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They just drive around town to stores; farmers market, out to eat. everytime an elderly person goes missing in area it makes my sister and I think how would we trace our parents. They have a cell but seem to never have it on when they take it with them. They don't drive every day so we really don't want to pay a monthly fee plus large setup cost. Would be interested in ideas. Thank you.

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NYDIL, very helpful and interesting research.
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Garden, here's stats I found from the CDC about older adult drivers: "In 2012, more than 5,560 older adults were killed and more than 214,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. This amounts to 15 older adults killed and 586 injured in crashes on average every day. There were almost 36 million licensed older drivers in 2012, which is a 34 percent increase from 1999. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70‒74 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older. This is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes. Age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning (ability to reason and remember), as well as physical changes, may affect some older adults' driving abilities. Across all age groups, males had substantially higher death rates than females." And according to Consumer Reports: "Drivers 80 and older are involved in 5.5 times as many fatal crashes per mile driven as middle-aged drivers." Back in February of 2014 Witsend2 asked "Parents have had increasing dementia for past 15 years (mom) and past year (dad). They both drive. Are we liable?" Although some posters responded 'yes' even when the answer is 'no' people sue first and ask questions later. And the whole process costs lots of money and time. The way we handled driving with my inlaws was explaining the legal system to them - the long, drawn out, expensive, time consuming legal process - so they understood what would happen if they hit a person while driving: all their medical records would be laid bare to the court, their car insurance premiums would skyrocket, etc.
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Well said, Windy.

Llama, just b/c someone becomes lost is hardy the basis for concluding that "that means their eyes are not where they should be". That applies more to texters and cell phone talkers than older people, with whom there can be vision issues but there can also be cognitive issues. With someone texting, it's just sheer irresponsibility if not stupidity.

Would you advocate preventing a texter from driving? I certainly would, just as adamantly as I would argue that someone driving in impaired state should not be driving.

How many people are killed by drunk driviers? How many by elder drivers? And how many by texters? Let's see the stats.
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Llama, I have no idea what NSA is referring to, it was mentioned by another poster, not me.

This is a good discussion and the issue comes up quite often on this forum. There is no one answer for each situation. My very first post on this forum several months ago was about elders driving and I shared the info about the GPS tracking system I had just begun using. I was immediately chastised by another poster for being irresponsible and told myna dad had no business driving. I have also seen many posts where the elder has had wrecks, gotten lost, driven through the garage door etc. and I have advised that the driving should be ended immediately. In some cases there is no question that things have continued far too long and there is immediate danger to the driver and the public. As much as I would like to get the keys from my Dad at this point I have no justification to do so. It would involve a physical confrontation. He has not gotten lost, no dings or scratches, no fender benders, no tickets, nothing. I recently took a ride with him to the grocery store and was amazed at how well he does. But with his dementia I know it won't be long before I have to intervene and it will be nasty. He is not about to let his young punk son tell him what to do.

So I watch him every day on my GPS and mom can call me or 4 grandsons and we can all access the GPS system on I phones or laptops in a second if a trip to the store takes too long. So far she has yet to alert us to any problems.

While there are many similarities to the problem of elders driving there are also many different situations and methods for dealing with driving and resolving the situation. My GPS works for me, at the moment, but may not be effective for others.
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I don't think they should be driving any more. If they're looking for their lost way, that means their eyes are not where they should be. Good heavens, if they hit and kill a pedestrian, that's called vehicular manslaughter.
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Has anyone stood in line at the local DMV lately, and taken a look at who they are giving a license to or, renewing a license for? At least a senior has experience.
However, common sense when on any meds, or once a diagnosis of dementia is made, (get a second opinion); did you know that with epilepsy people should not drive? Take a look at the car, are there too many new dings?
My friend had a neighbor who repaired her car before her adult children could see the dings, and dents! She was 90. It is really not age related, to some extent.
Always give the elder the benefit of the doubt by reporting anonymously to the DMV, let them re-test and decide.
Have you ever been in the car with someone and they just stopped (no stop sign, no light) as if there was a stop sign? That could be one of the bad signs we're not always aware of.
Safe driving everyone!
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I HAD my husband's license taken away for everyone's safety, It was hard on him, but his feelings have lighten up and is getting use to our family driving him around .He has dementia and is starting to roam. I am looking for a bracelet/watch I can get him and I get find him on my phone or unit. Any suggestions would be helpful. thank you
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One of really scary things about impaired drivers is the possibility of getting onto the wrong side of a freeway or divided road. But hazards are all around us--my aunt was killed when her elderly husband sideswiped a retaining wall on a road very near their house.
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GardenArtist, Yes, they went over all the statistics re reaction time, night vision, depth perception, peripheral vision, higher fatality rates for seniors, and much more. They also made comparisons to teen drivers. The legal age is 16 in my state. I didn't let my son get his license at 16. He got it at 20 when he was more responsible and he is a great driver.
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Windyridge: What does NSA have to do with this?????
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Yogagirl, were there any issues in the AARP seminar which addressed compensating mechanisms, for example, decreased reaction time?

