Should I let Dad drive 8 hours by himself? - AgingCare.com

Should I let Dad drive 8 hours by himself?

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He is 79 and just had knee replacement in February (took a long recovery time). He was released by the Dr. and now he wants to drive to my sisters house 8 hours away. He went on a drive last week and said he felt tired after 1 hour.
He mentioned "being in jail here" today and just needs to get out. He has his car and drives every day but he was always driving before with mom and now she is not here to keep him awake. Plus being in the sitting position for 8 hours (I guess no difference than sitting in front of the TV for 18 hours a day.)
I said before I didn't think it a good idea but my sister the nurse thinks its just fine I guess, (she doesn't call me to ask).
I don't have the time to drive half way to take him there and meet with my sister. He wants to go to see the grand kids (who never call him, mine do and they will be here to visit). I want him to see the family but am concerned about the long drive (he falls asleep at the drop of a hat).
I doubt he will stay the week as he doesn't get along with my BIL. I do look forward to the week by myself.
As I may be correct he will make a detour and go visit other family (the other direction) and make a longer drive out of it. He and mom used to travel a lot (well drive a lot to keep busy).
Do I let him go? he leaves Thursday.

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I'm glad to learn that he made it back successfully, and w/o incident.

If he wants to travel, what about senior trips? He'd be on a bus with other seniors, so he wouldn't be driving alone. If they're just day trips, the cost would be a fixed rate, and it would give him an opportunity to feel unrestricted, at least for a day.

A neighbor friend of my father's does this and has met some interesting people. And it's more or less safe, at least safer than traveling alone.

As to the interruptions, perhaps you could tell him that you take a break at a certain time and you'll help him with his computer issues then. If he lingers, do you think he'd understand if you told him that if you don't work you can't support him, so you need to work?

If your sister wants to get him a sports package, I think it would be nice if she offered to pay for the additional cable charges; after all, you've been providing the house and food for over a year now, if I remember correctly.

Too bad holographic fishing trips aren't available.

You're right though - it's always something. It's amazing how many things can change or arise during caregiving.
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So he made his trip fine. Came home a couple days early as I figured. So much for quiet time...... Now he is planning another trip for a week (to stay with relatives and go fishing). I guess that is a good thing as he is bored. He wants to get a job but no motivation on his part. (I am not going to find it for him). He comes into my office "It's not an emergency but I need my computer and log ins for the bank fixed"..... then he sits there waiting for me to move). It is only the middle of the day and I am at work, although according to everyone else I don't work because I work at home.... If I only had the money for an office.
Now he is wanting to travel, he has a couple dollars in the bank because he didn't go anywhere for 2 months now he looks at it as he has lots of money (and my credit card), by a couple dollars I mean like enough to live on for the month until SSI comes in. So, I do want him to visit people but I look at it as he will get back into the old game of spending it down to the last penny. I don't have the money to travel or go on vacation and pay his costs. My sister wants to get him a sports package for his birthday and run my cable bill another $40 a month. That will last one year and then Ill be stuck with the bill.... again.... Like "I'll pay for dads flight to go fishing" which cost me a few thousand....

Where does it end? Sorry just spewing....
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Thanks, yes I am enjoying the quiet time and having my girls home (he noise I like!) He arrived (of course never called), it was nice to talk with my wife at dinner with no interruption. Don't get me wrong I love my dad and I am glad I can care for him but it does take time adjusting. I am not a ball of fun to live with either I know that.
Getting ready to have a nice weekend with my kids and have a big BARBEQUE and pay respects to our vets (March in the town parade with the honor guard and stand by while they lay a stone for a fallen solider). Enjoy the weekend thank a vet!
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Tgengine, I now remember when your father first came to live with you - it was quite disruptive If I recall correctly. This has probably been a challenging journey for you, so I'm glad that things are working out that your father feels up to the challenge of getting away and that you and your family can take a stay-cation, as the new buzzwords call stay at home rest..

Hoping the trip goes without incident and everything works well for all of you.
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Hes off on his drive. only one call so far about traffic. Went over the car before he left so its in working order. actually looking forward to a nice week with my wife. Figured out why I am so grumpy lately. I must be going through my stages and right now dealing with the anger portion. It;s been a year and a half and I haven't gotten through my stages, thought I did, guess I haven't. Oh well, now time for me....... I hope. Thanks for the advice.
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I wouldn't want to go on an 8 hour drive and I'm 39 years old! Good luck.
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Thanks all good answers. I have his car in the shop and plan to change the fluids myself today. He has money and my credit card and a smart phone, just need to set up the find my phone portion. Actually looking forward to some wife and me time and seeing my kids...... I guess now is the time to let him fly, we both need it..... Ive been a real grump for some time over all this..... 24/7 gets old real fast.
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With the amount of gas it takes to drive 8 hours, PLEASE BUY A PLANE or BUS TICKET. What if he gets stiff from sitting too long and cant brake...or falls asleep from being tired?
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I would share your concerns, but I also know as a daughter that men enjoy the independence of driving and feeling as though they can still go wherever they want to go.

Could you get him to agree to established check-ins, say every 2 hours, or 4 hours, or so? Perhaps if you suggest every hour, he'll think it unreasonable and suggest 2! Or maybe less frequently, so be prepared to accept check-ins less often.

I would also help him plan his route so that you know exactly what streets, freeways, etc. he plans to use to get to this destination. It wouldn't hurt to identify restaurants as well in case he gets tired of packed meals and just wants to stop for a hot meal.

Does he have a SmartPhone? Can you program these kinds of locations for him?

Personally, I think an 8 hour drive is challenging for all but the young, but sometimes expressing that concern only makes someone become defensive, so you may have to let him discover this for himself.

Another concern I would have is the possibility of edema in lower legs and/or ankles from the sitting position while driving. It would be helpful if he could take some exercise breaks to get out walk around, do ankle pumps, etc. and try to keep any edema to a minimum.

I would also have the car checked by your regular mechanic to ensure it's safe and trip worthy. Depending on the route and the destination, it wouldn't hurt to have emergency gear such as those already mentioned, plus extra warm or cool clothing, several blankets.

Even though I have my car checked before trips, I also carry oil, antifreeze, some medical supplies, etc....just to be on the safe side.

And be sure to charge his cell phone for him.

Good luck; I know you'll be nervous until you get the safe arrival call - I would be!
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If he stops frequently and gets out to walk and rests a bit before he drives on he should be okay. That's a long trip. He may be out of rehab, but his reflexes may not be a quick as they used to be. Make sure you send snacks that are easy open, no mess and filling. Send cold drinks as well.
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