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My husband is 71 yrs old has been diagnosed with dementia since 2016, has vertigo, showing symptoms of Parkinsons and is going to physical therapy to assist him with dysfunctional walking, sitting, stepping, etc.. His thought process is very slow, as is his reactions physical and mental to making decisions. He wants to drive, it is totally unsafe for him to be behind the wheel, for him and anyone else on the street or near the street. He argues with me about it all the time and says April 1 "I am going to drive". I don't know what to do. Can his PCP contact the DPS? If I do it our home life will be worse than it is today, he will never forgive me.
Trapped in Texas

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I told my husband that with the medication he was taking he could not drive. I just kept telling him this and he really did not argue.
He did however find the keys once and drove. I reported it to the police I had cancelled the credit card and was told by the police that I probably should not have done that as it could have made finding him easier. (He did not use the credit card anyway)
Do hide the keys, I have a small safe that I kept them in if they were not attached to me. (I keep the keys on a clip that I clip to a belt loop)
The facilitator at a support group I attend had a mechanic put a shut off switch under the dash on the car so her husband could not get the car started even if he got hold of the keys.
I also changed the touch pad on the inside of the garage to a pad that you have to enter a code into in order to open the door so he could not just hit the up pad to get out that way. And I kept the remote that is usually kept in the car with the keys in the safe so he could not open the car and get out by opening the garage. Or there were times I would leave the remote in the car but lock the car while it was in the garage.
I just figured I had to keep at least 2 steps ahead of him. Made for some interesting days!
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gdaughter Feb 13, 2019
Oh Grandma! Thank you for the great thought: my mom is often (at least in nicer weather) constantly playing with the garage door button (she never liked driving, hasn't for years, so this isn't an issue with her dementia). She opens or closes it managing to stop it about 2 feet from the ground...allowing a criminal easy unseen access into the garage and potentially into the house. Using a pad with a code might be a good idea for us. Any clever ideas for a toggle type latch on a patio door? SHe keeps putting in the unlock mode thinking it is locked!
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I've seen this pop up a couple of times, this is where I jump in. Don't over-complicate this for yourself and stress about how to get the state, police, doctors, or anyone else to evaluate, then "tell" someone with dementia to stop driving- BECAUSE IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE! Everyone with dementia is different, but for the most part, even if you go to the ends of the earth to get documentation telling them they can't drive anymore (which you probably won't get, most states treat this as a "family issue" and will not get involved)...

The person with ALZ/dementia simply will not remember that they can't drive anymore, or why they can't, or care. Period. Does not matter how many times you tell them, how many times you may show them whatever piece of paper you can get that clearly states they can't drive anymore, for whatever reason, or which agency/authority issues it. You can even have a nice policeman come to visit to talk to them (we tried that too)!
It is simply pointless. There will usually be absolutely no recollection of any kind of issue or restriction with their driving, and if you try to explain otherwise, or show a nice official-looking document, it's a fight that is promptly forgotten anyway, and then you're right back to the beginning. You're the liar, they know what they're doing, etc., so save yourself the struggle that WILL ensue, no matter what form it takes. Here are the steps to take to solve this problem:

1. Hide keys/Disable, then sell car.
2. Lie. Say whatever you have to, you can change the story every day, it won't matter. Sound mean? It's not.
3. Feel NO GUILT WHATSOEVER. You have just saved at least one life, probably several more. If anything, you can feel like a hero, because you are.
4. Review steps 1-3.

I don't mean to sound flippant or disrespectful, but this is way too important to worry about how they might feel about the loss of their independence, or what they'll say when told they can't drive. This is LIFE or DEATH, and I have been here and found out the hard way what can happen if you don't step in and end this foolishness of even considering letting them continue to drive, or, in our case, not making sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that they cannot get into or start the car once you get to the point where their driving is no longer an option.

We had to finally hide the keys from my dad with ALZ. He had a 3rd keyless-entry/ignition fob that none of us knew about. We'd already been going through the battle of trying to explain to him why he couldn't drive anymore, he was totally uninterested in that. He can't remember that he has ALZ, that he hadn't driven in 2 years, or any of the incidents that led up to cessation of driving privileges. Remember that- driving is a privilege, not a right. We had the doc tell him he couldn't drive anymore, you should've heard the language and insults hurled at the doc from this man who abhorred foul language while he was still himself. We'd hidden all the keys, or so we thought, but he had another keyless entry fob stashed somewhere that he found. Long story short, he was able to slip out, get into and start the car, and he was off to the races. Disappeared for 2 days, had to put out a silver alert. Was found by the police in his vehicle, out of gas, hungry, bewildered, on side of road 3 states away. Sold the car quick after that! We were blessed with a good outcome, not everyone is.

