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Dad is approaching 90 years old and is fully aware with no memory issues, takes care of all his own bills, etc, and insists on independence. I thought he was driving well, but his driving at night was awful recently. Last year I rode with him on errands and an appointment so I could see how he was doing, and his driving and parking was spot on. But I accepted a short ride before dawn one morning recently, and it was scary. He does not drive at night at all otherwise. Now I'm scared about his daytime driving but I'm not with him generally so I don't know. I'm scared he might hurt someone or himself. We're in California. Does DMV deal with this at all, and can I report him and be anonymous? Should I speak to our local police about this? I don't want him to find out it was me. He insists he's doing well and doesn't need help. My therapist tells me this is not my responsibility, but I feel like since I knew about the dark-time incident, it kind of IS?

Hi Calgirl,
The worse my husband drove the more I had to resist making any comments about it. I informed his doctor before our next checkup that he in no uncertain terms needed to stop driving. I gave the doctor specific examples of the kind of things he was doing on the highway, like going down an exit or on ramp the wrong direction to name a couple. His doctor was happy to assist me and after his check up, he sent the DMV in our county of residence a request to revoke his driving license. When the letter arrived at our house from the DMV, I opened it and handed it directly to him. I showed every ounce of empathy I muster because I could only imagine how hard it was going to be for him to give up that independence. As far as he knew I had nothing to do with it! As I have said on here many times, we caregivers have to play/maneuver by a whole different set of rules. Your Dad needs to feel like you are his advocate. You definitely are his advocate, which sometimes requires you to do what is BEST for him, not necessarily what he WANTS you to do. You can do this because you love him. Its not what we signed up for especially with those we love. However, we must keep them and others safe. Good luck! This isn't for the weak or faint at heart!!!
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Reply to NeesaLee
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Driving is the true equalizer. It makes one feel powerful and useful. Women are just as powerful behind the wheel as men. A driver’s license is clear evidence of independence. Just think of yourself as a newly licensed driver. Aah, the freedom! So no one wants that taken away. It looks as though your father is aware that his vision is not as good at night and has avoided driving at night and he tried to do you a favor. And now you want to do him a favor by keeping him safe and people along the roadway safe. Both of my parents had to give up driving and both of them agreed to give it up without a fight. I’ll tell you how I did it. Peer pressure from peers of their own generation. I spoke with a dear friend of my father’s and we hatched a plan. I had a casual and friendly conversation with my dad about dangerous drivers and the havoc they can wreck on other people’s lives and their own lives. I purposely did not bring up my dad’s driving and in no way implied that conversation was about him in any way. This is an easy conversation to have because it is about other people and your dad will not get defensive. A few days later, as scheduled, his good friend called and said he was thinking about giving up driving. He was concerned about hurting other people and was equally concerned about the legal liabilities he could face if he got in an accident and hurt or killed someone. He did not want to place his wife in financial jeopardy in case a court ruled against him. (He is an attorney and knows how unpredictable courts can be.) A few days later my dad came to me and said he was going to give up driving, but not his license. He never drove again. When my Mom was diagnosed with AD, we had the doctor talk to her about the risks of driving with AD. He never told her not drive, but certainly left her with the impression that driving was not a good idea. On the way home from the doctor’s appointment my Dad told my mom he had given up driving because it was the best thing for our family and that she should think about doing the same. She agreed to stop driving. We put the keys in a different spot (we didn’t need to hide them because they couldn’t remember the spot) and neither of them sat behind the wheel again. We (my siblings and I) made ourselves available to drive them where they wanted to go and made regular plans to get them out of the house. When their licenses expired we got them state IDs. It extremely important that you treat your father with dignity and kindness. Best wishes.
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Reply to MaddieMae
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Sjcjuly May 14, 2021
A perfect response! Thank you 😊
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I know you said he’s a good driver but due to his age I think it would be more appropriate going forward if you need a ride at that hour to ask a friend or get a taxi or Uber to drive you at that pre dawn time

Since he otherwise doesn’t drive in the middl of the night, his night driving is irrelevant to his driving safety at this time

What’s relevant is he drives fine during the daytime so why would you anonymously report his driving as a concern? There’s a lot of people who drive fine during the day when it’s light out but can’t drive at night and he sounds like he’s one of them so if you want to know see how he drives during the DAY and if he’s fine then no basis to report anything- once my dad was in his 70s and 80s and was still active he drove during the day ( he had good night vision too but never drove at night bc he was an early to bed person who started his day early and got all his errands and things he wanted to do done by mid afternoon at the latest usually by 2 or 3 pm at the very latest, my mother was safe to drive during but once she was in her sixties on she didn’t have good night vision and by the age usually didn’t have anywhere to go at night obviously but the couple times she did in her late sixties have something she wanted to attend after it was dark she either declined or asked someone else - by the age of early 70’s didn’t involve going out at night as is pretty much the case for most folks once they’re in that season of life .

