Dementia and driving.

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Just read an article in New York Daily News of an 88yr.old driver, (whose family apparently was aware he had Altzheimer's) that apparently hit the gas instead of the break and pinned a 8 month pregnant women to a wall. The baby was delivered by C-section, premature but alive,outcome for baby still up in the air,however the mother is dead.Please if you are currently going thru the decision about your elder and driving take this event in mind .This man's own family said in the article he may not even remember doing this, then WHY! was he driving?I know the loss of driving is a VERY big deal. I know when my mom had to stop driving due to meds that I was going to have to fill in as driver,yes, it is a pain in the *ss a lot of times but I don't want something like this on my mind. Just remember this event if you are going thru the anguish of this process, let mom and dad be mad, be inconvenienced but at least know you ARE probably saving someone's life.


Yes Tex, we seem to have this situation so often in NYC. Hey, it's tough for us younger folks to drive here, but elders?.. I live in Brooklyn, a block from a handicap accessible subway station, for a reason!
Drivers mixing up the gas with the brake is becoming too common place, and that is scary.... and it's not just elders, but middle aged adults, even some young people who were too preoccupied with their Smart Phone to be paying full time and attention.

I learned to drive braking with my left foot... my Dad does the same thing... apparently it was common in the area where he was from because a co-worker of mine does the same thing, and she was from that area. I don't know if that would be an advantage when I get much older or not. Someone should do the stats.
I know two people personally who have hit the gas, instead of the brake. Neither woman had dementia. Both were fairly old, though not decrepit. One of the women drove into the front of a post office. The other drove into the unit with apartment mailboxes. I was wondering if there was something about mail that led to gas-brake confusion. Then I heard of other instances of this, with people going on sidewalks and into stores. It always seems to be older ladies.
My point was to put a light on those that are going thru the decision process of "when do I take the keys" for mom/dad. Yes, a younger person could have done this but this was someone that was KNOWN by his family to have dementia so bad he wouldn't remember doing this to someone,Again why was this man driving? Where was his family? I have read so many times on this forum the anguish and guilt family members are going thru about the driving issue with their elderly parent.It is a tough issue.I was just hoping to maybe help some family that was going thru this decision process of the possible outcomes of not getting those keys away from a parent they KNOW is mentally impaired.My mother still thinks she is okay to drive,the MORPHINE makes her feel that good,I'm glad she gets pain relief but she will never drive again.
We need a national campaign, but also a better mass transit/handicap transport system in place. One of the reasons I live in NYC is because of the increasingly handicap accessible public transport system.
I agree with ba8. I really don't know the answer. I also know one day I will be wondering how to get to the MD or get groceries, I am an only child with no children. I will have less support than my mother,also I live in a rural area.
All the retirement/independent/assistant living homes in my area have transport services for their residents.

I will pull up to my grocery store and sure enough there will be a transport bus from one of the *homes*. It is so sweet seeing the elderly couples or singles inside the store, everyone is smiling. But when it is time to load up and head back to the facility, it's probably like herding cats :P
My mom was so resistant to giving up driving. Even when she made serious errors she'd say it was just a mistake and won't happen again. I went to her doctors and they kind of blew me off..only one told her outright she has to stop driving. Finally we told her she had to stop because the doctor said she lacked mobility in her arm (she has a bad arm). Prior to that we would hide keys, hide the car...block the car in...whatever it took to keep her from driving. I wish it was easier to get the license taken away without being the bad guy to our loved one.
My siblings are coming over tonight to discuss our next course of action regarding our parents. Moms driving is becoming an issue but has not been a priority. The story about that poor pregnant woman has motivated me to strongly suggest we make it one. Thank you.
My dad was rather receptive to the idea that it was safer for him to no longer drive. I read on some thread that someone's mom was still driving a short distance to the hairdresser although their short term memory was shot. How did they ever find their way there and back if their short term memory was all gone? It must not have been all gone yet. It scares me to think of people getting in their car whose memories are no longer good or their minds are not all that sharp. There are people who are very resistant to the idea that it is not safe for them to drive, but at some point they need protection from themselves and others need protection from them.

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