years ago and yes without out a car it would be a nightmare obviously to drive you need a licence so you need to make sure you retain the licence, I haven’t been on a bus for over sixty years however I know our bus service is every 2 hours from 7am to 10 pm but never on time or reliable we don’t have a Taxi service so calling a Taxi from nearest Town 4 miles away I would assume to be very expansive but again I never used a Taxi so on my assumption recently I have had a few GP appointments four for blood tests in past fortnight plus quite a few visit the to hospital dressing clinic my doctors have amalgamated now to four surgeries the nearest two are approximately 7½ miles just impossible to use a bus a Taxi would cost well dare not even think about that so Jaded’n’faded as you previously said holding on to your driving licence is very important if you live in the Country side villages

I don’t intend losing my independence by surrendering my licence and relying on family member to be ferrying me everywhere :):)
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
10,088
0
Yorkshire
I suspect we will all face the moment when, for all sorts of reasons, it's best for us to cease driving
when finances were tight for me, I considered giving up my car ... I totted up the annual costs of running the car and was amazed at how much I pay out, plus the cost of buying another car (if necessary) against the cash back if I sold the current one
then I turned my thinking around and realised that all those costs would fund a lot of taxi rides, bus and coach fares, train tickets etc ... using public transport won't be as convenient and timely as being able to just get in my car at will, but with a little more organisation I would still be able to get about as I wished
I kept the car as I felt I needed it to help look after dad
however I'm now reassured that I'll be fine in the future
and would much rather safely get about than have my (future) poor driving put others and myself at risk
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
2,710
0
Dorset
I think most people ( carers/ family members) who write here on this subject already have concerns about their loved one’s driving abilities, indeed it may be that that is what has flagged up the dementia concerns in the first place!
I knew The Banjoman was having difficulty in remembering the words to songs and would keep changing his mind about music we were rehearsing etc. but just assumed that was because he was getting older. It was when he mentioned to me that he had taken a wrong turning when driving to my house that alarm bells started ringing! Someone who is getting lost when driving a journey they had travelled several times a week for ten years is obviously no longer a competent driver.
 

Countryboy

Registered User
Mar 17, 2005
1,578
0
South West
Shedrech I agree with you that { poor driving puts people’s lives at risk } that why for several years I been a staunch supporter of every driving licence holder retake a small driving test every 5 years similar to the MOT system irrespective of age or medical conditions and just the stigma of one particular medical condition why is it in the UK anyone arrested for committing a crime is deemed to be innocent until proved guilty and then sentenced Yet all I read here ID person with Dementia is assumed guilty and has to prove his/her innocence if your think that Justice Obviously you haven’t been wearing that T shirt yet you think you know best.

personally I fought hard to retain my right to drive and gathered the evidence for a few months prior to driving licence renewal by making a video of driving through the streets of Palm and Malaga including the motorways got the hire company to give me a reference letter , I also got letter from my vehicle insurance agent, took and paid for a driving assessment, got letters of support from my GP, Consultant Psychiatrist my Occupation Therapist at memory and obviously my Wife , Son, Daughter and other family finally a Manager of one of the Alzheimer’s Society Branches supporting my continuing to drive all that information was then sent to DVLA lawyers as my defence when I challenged their decision in Court , obviously with My GP Consultant memory clinic all supporting me it was going to be an uphill struggle for dvla to find evidence for the Court to rule against me

obviously just saying people with dementia wasn’t going to achieve anything they needed evidence

rememember if I don't look after my own intrests who will