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My father is 78 years old, and has undergone a horrific medical journey which started the week before Xmas and is still ongoing now. He was living alone and walking with a cane (barely) from a past back surgery. As his condition worsened, we decided to go to the ER (the week before Xmas). That was the beginning of the end. In January, we found out he has bladder cancer. But if that wasn’t bad enough, his journey took many turns which also brought him to two different hospitals, two different rehabs, and now which he is getting treatment for the cancer, has landed him as a private pay resident in long-term care (Temporarily).


Both mentally and physically my father has had to deal with a lot since his cancer diagnosis in January. I’m not sure if he has dementia (doctors say he does) but he has also battled anxiety, depression, and extreme isolation. He has lived alone for 45 years and basically has done everything for himself. The way he used to live it’s not exactly what I would call normal, but it worked well for him and he was happy or so he said. As you would imagine my father feels completely helpless since he's now gone from a 3 BR house and a car, to a single bedroom, no independence at all, and very little interaction despite me visiting him for 3 to 4 hours a day every day.


Eventually I plan on bringing my father to my home to live with me . I’m 51, an only child, married, and my last child is heading to college in August. I’m doing the best I can for him but I have to focus some of my time on getting my daughter ready for college. My father asked very little of me in fact it’s become so isolated that he rarely even expect me to visit although I do anyway . He keeps saying he wants to go home and more-so he wants his car. Both are completely not possible. His house is set high in a hill and it’s not even equipped for a wheelchair (which is now pretty much his main means of transportation.). When he asks about his car, I tell him it’s at safe and at his house but he can’t drive now because it’s just not safe. He sounds completely normal when he tells me that he’s never gotten a ticket (which is true) and he would be careful. How do I get it through to him that he can not drive! I hate sounding like a mom and I hate being in this position to tell my 78 year old father that he just can’t drive..... there are time when his cognitive status is not good, but he doesn’t see that. I feel like I’m holding him hostage. Help please!!!!