I've read some of the techniques advised are to stay around familiar areas, don't drive as night, allow more distance between vehicles, etc. But given the number of distracted drivers, I think the risk of accidents occur, and that often requires split second reaction time.
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Windyridge and others, This is a tough one. I attended the Senior Driver Safety class in our area offered by AARP and took mother when she was still driving about two years ago. It was very informative. The class was held on 2 Saturdays at our rec center and lasted all day. Mom couldn't retain any of of the information presented.
Looking around in the class, most of them looked like they shouldn't be driving including the teacher! It scared the daylights out of me. But, that's just my opinion and I am I very cautious driver. The little booklet they passed out stated that some seniors drive with Alzheimers and drive in limited areas to avoid getting lost. Since I attended that class, I am more cautious than ever when driving and especially as a pedestrian, watch out!
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I completely agree with not allowing them to drive. In our case my mother was always a little 'directionally challenged' so we provided Onstar to help. Unfortunately her dementia behavior came on quickly and once we became aware, we took the keys. Not an easy process for her or us, but it was easier than seeing something bad happen to her or others. When the ability to drive is taken, that is a realization of the loss of independence for everyone. Looking back with knowledge from sites like this, I realize the little scratches on the car were early signs that the driving was an issue we needed to address.
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Really, if you are worried about your parent getting lost while driving, the big question is, should that parent be driving??? When a person is diagnosed with dementia they take away the drivers license for a reason. Both my parents are in AL and when they drive somewhere they go together. At this point they are only allowed to drive during the day, and only to the grocery store which is less than a 1/4 mile away from their apartment or to my house. I drive them everywhere else. At this point I am not worried about them getting lost, I am concerned they are getting older and the traffic moves too fast for them. As of right now, there have been no accidents and I have ridden with my parents and feel pretty secure in my Dad's ability to get to those two places....once there is decline, the license is gone!!! We have talked about this and they are in agreement. The legal issue is, if your parent has an accident and they are sued....they could lose everything. So, again, if you are concerned enough to track your parent for getting lost, there are other issues you need to address. If your parent has the starts of dementia, a big worry is, will your parent forget to stop at the red light??? This happened to a friends parent, lucky nothing happened, but the license is gone! As a kid, you can go to the DMV and request your parent be tested again...and I mean do the written and a driving test if you don't want to have to deal with this issue itself. Be proactive and avoid a legal mess later!
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I love the GPS tracking idea. Also contacting the local authorities. Anyone who knows about the implications of Dementia and Alzheimers understands that every person is different. Generally your loved one will not want to give up the keys to the car and there are various ways to ease someone out of the driving. It is not going to be an easy discussion and 99% of people with cognitive impairment will be defiant. Get the doctor involved and he can write a note indicating it is no longer safe for your loved one to drive. Older folks rely on doctor's decisions more than anyone.
You know this is an epidemic due to the implementation of the "Silver Alert" similar to the "Amber Alert" for persons with Dementia who have not returned home when driving. Good luck and just remember its not their fault, it's the illness.
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If they have dementia or Alheimer's and you are at a point that you are worrying about them getting lost DO NOT ALLOW Driving

Everyone gets lost. However driving with Alheimer's can kill people.
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I had onstar family link on my mom's car. On of the best decisions we made. I had text alerts set on my phone at set times. One of the alerts received saved us. We were able to call onstar who worked with law enforcement to locate her and keep her safe until we arrived. At anytime i could locate the car on the onstar website. Her car is for sale....
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Bronco, I agree with others about the big picture. If your folks will cooperate maybe talk about giving up the driving, but keep in mind there will have to be away for them to get groceries, doc appts, etc.

In my case, Dad just passed his drivers test, doc says he's ok for now, and he won't discuss the issue at all. To him he's as capable as ever. The GPS is not the be all end all for the driving issue, but for now it is the best I can do.
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I agree with Jeannegibbs above. When the memory and decline is such that you are concerned with them getting lost, it's time to stop the driving completely. When you hear of seniors who plowed through a store window or ran over a person because they mixed up the brake and the gas, consider the risks. You never know when the day will be that they really aren't with it and something terrible happens. It's not worth allowing it to continue because you don't want to upset your parents. And yes, I know it's a bear to do get it done, but there are ways to try.

