Husband with Alzheimer's wants to drive. What do I do?

Follow
Share

I sold his car two years ago and everyday he asks when is he getting his car back. I believe he cannot drive safely. Doctor has told him the same. He blames me and doctor for not driving. Screams and yells and asks day and night about getting him a car. I can't stand it anymore. My health is starting to fail with the stress.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
5

Answers

Show:
Wow, Sheilaallison, my heart goes out to you. To have your husband, your soul mate, your life partner, yelling and screaming at you day after day about something you cannot change must be maddening on many levels. You did not cause his dementia, and to be blamed for it over and over has got to hurt.

For my husband, losing his license was the absolutely worst part of having dementia. He mourned for his special edition Miata for more than a year. The inability to drive is a huge loss for anyone. Your poor husband! (And mine, too.) Obviously we can't let our loved ones endanger others, But we can be sympathetic about their loss. Have you tried agreeing with him about how terrible this loss is, and how much you wish he were still able to drive, and how much you hate this dreadful disease that causes these problems?

A social worker suggested that my husband get a personal mobility cart (electric scooter). I thought she was nuts! But we got one and hubby was able to go to the library on his own, and to get his haircut, and to buy an ice cream cone. Depending on where a person is with the dementia, giving them a scooter may or may not be feasible, but it does provide a level of independence. It doesn't make up for not driving, but it helps.

This is sort of like dejavuagain's experience. Hubby asked his doctor if she would let him drive if he passed a driver's test. We have a rehab service that serves persons with handicaps and performs driving tests, to determine what car modifications, if any, would help someone be able to drive and also whether someone has reflexes and cognitive abilities to make safe driving possible. The doctor said, "Yes. If you pass the tests at Courage Center, I will write a letter to the DMV on your behalf." This was a pretty safe promise, because he clearly would not pass the tests. He never insisted on taking them -- deep down he knew he could not drive.

You need some relief from this constant badgering. Have you discussed it with your husband's doctor? If there is anything that can be done medically to calm him down a bit, that would be worth trying. I don't think there is a way to make him not care about driving, but I hope there is a way to help him not take it out on you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

twopupsmom had some good advice. Redirect your dad when he starts going on about driving. Change the subject, bring his attention around to something else, and if that doesn't work talk to his Dr. as pam suggested and get some medication for him. It may never end completely but you'll develop ways to make it less maddening.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I have exactly the same situation, sold the car two years ago, but that does not matter to my husband, like you every day same scenario - where's my car, where's my keys, I need a way to get out of here. How I handle it is every time we go to get in the car, I offer to let him drive, hey hon you want to drive us today, answer is always a very nice no. then we are good for a few days until it comes up again, I also find nipping the conversation in the bud and immediately changing what were are talking about, then I get up & say I'm going to the bathroom, he's forgotten all about the car. If you cannot derail the conversation, then ask your Dr to up one or two of his meds to calm him down a bit more. I think telling you to consider a care center is a bit off base for this issue. It's tough but between maybe a slight titration of his meds and the redirecting maybe you can calm him down. It's tough, seems we all cross the same roads along the way. Good Luck & try not to let it get to you, I freeze up inside when I sense that topic coming, but quickly move into my get up, change the subject & leave the room mode
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If a five year old threw a tantrum and wanted to drive a car, would you let him? Of course not. The same applies here. Once an MD says you cannot drive, your license is suspended. If he takes out a school bus, you get sued and you lose, because you already know he can't drive. On the screaming and yelling, you call the MD and get him medicated. If that does not work, you seriously consider a memory care facility, because he WILL drive you to a fatal coronary event.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This may not apply in your situation, since Alzheimer's messes with ALL reasoning ability, but when it became obvious that at 92 my mother should never be behind the wheel again my brothers and I had to figure out how to keep her from driving. Mom has a form of dementia that vacillates between being rational one moment to becoming an unreasonable child the next, primarily when threatened with losing control of her affairs.

One brother contacted the DMV in Florida (which has a LOT of flaky old drivers on the loose!) and they told him that if a doctor or family member (and I'm sure a police officer) deems a driver unsafe they can submit a form attesting to same. The individual will then be called in for a driving test. Well, that's all Mom had to hear. She was insisting all along that her driving ability was as good as ever, but the minute she was faced with having to take both a written and a driving test, she demurred. End of story, and honestly I think she is enjoying being chauffeured around without having to think about traffic.

In your case, this ploy may not work if your husband is to the point where even failing a driving test would not convince him that he shouldn't drive. Then he can blame you, the doctor AND the DMV! Best of luck with this situation.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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