Delusional Car Theft? Real or not?

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Two weeks ago my father went downtown to work a booth for his church for a parade. He went back to his car and said it was stolen, he reported it to the police and his insurance company. He has been taking the bus back to the residential area several times and lo and behold the car was exactly where he parked it. No damage, nothing stolen, who knows about gas and mileage. This to me means that it was never stolen in the first place and the neighbors didn't care about a car parked on the street. He is 90, lives with me, and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Is this the disease or could his story be real? I am at my wits end.

Additionally, his neurologist wrote the State a letter stating that he does not feel my father should drive. They sent us a form for the doctor to fill out and submit and then the Medical Review Board has about 45 days to review and respond. We live in Florida, does anyone know how to speed up the process?


Well, strange things happen. I suppose his car could have been stolen and replaced. Doesn't seem likely, though, does it?

I suggest that you take other measures while you are waiting for the state to act ... like hiding the keys or disabling the car.
3930 helpful answers
I think it's most likely, since there was no damage to the car and it was in the place he parked it, that he forgot where he parked it and thought it was stolen. Then, of course, he remembered or happened upon it. There's no way to prove this, but it's logical considering his age and the fact that the doctor doesn't think he should drive anymore.
I don't know of any way to speed up the review process, but I'm certainly glad they are doing a review. States are getting more responsible about testing elderly drivers. If you haven't called the DOT, you may want to try. Perhaps if you find a person to whom you can tell the car story, someone may be able to speed up the review. Good luck! This is hard, but at least he did take the bus several times. That's quite remarkable and that ability should preserve some of his feeling of independence.
Thank you both! Carol & jeannegibbs!

I guess in some wild way his story could be true but I just don't think car thieves are that conscientious.

I will call the DOT and see what they say. I hate to be the "bad guy" in this but it is getting scary.

Thanks again!
Calling DOT let's THEM be the bad guy-not you! Early on, I struggled with intervening VS being "bad guy" interfering...someone reminded me that I had both the responsibility and privilege to provide to my vunerable and sick mom the protection she needed and deserved. Viewing things that way has helped me move forward in tough situations. The role reversal is shocking and hard at first, but for me, has gotten easier as my mom's decline becomes more obvious. Good luck and I hope you find the strength to prevent driving now. Perhaps keep him busy and distracted in another direction. Remind him the doctor said he shouldn't be driving for now. Offer to take him where ever he wants to go.
Hi SSP, was reading something from wandering search & rescue training materials (yes, I know, weird), anyway, thought of u and thought u might find this interesting. It's the technical reasons why dementia-driving doesn't work. Not that u could reason w the patient, just one of those things that might help you keep your own thought-process organized as you cope with this first universal dementia problem.
Wandering is an important behavior common in Alzheimer's disease that made the disease so critical to the field of search and rescue. Not only do Alzheimer's patients wander but they also easily become lost.  Normal adults (who often become lost also) rely upon three intact systems to know where they are in space.  Short and long term memory to identify landmarks, a sense of time and speed to judge distance, and an intact visual-spatial sense to know direction angles and expected arrival times between landmarks. All three of these systems are impaired in the Alzheimer's subject.[I would say ANY type of dementia, not just alz.] Research section,dementia wondering, search N rescue
I would add from my own experience that my mom can't retain the information input, analyze the components, make a judgment and act on it in only a second or two, or less. If she could manage this once or twice, that would be great, but really, driving is a continual sequence of this series of processes. Have U taken or hidden the keys and car yet ;)) ??!!!
Thank you Kimbee on the insight from a search and rescue perspective and thanks for your personal information with your Mom. No, we haven't taken the keys/car yet. I know I should but we should be receiving a letter from the State of Florida as my father's doctor wrote the Medical Review Board stating that my father should not drive. For some reason they have not suspended his license during their review period. If I take the keys/car now I will be the 'bad guy' not only to my father but to other family members who think he is just fine and that any 'impairment' is just due to stress. I have a POA and am taking things over bit by bit to not only protect himself as well as myself and what meager assets we have. Thank you!!

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