Please think about this factually, not emotionally.  You believe he is not safe on the road, right? How he feels about this, how you feel about his feelings, are not facts. Please don't let your emotions, guilt, whatever, interfere with your duty to keep an unsafe driver off the road. He, or an innocent bystander, could be killed. The sad truth about aging is that many things get taken away. That is just the way life is.
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Reply to rovana
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shad250 May 19, 2019
Makes one wonder why get DL in first place
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Dear Annabox,
I'm so very sorry your dad, and you, are forced to deal with so many medical issues in his senior years. I applaud you for reaching out; asking questions and seeking solutions!! Always Remember: "You are a good daughter"!!
Your journey to help your dad has "only begun".... this road gets harder so prepare yourself (and your dad) for that. Telling dad he can't drive anymore is just a "symptom" of a much larger issue you both must deal with whether dad/you realize, like it or not. Dad is aging & needs help - he can't do / live independently like before.
Suggestion: "Dad, I know you would never intentional hurt anyone, Right? (get agreement) So until the doctors tell me you are 100% healthy enough to drive; you won't be able to drive.
I know it's hard for you to hear & believe me, it's hard for me to tell you, but "your safety and the safety of others" is the most important fact we must focus on.
Dad, your driving days may be over...this is hard & disappointing to accept; I'm here for you & will help you thru this life transition.
Remember, I'll have to face/accept not being able to drive when I'm older, too, so you're helping me!!
About caring for seniors: Learn (dept of aging; sites like this one; ask dad insurance co. questions &
ask for them help....most have social workers / counselors you can talk to. Do Not embark on this journey "alone" unless "you are" dad's only source of help...even then; ask & get help from others.
Questions to help you focus: Does dad have a Will or Living Trust? Do you have other siblings; including any step sis-bro?
Who has "legal" POA (Power of Attorney)? Who has "medical" POA?...you'll NEED both to help your dad. Is your dad a wartime veteran (has DD214 honorable discharge document in his possession?) Does dad receive Soc Sec?...if Yes; you may want to apply to be his "Payee" so you can step in if he's unable to manage his affairs. Do you know about ALL his bills/obligations?
Are you on his bank accounts, savings, etc. **Your dad must be in agreement & authorize you to be on / in all his business** if there are other siblings, exwives,
business partners, this can be a slippery slope so seek credible advice from reputable attorney with expertise re: elder care.
Many blessings to you & your dad. I quit my job at 64 to care for my 90+ mom / dad in my home.
Hardest job I've ever had!! My dad was "VERY" difficult; he passed late 2018. Mom is an angel & is now in 6-bed board & care with 24 hr caregivers. I don't recom-
mend bringing dad into your home...healthy boundaries get very blurred & parents (esp my dad) always want / demand respect & forget "they" need help - not you which is why they are in your home. Each family is different; you decide...but please, Be honest with yourself, Your husband must also be honest & on board with you. Your life will change "drastically". Be prepared
so you make informed, mature decisions - naivity will be a deficit.
Good luck!
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Harpcat May 22, 2019
This reply is absolutely spot on and full of wisdom. You should heed it. Since you are an only child and so young, you have no idea what you are taking on. You should read and re read YukiBob's post.
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I agree, let his doctor tell him he can't drive anymore. U can always fill out a "request for driver review" with the dept of driver services in ur state. U can do it anonymously.
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Reply to Stephanie4181
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It will be a process to get him to accept. You can tell him that due to his physical limitations it’s just not possible and you are sorry because you know that means a lot to him. Have other ways/ideas for him to get where he needs/wants to go. We eventually had to have the neurologist office have him take a driving evaluation test. It takes into consideration mobility, balance, eyesight, decision making abilities, etc. my husband was in the room and was horrified by what he saw as the lags my FIL has been glossing over. When they went to give him the results, they said he scored a 96 on the test and he was happy-and my husband and his brother horrified-until they said in the next breath, “the unfortunate part is 96 is not a good score—that means there is a 96% probability that you will be in an accident. You have significant mobility, coordination, vision, and decision making lags. A combination of those things could be deadly to you, your wife, and/or other drivers. I cannot force you to stop driving, but if you choose to drive I will have to send these test results to the DMV and they will revolt your license.” He didn’t say anything so she said “Mr.D do you understand what I’m telling you?” He said “Yes I do, but I don’t like it.” My husband and BIL were prepared for battle, but on the way back from the doctor my FIL said to my BIL, “well, I guess you will need to cancel my insurance and sell my car.” We were in shock-but thankful. Without that test I think it would have been a harder battle.
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Maltesemom Jun 13, 2019
Great response. Unfortunately, my dad's 96, 90% deaf... yet he's still driving with his primary doctor's approval!?! Recently, he almost ran a guy off the road who followed Dad home and called the police. My dad was outside talking to him and I was very sick inside looking through my window. I called 911 for a policeman to come protect my dad. The 2 policemen convinced the man to go away and dad was not told anything. My sister and I are dumbstruck. My dad said that this was a wake up call and now hes being extra careful. I sat down with him, And reminded him of his age and deafness. Dad says he honked his horn but the other guy did not and I said if you can't hear thunder then how can you hear his horn honking? Is it possible he honked and you didn't hear it and that you didn't see him when you changed lanes? Even if you're a safe driver you are slowing down so much and your deafness has worsened, And statistic way drivers of your age are dangerous on the road to themselves and others. He vacillates between saying people stop driving and then I will become his on call chauffeur And saying nasty things and that hes a better driver than me. He refuses to go back to the neurologist, because he doesn't like with the neurologist has to say and prefers his PCP's sympathetic opinion. My sister and nephew vacillate on Dad's driving dilemma. I will not ride in the car unless I'm driving him. He goes out early in the morning when I'm still asleep. Hes reached that point where his judgment is impaired and he's impulsive to go out as he did 20 years ago. I have mixed feelings because I already have caregiver burn out & I'm on medication for anxiety and depression. His incessant demands and grumpy old man attitude with stinging remarks keep me a virtual recluse. This weekend his Father's Day. I plan to find out if his doctor can be held liable if he has a fatal accident, so I can then inform the doctor of dad's recent close call behind the wheel And then request the evaluation you cited. I will also call the local police station without giving my name to ask them if there are any laws to require he be evaluated. Let them be the "bad cop." ( Taking me off the hook)
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In the facility (LTC) does anyone else drive?
I would ask the doctor to order him a mobility scooter, which may be paid by insurance.

