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    • CommentAuthorAdmin
    • CommentTimeAug 31st 2010
    Hi Everyone,

    Since this issue has come up again for newer members, I decided to write an informative blog listing the basics. I hope it will be helpful to everyone who is now facing this problem. Log onto the home page - - to read it. Since I just put it up, you may have to refresh the page to see it.

    Please put new driving comments under this topic, so we can keep things organized.

    Thank you.

    That was one of the interesting disconnects I had between the story "The Leisure Seeker," and myself. It was curious that the cognitively healthy spouse did no driving at all and relied on the AD husband who--in that story--still did pretty well.

    We are not facing this issue since my husband stopped driving several years ago, and now has an initiative level of about zip. After a long haul on the interstate (yesterday, for instance, after delivering son to college) he may say "If you're tired, I can take over," but it just seems to be something he says, not really an actual impulse. He doesn't remember that we traded his license in for a state i.d. 2.5 years ago.
      CommentAuthorchris r*
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2010
    I responded to you Jan in an email, however, I must respond here. the fact is, a person with dementia is not capable of driving. he's not capable of making on the spot decisions and judgements. he might be able today, but not tomorrow. My DH lets me drive so I can get the practice. Of course, I had his license revoked, he thinks he misplaced it, and I do all the driving. he automatically gets in the passinger seat. I knew when I didn't want to be in the car with him, that he shouldn't be driving, but it was the hardest thing to get him to stop. It's especially hard when they are not THAT
      CommentAuthorchris r*
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2010
    wHOOPS.... I'll continue. not that bad. but they will get worse, and you never know when. My feeling was that I was morally obligated to society, as well as to myself, to get him off the road. Yes, it's a legal obligation, but it is also, and perhaps more relevent that it is a moral obligation. We as caretakers must take these things into our own hands and do them. Doctors and police are not a big help. i know, I also posted here, my battle to have his license revoked. OK, I did get a doctor at the VA to do it. I NY, you have to get a doctor to do it. but however you do it, you must.... before he kills someone. I always remember the story of the man in California who drove thru a craft fair, and killed 8 or 10 people. He had dementia.
    As I have stated before (but will repeat for the newbies) I was really lucky in this regard. My wife and I were driving to our daughters (my wife taking the first leg). After a pit stop she handed me the keys and said she was done driving. I agreed with her since she had shown some confusion as to the route which we had driven many times. She has not driven since.
    I was very lucky, too. DH had almost stopped driving, but still did very well. He drove about 6 blocks to the barber shop one morning and was hit by another car - not his fault at all. However, he didn't know where the registration and insurance was in the car! Fortunately, our house was one block away and he walked home and got me and I got to the accident before the police arrived. When we got home, he handed me his keys and said he would never drive again - and hasn't. We had sold his "little red truck" many months before and I was already doing most of the driving anyway.
    • CommentAuthoracvann
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2010 edited
    It's always good to print a reminder for the newbies, Joan. Without a doubt, this is the single most difficult early decision that affects spouses who want to support and encourage and 'be there' for their AD husbands and wives ... BUT who also must act firmly and decisively before there is a needless and tragic accident. You touched on all the right points and I would encourage ALL people new to this site to heed Joan's warning ... once your spouse has been diagnosed, you MUST take those keys away!! Will it be a difficult, stressful experience? For must of us, yes. Will your spouse react as though you are treating him/her like a child, and tell you that it is totally ridiculous because he/she will insist that he/she can still drive safely? For most of us, yes. Will there be yelling and screaming. For most of us, yes. Unless you are very lucky, like Vickie and Marsh! (I wasn't so lucky ... LOTS of tears!!) BUT ... you STILL must do this before it is too late for all the reasons that Joan mentioned!
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2010
    I reread your blog and I have a reason for the short driving distance bit. Basically it has more to do with them being able to find their way home again than actual driving ability.

    The funny thing is that a month before I placed my husband he could still tell the aide how to get home. And when we were turning in his license he still could get back from anywhere we went no matter how far away that was, even though he needed step by step directions to get to that place, one step at a time.

    The time came when I realized he needed to stop driving. It wasn't pleasant but I got the driving stopped before he hurt anyone.
    • CommentAuthorZibby*
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2010
    It's not a matter of whether my hb KNOWS the directions to most places we go and to return home (even tho' he doesn't know what he *did* yesterday he knows directions), it's a matter of reasoning, reflexes, decisions, etc. His gp at the time I requested she write to the BMV saying he shouldn't drive, wrote a script for testing through the rehab unit of our hospital. He failed; they sent info to the doctor and BMV. BMV took it from there. Dr was on call at hospital when victims of an accident caused by a demented woman came to emergency. Dr. said she didn't think the woman even knew why she was there or what had happened. She vowed to herself then she'd never approve of a demented patient driving. I think doctors and family members who are aware of dementia diagnosis can be accountable if person causes an accident and they haven't been proactive in keeping the individual from driving.
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2010
    I told my husband when he didn't want to quit driving that I would never ride in the car with him driving because I was afraid and if I went in the car it was like I was saying it was OK to drive. We were invited some place and I didn't start getting ready when I should have and he asked me why I wasn't getting ready.....I told him there was no need for me to get ready because I was not going unless he agreed that I drive. After that day, he always got on the passenger's side of the car. I think he knew it was time. We sold his truck and I have driven ever since. It really wasn't that bad...but you have to stand your ground that you won't go any place with him driving.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2010
    Up here in Ontario when a geriatric specialist makes a diagnosis of Alzheimer's she has to send a copy to the ministry which then revokes your driver's license automatically. That's what happened to my DW.

    Also when you turn 80 you have to renew your license every two years instead of five and you go through a more thorough process involving vision testing, a multiple choice written test, and a group session about driving as a senior.

    Just this morning I had a close miss with a senior who went through a stop sign inside a large mall parking lot. I slammed on the brakes and could see the beginning of recognition of what had happened as he passed me.

    I'm just turning 60 and I have to pay more attention backing up and parallel parking also nights aren't the breeze they used to be. My wife never mentioned driving again. I imagine it's very hard for some to accept. There's no way I would have let my wife drive regardless. If she's mentally impaired to the point of being diagnosed - how can I hold her accountable? I know it's hard but I can't see knowing the time is approaching when she can't as the weeks pass - that I would approve of the risk to everyone in the meantime.

    Within six months it became clear it was the right decision for us when she started making real mistakes in the kitchen.
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2010
    Joan, you are of course very right. I let DH continue driving too long, pure cowardice, but in his case "losing" the keys was an effective measure. I got a new car yesterday to replace DH's Prius, which we got rid of a while back. I was afraid he would regard the new Toyota this as HIS car, but there hasn't been a word of that. He refers to it as "your" car and is having some trouble getting used to it and cannot yet recognize it on the parking lots. (My old little jalopy was red and this new hybrid is a more neutral color: the car I wanted is not available in red.)
    Although he makes no attempt to drive, I still keep the car keys out of sight. Taking no chances.