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    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2019
    Fellow spouses,

    My state allows anonymous (as long as I sign the form) reporting to the DMV for identifying individuals who maybe should not be driving. I haven’t driven with him for the past five years citing I’m a terrible passenger. He accepts it with much complaint. We live in a small town with one main road. He’s never gets lost and enjoys driving to the store and coffee shop independently. The reason I’m considering taking action now is that he cannot remember two items on a mental grocery list. One thought replaces the next. I fear he’ll look right, and then look left and forget a pedestrian was crossing. A few times he has inquired (while I was driving), “Can’t you turn left on a red light”? Because I won’t drive with him, because we’d never allow him to drive the grandchildren, it feels wrong to allow him on the road with the public.

    He’ll be furious, angry, depressed, forget his license has been taken, I’ll explain again and again until I want to (and probably will) scream. I don’t want to do this as it’s been nice (except that I hold my breath until he’s back home) his driving to pick up a needed recipe ingredient, or to bring home two cups of hot coffee, but in good conscience I have to report him.
    • CommentAuthorJan K
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2019
    Since you already acknowledge that he's not a good driver, you need to stop him driving immediately. You say that you would never allow him to drive your own grandchildren. How are you going to feel if he runs over someone else's grandchild? And that could happen long before the DMV gets around to his case. Of course stopping his driving won't be pleasant, whether the DMV is involved or not. But every time you let him drive, you are running a terrible risk of him injuring or killing himself or someone else. And you run the risk of losing everything you own in the world because of legal liability from impaired driving.

    Please, please do something about this now. The difficulties involved in making him stop driving could be as nothing compared to the nightmare that could be in your future if he does keep driving.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2019
    Hi Sissy, The loss of his license might not be enough. You may need to hide his car keys, too. If he will not heed your warnings, you may have to enlist someone else to give him the order - maybe his doctor or an influential relative. This is one of the hardest things for a person to give up, and a for us to get them to do it. We all go through this with our spouses, so it can be done.

    It might help if you offered him an alternative, like driving him to the coffee shop and dropping him off for a while, or suggesting someplace you can go together. This will be a pain in the neck for you but it's better than him getting into an accident. I ended taking my husband for rides on a regular basis. I also hired a home health aide as a companion for him a couple of hours twice a week. Although the purpose was not to drive him around, that is what she ended up doing, as part of doing errands for me. It gave him a way to get out of the house and to have some independence from me.
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2019
    I fear he could be an accident waiting to happen, but he’s not had any tickets or unexplained dents/scratches and doesn’t get lost in our small town. He passed the written driver’s test a few years back. According to the state laws and his regular doctor, he’s okay to drive. In our state “mild and moderate” staged AD are okay to drive, while “severe and out of control” are not. We share one car now and I drive because I’m a nervous passenger (doesn’t matter who is driving- I’m nervous if not in control). His short term memory is really short and I don’t know how it might affect his driving ability, and for that reason I am sharing my concern with the DMV and asking to have him re-evaluated. Please don’t make me out to be the villain, this is plenty hard enough.

    Yes, if DMV takes away his driving privileges I will need to take away his car key and safeguard mine.
    • CommentAuthorSedgly
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2019
    Sissy, i just went through this the beginning of 2018. I don't know about your state but the 1st thing the dmv here does before testing is you have to have a Dr sign off that you are ok to drive.. his Dr would not take on that responsibility so it ended right there.

    I dreaded his loss of license and knew it would be horrible but when it finally happened he acted like it was no big deal..he has not driven in years, and hasn't attempted to. I hope it turns out easy for you also.

    They had limited him over the years from 45 miles to 30...then 15.. 10... 5... 3...only in town...then he could keep his license if he promised not to drive.....I refused to ride with him at 15 miles...he never had a major accident or tickets...but there was no question he shouldn't have been on the road...

    Good luck
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2019
    "Because I won’t drive with him, because we’d never allow him to drive the grandchildren, it feels wrong to allow him on the road with the public. "

    I heard in one of the Alzheimer's classes if you won't let your grandkids ride with them, then they shouldn't be driving.

