Follow
Share

About four years ago, my then-86-year-old father (since diagnosed with Parkinson's) got into a car accident with my stepmom in the passenger seat. No major property or personal damage, but Massachusetts took his license away; the car (even though it didn't appear that bad) was eventually declared totaled by the insurance company. For the past year or so, almost every time I talk to Dad on the phone, he says this is the week he's going to start to get his license back (and he's got his eye on a Toyota FJ Cruiser). I believe he had gone to the DMV once and they told him he needed a doctor's signoff. He's also going to run out of money in about a year, which renders any notion of buying (and insuring) a vehicle moot. How should I respond? Grit my teeth and let it go? Remind him of the obstacles? Something in between?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Adam, my Dad will get stuck on wanting to buy something and talk about it for years on end, but never doing anything about it. I get so tired of listening to that broken record, so I can understand how you feel. And for you there is that fear that Dad just might get his driver's license back and buy that car.

Whenever my Dad talks about wanting a new car and he finds out he can't purchase a brand new large sedan for $12k any more, that usually ends the discussion of a new car. But Dad [93] will talk about wanting to drive again after being off the road for 6 years, that scares the daylights out of me.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I must have been thinking backwards when I posted. I should have described option (c) as (3), and written that that the insurance company might be contacted to determine if they would renew coverage on him, not his license.

Next paragraph should read "letting", not lettering.

Don't know where my brain was when I wrote that post.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Good advice here. I like the idea of giving the dealers he might go to a heads up. So many of these places will sell a car to any body as long as they can figure out a way to stick someone for the debt.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Since his license was taken by the state, I would imagine their records would reflect that and that would stop the issue right there. It might be that someone told him he needed a doctor's clearance either because (1) he/she wasn't aware of the facts surrounding loss of his license or (2) he/she didn't want to be the "bad guy" or (c) he/she might have thought circumstances have changed.

I don't think it would hurt to call his doctors and alert them, but don't tell your father. I would also call the insurance company and ask if they'd renew his license. I suspect the answer is no.

I can't imagine any dealership lettering someone w/o a license or insurance test drive a car. As I recall, I had to provide that information before I could test drive the car I subsequently purchased.

So either way, your father may unfortunately be embarrassed when he learns that he's not going to get his license back. But it's better that independent sources tell him than if you do.

I wouldn't say anything to him - let the DMV or the doctor take that role. But be there to support him, as he likely would be either annoyed, angry, mad or saddened. Plan to take him someplace special to buoy up his spirits. Loss of one's ability to drive is a significant blow so he likely could benefit from some uplifting words or activities he enjoys.

In the meantime, has he tried any of the little motorized scooters in grocery stores? I've found that shoppers usually give wide berth when they see an older person driving one, so it might be that your father can navigate one of those and satisfy that need to drive, even though it isn't going to restore his independence as much as a car and driver's license.

There are also the little battery powered scooters for personal use. We got one for my father for $125 or $150 - something like that - at a garage sale. Dad drives his up and down his street and enjoys being able to stop and talk to the neighbors on his excursions.

Good luck - I know this is a difficult step in again and sacrificing independence.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Since I don't trust things to go the way they should go, when it comes to most things in life, I might go to the nearest couple of Toyota dealerships and give them the heads up, just in case, to NOT sale him a car and why.

We have a couple family friends who had dementia and went and purchased new, expensive vehicles without anyone knowing about it. They eventually straightened it out, but it involved a lot of time and stress. Oh, these people were licensed.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks! I have reminded him of his financial situation, but he seems to have a bit of a 'block' on that (although other things he remembers fine), and I am pretty sure his doctor won't sign off (nor will my stepmom drive him to a dealer). Good to know about the dealer needing license and insurance, too.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Is there a chance your dad's Dr. will sign off on him getting his license back? If not, let your dad do what he thinks he needs to do while you rest easy knowing his Dr. won't sign off on this.

As for buying a car, does your dad realize he can't afford it? And if not, who is in charge of his money? Before I realized there was anything wrong with my dad's mind he went out, was gone an entire day (scaring me to death) and leased a brand new car. It had, like, 1 mile on it. Not realizing he was slipping into dementia related to liver failure I didn't say anything about it. He was still taking care of his own business. But once I figured it out I had a hell of a time unloading this car. It took months and practically drove me crazy. I was his POA and that helped a little when I was trying to get rid of this car but it was still a mess.

Since your dad isn't driving right now he'd need someone to take him to a car dealership. Let any and all people involved in his care know not to drive him to a car dealership. The logical thing may be to get the license back first before going to buy a new car but your dad may not be thinking logically. That he doesn't have a license right now may not matter to him. He may still try to get that new car.

So to answer your question, how to respond, keep reminding your dad that he doesn't have his license. If you're certain that the Dr. won't sign off keep telling your dad that if he gets his license back then he can get the car (knowing that it's not going to happen). I'm pretty sure a Dr. wouldn't OK a driver's license for a 90-year-old with Parkinson's.

It's never easy, is it?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If you remind him of the obstacles, you become the bad guy. At 90 and with Parkinson's, the DMV is not likely to reissue license. The insurance company will not be likely to insure any vehicle that he is trying to drive after totaling a car and having license taken away. Car dealership is the only sticking point - they might try to sell him a car but he would have to have driver's license and insurance to register and that would stop it cold. Unless you have POA, you cannot stop him; and your stepmother from other posts didn't sound likely to provide a down payment. My grandmother in the NH planned her cruise to Alaska the week before she passed away while bedridden. Let the DMV, insurance be the bad guys. If you're REALLY worried, talk to Dad's doctor in private or leave a message in case you think he is ready to sign off on this. Most doctors don't want the responsibility any more in our litigious society. Let him have his little fantasy - as long as you don't drive him to a dealership:)
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.