Don't let this, or worse, happen to your family or to an innocent party that might be injured or killed by someone who has no business driving. If getting rid of the car isn't an option, listen to the poster who mentioned a kill switch. You have to take matters into your own hands. It's really frustrating, and my heart goes out to you. I have been here, and still have to revisit. At this point, I am able to just tell him "You don't drive anymore", and he just nods and accepts it. It took a while to get here. Stay strong. Good luck.
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Lymie61 Feb 12, 2019
It's really a case to case, patient to patient variable though isn't it? I mean not all dementia patient's are at the extreme you describe and some neve get there right? Obviously that's been your experience and it certainly is for a lot of people, particularly ALZ patients, at least eventually but the OP didn't say he had ALZ and many dementia patients don't get as forgetful or loose all sense of reality the way you describe which means you really can hurt their pride, make them feel marginalized and have them remember that hurt. I think each caregiver, LO can probably figure out for themselves where their LO falls and what will or wont work. What you are suggesting for instance would be far more hurtful to my mom, to her self confidence and self worth and it isn't something she would forget and I think far more harmful in the long run. That's not to say it wont get to that some day but she has some dementia and isn't there but also shouldn't be driving.
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Here is the link for instructions for anonymously reporting an unsafe driver in Texas by email or regular mail:
www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/MedicalRevocation.htm

Scroll to the bottom of the page to the heading: Report Concerns of Unsafe Drivers

I hope this helps! You are doing the right thing.
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spinrose Feb 11, 2019
thank you
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I don't know if the PCP or the neurologist would be the equivalent of a "mandated reporter" in regard to driving in Texas.  Some states do have laws about this and if that is the case you can warn the docs that unless they report, they could be held liable if they refuse to help get him off the road.   Big time money! 
If their are not clear laws about reporting, you could still warn them about liability concerns - I would document that I tried to get husband off the road, talked to docs, etc. and had no success.  I think a jury would come down hard on doctors ignoring this responsibility if he caused an accident.  Which is almost certain to happen.  But this is so serious morally I would just do whatever I had to - if he got nasty about it? I'd just get nasty back.  Too serious to worry about his feeling.
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spinrose Feb 10, 2019
Thank you, I have decided to start the conversation while at his doctors appointment, if I do it alone at  home, I will be looking at a 6' 220 lb agitated dementia raged expressing himself,
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I believe that you should call the Department of Motor Vehicles in Texas and ask them if you can send an anonymous report to them.

I called about my dad in AZ and NV and was told I could report but I needed a doctor's signature to get the process rolling. I was told it is always confidential reporting.

Good luck, I know how scary this is.
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Maybe your husband should lose his keys and his wallet. My GFs father lost his. Always put them in his pants pocket and layed the pants over a chair. He got up one morning and couldn't find his pants. Wife told him, you can't drive without you keys and licence. He was agreeable to that. She eventually found the pants stuffed way under the mattress. By then GFs father was used to wife driving them in her car. She sold his.

If a doctor won't contact DMV then you do it. Ask if they will give DH a driving test. You can tell husband the State requires it for him to continue to drive. If its found he can't and he drives his own car, then get rid of it. Do not allow it to sit at your home. If he insists on driving, tell him he is not allowed to drive your car. Keep ur keys where u can get to them, he can't and keep your car locked.
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Well I can tell you what my dad's doctor said about his driving - he said that he didn't want to have to go to court if my dad killed someone. Perhaps you should casually mention this to the doctor. A neurologist might be more likely to fill out form to send to DMV, or even an eye doctor.
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We're in TN. When we called we were told that we (the family) could not force him to give up his license. We were told we could fill out a form that would require him to be tested but that our name, address etc had to be on the form. Thankfully Pop voluntarily surrendered his license after a fender bender, but, even then, the Neuro doc had to write a letter for him stating that he could never drive again. With that letter and his voluntary surrender we were able to get him an ID that never expires.
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gdaughter Feb 13, 2019
An official test process at the DMV lacks compassion and sensitivity, so I would advocate, if the test is covered or the costs are reasonable testing at a rehab facility /nursing home with the equipment. It safely conveys to a person they are not up to speed with skills and the risk is too great.
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You might contact his auto insurance agent and they could give you direction. They don't want to insure a "risk" and let them be the bad guy... they might write a letter requesting a doctor's report on driving ability... and go from there.
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gdaughter Feb 13, 2019
This is a no win situation...by calling you are showing your hand, letting them know he is a risk and the rates could potentially escalate at the next renewal...and maybe they should...but if this is the kind of person unaffected by not having insurance it probably won't matter. If it gets on his record then probably no one will want to insure him, which would be the same as his not having a license for the same reasoning...
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This was an ongoing battle with my dad. In December 2017, the doctor submitted the paperwork to the DMV and the DMV sent a letter telling him his license was suspended. Our care manager took him to the DMV for an ID card but the DMV did not make him surrender his drivers license. Big mistake. In April of 2018, I tried a 'mini-intervention' to get the keys from him (he keeps them zipped in his pocket 24/7). This resulted in the police coming because he became violent, handcuffs, and 5 day stay in the hospital labeled as a combative patient. I sure don't want to do that again! I tried having the police help me but they said there was nothing they could do unless they catch him. I even went so far as to have people calling me at work to let me know where they saw him, I in turn called the sheriff, and yet they did nothing. It was not until the sheriff paid him a visit at his house and took the hard copy of his license from him that he finally quit driving. In his mind, because he still had the hard copy of his license, he still 'had a license' and could drive. He has not driven since except he drives back and forth in his driveway sometimes, still digging his heels in that he thinks he is a safer drive than everyone else (he isn't). His caregivers and myself drive his cars and take him wherever he needs to go. We added the caregivers to his auto insurance so he can keep it covered.
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Needsadvice Feb 11, 2019
I had almost same experience. I don’t understand why it is so difficult to get license removed in TX. We had a letter from Dr and police said not their job.
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