    My husband's neurologist told him he could continue driving as long as I was with him. His driving never was bad - other than not remembering how to go anywhere - but I was so exhausted telling him step by step how to get somewhere. Finally when we were leaving a park I had worked in in Nevada 5 1/2 years ago, he drove 15 minutes then pulled over and said 'I can't do this anymore'. I am one of the fortunate that he never fought me on the no driving. When he surrendered his license he told the clerk why he wanted an ID card instead, she made a big deal of how brave he was and thanking him for doing it. Made him feel good.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2019
    For a time my husband could still drive alone. He had learned to use a cell phone and would call me. It was a good thing cause he got lost a couple of times and I was able to talk him back home. At some point I decided not to let him go alone any more. When he started wanting to turn left on a Red light and then didn’t follow my directions one day I got hm to the parking lot and never let him drive again. Even when I took his truck because he loved that truck so much, I told him I needed to drive. Had to get creative there. Explaining I knew the way, or I’d just say I need to drive today. A few times I’d remind him he always told me he’d stop driving when I said it was no longer safe. It was always better to just say I need to drive today. If he went to the driver side, I’d say no, you get in that side. It didn’t take too long for him to kind of get used to getting in the passenger side. Except, once in awhile he’d want to run away from me and he’d get in the truck, but had no idea how to find the key. Even if he had a key he had no idea how to use it any more. Those nights were heart rending.
    My insurance company said to keep him on the policy as long as he had a license. When he turned 75 I brought him to DMV and got an ID card. Didn’t tell him we turned in his license. I knew he had no chance of passing the written test. He barely passed it on the third try when he turned 70.
    I recommend you take control of the keys and drive him. Be as matter of fact as possible every time. I hope you don’t have the battles that some have.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019
    There are other considerations here.

    If he is not recorded as diagnosed that is one issue in dealing with his rights. If he is diagnosed then it's on record that he's driving with this disease. In that case any accident he might be in, or cause, could be contested by the insurance companies involved.

    Then there's the issue of using anonymous to report his driving but supporting him driving to get things. How anonymous is anonymous if no else knows of this than you? The authorities would likely explain they're talking to him because there's been a complaint - and that's not a reason to invalidate his license. Even if you do use that route, he's till going to keep driving because there are no grounds to take his license away. He knows someone complained about his driving and that's it. If the authorities mention that they were informed he has dementia - you may as well wear a sign around your neck that it was you who complained.

    If he is diagnosed then the doctor who diagnosed him should be brought in on this and if he isn't diagnosed, there is no legal basis to stop him driving.

    In Ontario, when a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the doctor has to report it to the DMV. They automatically suspend the license until the person can prove they can pass the tests.
    • CommentAuthorxox
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019
    You instincts are correct, he shouldn't be driving. I don't understand doctors who feel it is their duty to keep someone driving for as long as possible.

    I also don't understand the state allowing for limited driving. Dementia is progressive. the person may forget that they are only allowed to driving within 2 miles of home. Or they make a wrong turn, get lost, and are found 5 states away.

    Has your insurance stated in writing that they cover him knowing of his diagnosis? If you don't have a letter assume that he will not be covered in event of an accident and you will be sued for every penny you own. So make sure that insurance is covering him, if not then his driving stops immediately.

    You are correct in him wanting to be able to blame anyone but you for his not being able to drive.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019 edited
    As far as the legalities go, different states have different policies regarding driving with dementia. (My state encourages, but does not require, people to take a driving evaluation test if the have a medical condition that affects their ability to drive. Here, they are offered at some medical centers and hospitals.
    Look at your state's vehicle licensing website and see if they have any policies about this.

    As for persuading your husband, I would try every sneaky method I could think of. One thing I did was to get him in the habit of having me drive. When he wanted to go somewhere, I would go out with him on a pretext and heading for the driver's seat as we approached the car. If he questioned it, I would say something like, "My knee hurts, so you can run into the post office for me while I part the car." By the time we got wherever we were going, he had forgotten. After a while, he got used to me driving whenever we went out. In general, I tried to avoid directly challenging his independence or self-worth or anything else that would humiliate him. I tried to act consistently friendly and casual and most of the time it worked. There were occasions where I had to lay down the law, but they were rare. Others have criticized me for this advice but my view is that a lot of a dementia patient's acting out is caused feeling inadequate or even humiliated, so respect gets better results than confrontation. (BTW, from the perspective of the a patient, losing their independence is very hard. That's why day care can be helpful, since they get out from under your thumb.)