I'm not saying tracking is bad, but I would focus my energy on stopping the driving, since innocent people, including them could be hurt.
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Thanks, yogagirl! Windy was just pulling my leg with his sense of humor, that is entirely possible too. However, I respect his right to be humorous.
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I'm having a good day today because everyone is safe and calm. Getting their car keys, and then selling that darn car, was a year of agony. I so feel for anyone worried about older parents who still drive.
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Sendme, Keep the jokes and humor! If anyone snoops on me they'd be bored or fall asleep. They might wonder why I go to Target so often. Nothing to hide unfortunately. LOL
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Windy, I chose going the really cheap way when my husband disappears ( it is called elopement-leaving without regard to appoinments, plans, or notifying anyone when he will return) or (ghosting-a term used when someone is right there but has behaviors that cause them to disappear within your usual sight line,) one is left asking themselves, is he here? Did he leave? Where is he? Behaviors common to people with Asperger's. The cheapest way, do nothing, endure frustration, stop caring too much.
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Windy, allow me to explain: "We used to be worried about the nsa" that was the joke part. We, denotes many persons who were /are worried.
"How ya doin", an expansion of my joke to imply, should we now be worried about you?
Guess I will give up humor, imop.
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Windy, I am for the shock collar! Except for when my dog had it, my husband removed the shock feature and we used it to just "beep-train her". Not sure about humans, though, the shock could be used for shock therapy.
I am for gps tracking, and elder/teen tracking. Trying to reconcile that with my concerns about my own privacy, however, I am for doing what needs to be done to protect someone in our own family. Others would be more concerned about privacy rights. I am no longer concerned about everyone's rights because they have so many rights it's against my rights!
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I agree wholeheartedly with the bigger picture question!

I would ask this. If seem to never have the cell phone on when they take it with them, how can you be sure they will turn the GPS tracker on when they get in the car?

How close are they to having their next driver's licence test?

Have you talked with their doctor about this and questioned how well he thinks their brains are working?

My dad has been incredibly rational about the whole thing.

When we first started on this journey with dad, he explained to me, my wife and our boys exactly how his decline would likely progress. He wrote up a very short version of his 80 plus years on earth. He took us through the will as it applied to each of us, showed us where some things were that he had already organized for us, told us how content he was about his life as a whole, asked me if I ever learned from my mom why she abandoned him, retold the story of the day before she left and the day she left, and said his only other hurt was his mother's death (BTW, it was by suicide.). Beyond that he said that he had lived a very blessed life and please keep coming to visit and call on the phone. Sorry, but I didn't know the answer to his question.

He drove for a bit only across the street to the grocery store, but when my step-sister said she didn't think it was safe, he was ok with that.

I guess that was his farewell speech in advance which his side of the family tends to do, usually with each child in private, plus the spouse if alive at that time.

I've never heard of anyone taking such a mater of fact, rational, organized, and here's what you need to know approach as him. It must be the engineer in him who always had things planned out like our vacations down to the tiniest detail so that things might go as smoothly as possible. Wow!

I would have the doctor evaluate their thinking, inform the doctor privately of your concerns, anticipate them trying to show they are possibly healthier than they really are for the doctor and take his advice to heart in light of the bigger picture.
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We have taken measures as far as he cannot drive alone; can't drive after dark, even with someone, can't drive on major highways, even with someone. so we are monitoring everything to this point and we are concerned as far as other peoples safety. We had to convince them to get rid of the boat and to give up the snowbird trip to florida every year; so this driving issue is the next issue to be addressed and we are doing so constantly as far as monitoring the skills and limits; my mother is always with him but they are somewhat new to the area where we moved them to a couple years ago so that is the concern of them getting confused and lost.
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The potential for getting lost may not be the most critical issue here. (I am directionaly impaired -- I get lost all the time. No big deal. )

Persons who reach a point where they don't know where they are or how they got there and lack coping skills regarding what to do about it may forget other critical things -- like which pedal is the brake, or how to respond in an emergency. Their response times may be too slow for safe driving.

Giving up driving is one of the most traumatic and distressing events in the lives of many elders. It was awful, terrible, and very bad for my husband. He mourned his little special edition Miata for a year. So I am very sorry to bring this up. But someone has to be concerned not only about the parents' whereabouts but also the safety of other people on the road with them.

If they are at a point that you are worrying about them getting lost, it may be time to take a broader look at the whole driving picture.

Sorry.
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Send, I'm not sure I understand your responce.....What's a wonderful idea? NSA? GPS elder tracking?

I don't see it as an invasion of privacy if that's what you're implying. Parents track their kids every day via cell phones, with and without the kids knowledge. Kids however get smarter. People with dementia go the other way and need supervision. Cameras, GPS, radar, sonar....I'm for any device that will help me know when it's time to get the keys from my Dad.

I hope my wife has a GPS implanted in me when I get like my Dad. She'll probably go cheap though, and use a shock collar.........
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Broncomeemaw, In our area, we have a program 'C.l.e.a.r.' You sign up a vulnerable person with law enforcement, and if they get lost, or in trouble, or other issues, the sheriffs take care of it, will call you.
The person can also wear an identity bracelet, medical alert necklace, etc. with you as the emergency contact.
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