An issue of my wife driving. - AgingCare.com

An issue of my wife driving.

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Medical professionals have indicated that my wife should not be driving because of her dementia. I have taken the keys away from her but it continues to be a continual battle front because the wife has enough awareness of what is going on that she thinks she still should be able to drive. This has become a major issue of confrontation between us. Insurance company has said we could lose everything if she were to get in an accident regardless of whose fault it was because of her dementia diagnosis. How can we put this issue between us to rest for once and for all and get on with our lives as best we can?

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If she is obsessive and angry about the driving issue, ask the MD for proper medication. My mother in law needed Xanax to calm down, she actually asked her doctor for some kind of medication after we stopped her driving.
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The only way I was semi able to put this matter to rest was by making a deal with my mother that if she could pass the DMV drivers test I would support her driving. It took work on behalf of my brother, me and moms doctor to get her licence suspended. Mom had had several fender benders (knocked the passenger side mirror off her car at least four times, probably more, side swiped something that damaged the passenger side from headlight to taillight - she didn't know she had done it) and one significant accident - she drove into and up on a round-about - $5,000 damage to her car. Once suspended I took my mother to the DMV for her testing. After the fourth try mom finally passed the written test - but after four tries she still couldn't pass the Behind the Wheel test and finally gave up. To this day mom blames her old Doctor (quit seeing her when this all went down) and blames the DMV testers saying they were all bias against older drivers (the last test mom actually drove up on the sidewalk but blamed it on the tester as he "made me drive down a shady street"). Mom can't walk these days and barely speaks - but if you were to ask her she'd tell you she's perfectly capable of driving! (Big sigh!).
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You are doing the right thing to continue to prevent her from driving. Keep that in mind.

I wouldn't fret about trying to settle the matter between the two of you. If her brain was able to properly process it, then she wouldn't continue to bring it up. She can't reason it out. If she could, she would. I would focus on having a very tight security for the keys that totally prevents her from having access.

I would then redirect her questions about driving. You might even say you are waiting on some tests results before she can regain her license or that you can only afford insurance for one driver. Anything to put her off the topic. It may not matter if she gets upset, because she won't likely remember the conversations after a while. I would hope that eventually she will forget about the driving.

I admire your optimism and desire to move on with your life together, but with dementia there are likely to be many problems as her condition progresses. Some patients wander, are combatant, resist care, etc. and there are no simple solutions. Sometimes it's a trial and error of how to deal with the behaviors. My cousin had quite a few odd behaviors, but she did give up driving on her own. (She got very scared once when she forgot how to get out of the car.) She then said she wanted to sell the car and I agreed.

I will say that some behaviors may decrease or fade away completely. I hope that can offer you some comfort.
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Have the Dr.'s actually spoken to your wife and told her she can't drive anymore? She's heard it from them? If so and she is still demanding the car then you know she should definitely not be driving since she is ignoring Dr.'s orders. You're right to keep the keys from her.

The driving issue is one of the most difficult things about growing older. The Dr.'s know she shouldn't be driving. You know she shouldn't be driving. But it sounds like there's no convincing her.

I have no idea how to put this to rest between you. I can't imagine what you might say that would enable your wife to, all of a sudden, realize that she shouldn't be driving. That she could get in the car and injure or kill herself or other people isn't convincing enough for her. That's the disease.

Hide the keys where she'll never find them, blame the Dr.'s, and hope this passes soon.
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