Things you can say:
I will look into it.
When the doctor says it is safe.
We will ask the doctor, and revisit this topic as you improve.
Not now because of the medications, but it is not for me to say.
When you take a test to have your license renewed. When is it due? Let me see it.
I will take you to the DMV when it is time.
I am keeping your car maintained for when the time comes, it will be ready. Then change the topic.
It needs a new battery. Do you want to buy one now, or wait?
The registration has expired, do you have the money to renew it?
Change subject, redirect him to other activities, what do you want for lunch?
Divert his attention to other needs he has.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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I doubt he has (or will be) released to drive by doctors yet. Typically with a hospital stay one of the written release orders are no driving or no driving until a future appointment and until that doctors note in added that says :may go back to driving" or something he isn't legal on the road. Let him know it isn't your decision but it is your neck on the line if you let him drive, insurance wont cover him without a doctor signing off and should he have an accident even if it isn't his fault anyone else involved could hold you liable because you let him drive knowing he wasn't cleared. This may or may not be stretching it with his situation but this is what we were told after my mom's stroke. But this gives takes the responsibility for not letting him drive away from you and rests it with the medical professionals. They might even agree to work with him in PT to see if he might get cleared (doubtful) so he feels heard and can kind of asses himself a bit, depends on his medical team.

Such a hard time all the way around, it sure does sound like you are doing the right things though, focusing on getting your daughter off to school now while dad is in a safe place is very wise and probably not as easy as it sounds. You seem to be finding that balance between supporting and caring for your dad, supporting and caring for your daughter and taking care of yourself, I'm impressed. Keep up the good work!
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Reply to Lymie61
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My father was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of 80. He had the MAJOR surgery to remove his bladder and create a pathway for the urine to exit into a pouch that he wore on the outside of his body. It was difficult for him to adapt to this "new normal" but he soldiered on and lived to be 86. He died as a result of the cancer coming back and spreading. Shortly after his surgery, Dad read a major news story in our area where a man passed out behind the wheel as a result of a medical condition and killed several people in a parking lot. He was terrified that could happen to him so willingly gave up driving and was content to be chauffeured around. I am so sorry your Dad has this dreadful disease.
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Reply to texasrdr22
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In some states a doctor has to order it but they can order an evaluation to see if he’s capable of driving. If not the BMV will revoke his license and not give him a new one. Then he can hate them not you 😉. But get rid of his car or take his keys so he can’t try to do it anyway. It’s not just his safety, it’s also the innocent person he could kill so it’s not really debatable. My mother still gripes about not having a car lol
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Reply to Jannner
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When it became apparent that my elderly father shouldn't be driving anymore we discussed it several times and my dad, of course, disagreed. Eventually I ended up having his doctor advise him not to drive. I let the doctor be the bad guy. My dad had a check-up coming up and I called the doctor's office ahead of time to put the wheels in motion. The office suggested I write a brief note to the doctor and give it to the nurse when we went into the examining room. By the time the doctor came in he knew the issue and in a very organic and sensitive manner he suggested that my dad stop driving. My dad never drove again. Directions from a doctor supersede suggestions from an adult daughter.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Let the doctor do it!! Do not...repeat..do not do it yourself...he will never let you forget it.
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