what’s relevant and important is his daytime driving and it sounds like that’s something he easily does, if you want to make sure you can ask him to drive somewhere close by w you during the day and if it’s fine then you know he’s fine to drive
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Bigred13 May 14, 2021
Read a lot of posts mostly heartless idiots but you @Sarah3 are actually making sense unlike the majority of the others who probably didn't even read the entire thing or just don't care about the results of the weasel posters suggestions in getting their father arrested by the police at 90 years old for giving themselves a ride after dark knowing their father doesn't drive after dark to begin with did their child a favor and now they might wind up in jail or a nursing home
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Most of the time you have to just suck it up and do the deal yourself. You cannot expect the DMV or any doctor to enforce him not driving. They are not there. They cannot physically stop him. Has he seen a neurologist to get evaluated. That's what we finally did with my FIL. The neurologist who works with the elderly had a driving simulation that they had him do. He failed miserably. They showed him all the times he hit or almost hit someone or something on the simulation. They showed him how slow his reaction times were, his poor hand/eye coordination. Then they appealed to his good heart, and told him they knew he would never forgive himself if he hurt/killed, his wife, or a young family on the road, and they told him there were other opportunities and ways to still be independent without driving.
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Reply to DILKimba
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I believe it is any citizen's responsibility to report dangerous driving. After all it IS a matter of life and death.
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Reply to rovana
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His night time vision issues might be related to cataracts. Have his vision evaluated. If his night vision is kaput, ask the eye doctor to break the news of "no night time driving."

Since he is mentally competent, he is responsible for his own actions, not you,
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Reply to Taarna
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Getting the DMV involved is not necessary and certainly can make matters worse. Also your therapist is wrong, wrong, wrong!! I am surprised if you are still seeing her. Your loved ones are your responsibility once you notice a problem and perhaps when your father kills or hurts someone your therapist can then treat your guilt problem! In your heart you know she is wrong! when I took my husband’s keys away he told me he was glad he didn’t have to drive anymore. He had been to a neurologist who wanted to take him off the road immediately but we waited and when I felt scared to ride with him I took his keys away. Explain to your father that you are afraid to ride with him and why and refuse to do so anymore. If that does not work get some backbone and take control. Your therapist is incompetent, you are not!!!!!!!
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Inga1234 May 14, 2021
I agree.
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From another California gal.....I don't know about other states but here your insurance will not cover you once you have a diagnosis of an incapacity like MCI or ALZ or dementia. Even if the accident IS NOT YOUR FAULT you WILL be considered AT FAULT and your insurance will NOT cover you. This leaves you and your estate at risk. This is not a chance anyone wants to take. You have worked long and hard to build an estate to care for your later years. Our primary doctor notified the DMV and my husband's license was revoked immediately. We got him a California official Senior Pass which is accepted as a legal ID.
The Dr, said it is easier to tell a person they have a terminal disease than to tell them they can not drive.
Good luck
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Reply to Wobblywalker
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Well, the scary ride wasn't just at night, was it - it was before dawn, i.e. in the wee small hours when most good citizens are sleeping. How much was awful driving, and how much was his being four fifths asleep, and anyway what were you both doing on the road at that hour?

But never mind. The thing is, DMV does issue licences and no doubt are the people to approach, but what are you expecting them to do with an anonymous report from a concerned citizen? If anyone could get anyone's licence suspended in that way, just imagine the mischief people at loggerheads could cause to one another.

He insists he's doing well and doesn't need help. He rejected your offer, indeed your booking, of driving services. So that leaves - just how specific and explicit with him have you been about what's wrong with the way he's driving?

Presumably it's a vision problem, which is no doubt why he's dodging his eye tests. He knows very well he can't see. He just doesn't want to know it *officially.*

Someone is going to have to tell him he is being an idiot. If it's cataracts, they can be dealt with and, God willing, all things being equal, he'll be back on the road safely before too long. It's a less treatable eye problem, then even if it's not curable his choice is between treatment to conserve his vision, the sooner the better, or blindness - and even he can't think he'll be driving if he's registered blind.

No more pussyfooting around his feelings. If you can't be blunt with him about the sheer stupidity of ignoring this problem, do you know someone who can?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Reaannhlovethem May 14, 2021
I wouldn’t call her Dad
stupid, he’s 90.
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Here is a partial copy of a post I left about a month ago. I did not do it anonymously but requested that they not disclose who reported her if it came up.


After numerous discussions with my wife concerning this matter and at every breath she refused to ever think that her driving was suspect. All of the 50 years I have known her, she could only concentrate on ONE thing at a time. I did report my wife to the DMV because numerous Drs refused to get involved. She was having Partial Complex seizers at that time. When my then 10 YO son came home from being out with her scared to the point of shaking saying "Daddy, I never want to go ANYWHERE mommy is driving!". I had known her driving skills were lacking, and this was long before her dementia diagnosis, but I did nothing.

Doing this was one of the biggest stress relief actions of my life. I have never regretted it nor have I ever felt guilty about about it.
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rovana Jun 2, 2021
Well you son had more sense and courage than you. Hope you did not make anyone ride with her - seizures are an automatic no drive in CA and should be everywhere. Why were you so cowardly?
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