    Despite my efforts, we had a driving crisis. One morning, my husband drove only one mile to meet some guys for breakfast and did not return until about 2:00 a.m. the next day. He did not remember where he went. Credit cards showed he filled the gas tank twice. I took the keys from his hand when he returned and he never drove again.
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019
    Dear Fellow Spouses,

    Thank you for sharing your considerations on the topic. You’ve provided gumption and I am taking action today.
    1. Not enable him to be behind the wheel again.
    2. Request his physician report to DMV.
    3. If doctor refuses to report, I’ll do it.

    I’ll let you know how it goes...
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019 edited
    Another tip from my RN hospice friend... when an Alzheimer’s patient refuses meds she will leave the room and return a bit later to try again. Before entering the room again she takes a breath and in her mind she enters with the attitude “I’m your favorite nurse, of course you are going to take the medication.” Frequently this pleasant, confident attitude is enough to succeed on the next try. With Alzheimer’s in 15 or so minutes it is a whole new world.

    So if he refuses to get in pax side, you suddenly forgot something in the house. Learn to get yourself into the driver side before he can get there. Leave very early for important appointments because it can take several tries to get settled in the car.

    I never told him I would never let him drive again, I just told him it would be much easier for me to drive today because I know how to get there, or some other reason. It took longer for him to get used to that with his truck. He had stopped being willing to drive the mustang years before that. I couldn’t get him to agree to sell the truck. So had to drive it to keep it running. I guess I could have disconnected the battery or other parts.

    If he rummages through your purse, etc, maybe you have a locking desk drawer or a small fire safe you can lock up the keys in.

    If he argues about it, the woman who started this site has many blogs and there are lots of posts from years ago that might help.
    I think my story is somewhere in the older posts, but my DH, a retired policeman of almost 30 years who had also been a Defensive Driving instructor at a community college, started thinking it was all right to blow by stop signs and go through red lights as long as he didn't see any cars approaching the intersection. He was also doing things like pulling out from uncontrolled intersections into busy streets instead of going the extra block to where he could get out under the light. (i.e. poor judgement). And he was passing school buses that were stopped with their flashing red lights on. He thought it was funny--like he was getting away with something. Any comments or cautions were regarded as a huge joke. So since he wouldn't listen to me about his driving, his neurologist notified the state (New York), who sent an evaluator down to test his driving. Once the evaluator got in the car with him and talked with him for a few minutes, he didn't even attempt to "evaluate" my obviously ditsy husband's driving. He simply asked to see his license, took it, and wouldn't give it back. (All done with great tact and professional courtesy.) The evaluator said that "if anything changed" to let the state know, and they would be glad to come and evaluate him again. (Yeah, right.) So I drove DH home, and thought that was that. But I did not take away his car keys--how could I have been so dumb--and he forgot he no longer had a license--I came home from work and found he had been out with the car to buy milk and bread. Needless to say, I reminded him that the state had "temporarily" rescinded his license--and I made the car keys disappear. I never had to be the bad guy--he understood that it wasn't me--and he never realized it was the neurologist--he did seem to realize that he could not fight the state Dept. of Motor Vehicles, and he accepted that he just couldn't drive anymore.

    I gave his car (an old junker by that time) to our house cleaner, who was an old friend of his family and someone he trusted. She and I made a plan that she would negotiate a price with him and "buy" the car from him. So they talked it out, and she gave him $200 for the car. Then a couple days later, after the car was off our property, I slipped her back the $200. It was so worth it to me just for the peace of mind--and he was happy that his car had gone to a good home and was benefiting someone he liked. So win, win, win.
    • CommentAuthoraaa
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2019
    These stories remind me of my husbands grandmother. As she got older the kids decided she shouldn't be driving anymore and took the keys away from her. At her 83rd birthday party she commented on someplace she had been. Unknowingly, she had an extra set of keys and never really stopped driving, with her girlfriends, just not letting any of the family know, LOL. In her defense, she was sharp as a tack and had no trouble navigating or driving -- still gives my husband and I a laugh when we remember how everyone sat there with their mouth hanging open in shock, LOL.