What should kids do if Mom stops us from preventing Dad to drive?

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He has dementia & early alzheimers, has had 1 wreck? Our hands are tied. She is denying that he has either & telling people I made it all up. Won't get trust, DPA & other documents made up. Won't let us have access to medical records. She encourages him to drive, use dangerous saws & other power tools & he has been injured several times over the last 2 years. We are worried sick for his safety & that of other innocent people.

Answers 1 to 10 of 38
Even young people have traffic wrecks.... how does Dad drive, is Mom afraid to ride with him? Are you afraid to ride with him? What type of wreck did he have? Was it near by their home or was he out on a major highway? A lot depends on location. If your parents in downtown LA get him off the road... if your parents live in Mayberry, that's a bit safer for him to travel. Cutting off driving is a HUGE thing in an elder's life, it's cutting off their independence.

You are right, your parents need to get Wills, Power of Attorney, and other legal documents. One way I got my Dad to update old documents was to tell him that with the changes in the State law, if his or Mom's Wills aren't written correctly the State could take half of their estate [it was a fib, but sometimes we do what we got to do]. Boy, my Dad's ears perked up and in we went to an Elder Law attorney.

Guys that use power tools will get hurt numerous times no matter what their age. Not much you can do about that. So unless he is cutting down huge trees, just turn a blind eye and hope for the best. Buy him safety gloves, steel toe shoes, and eye gear to wear.

Hopefully your Mom has access [HIPPA permission] to your father's medical forms. She can tell you whatever information she thinks you need to know.
Jan, stubborn, independent parents! Sometimes a tragedy has to happen for tyem to overcome their denial. Do you know who dad's doc is? You can call and give the doc all the information on your concerns. It does not take a HIPPA release for that. Often times docs will write a letter to motor vehicle who will then suspend a driver's license. Realize the doc more than likely will not give you information, but they make mistakes and slip sometimes.
Top Answer
You're kind of in a bind if your mother isn't acknowledging the risks.

1. But, first, as to the accident. Was it actually his fault? Was anyone injured, and to the best of your knowledge did the responding police officer discuss termination of driving with your father?

If you know the jurisdiction, you could contact the PD, ask for the records department and get a copy of the police report. If it reflects that your father caused the accident, you can anonymously contact the state department that handles driver licensing and ask for a review of your father's driving capability. If it's determined that his ability is compromised, they can suspend his license.

There's another less painful or humiliating way that isn't as public. Do you know who his insurance carrier is? If so, you could contact them and ask if they can intervene, again, depending on whether the police report indicated your father was at fault. If his insurance carrier believes his driving is a risk, they'll step in and resolve the issue of his continued driving.

2. Your mother's refusal to address estate planning is certainly a concern. I like FF's "therapeutic fib", as Babalou, another insightful poster, describes it. If your parents aren't up to date on legal issues, use a therapeutic fib and follow FF's suggestions. Thinking that they'll lose part of their estate to government might be the motivation.

But do it casually and don't discuss estate planning for awhile so your mother doesn't suspect.

Another option is to have your own estate plan prepared, discuss some aspects of the process with your siblings in front of your parents, and emphasize that everyone needs a plan, regardless of age.

You might even want to use another therapeutic fib. Concoct a compelling story of someone who was injured in an accident (maybe hit by a car, something that doesn't make your parents suspect you're thinking of their own driving) and suffered brain injuries to the point that he/she was unable to manage his/her affairs, had no estate plan, and was unable to establish how he/she wanted his heirs to handle his estate. You'll probably know best what could "therapeutically" make your parents anxious on this issue.

3. Unfortunately, power tools are something that are more difficult to deal with not so much because of their power to injure but because they're links to something a man (or woman) has done in the past, whether it's work related, pastime, pleasure or hobby.

It can be the link to what made your father happy, proud, and what drove him to engage in the activities he did, especially if he used them in his profession or a lot for hobbies and pleasurable pastimes.

Sever that link and you also sever a great deal of what self esteem he has. Couple that with (if it happens), being denied the right to drive, you have the grounds for some major depression and loss of self esteem.

What you might do is ask him when he's planning to use power tools and be with him, ostensibly to learn how to use them (if you don't already). Tell him you'd like to learn, that he can be the teacher and you the student. Then as he shows you, ask if you can do the work for him, again as the student, to practice your techniques. And gradually take over using the tools, allowing him to guide you.

If you already know how to use power tools, perhaps you could just ask him when he plans to use them as you'd like to work side by side with him, just to be together.

4. Medical issues. No good suggestions except to volunteer to take your parents to their doctor appointments if/once your father stops driving, but make it a social occasion as well. Stop at a restaurant afterward, go to a park, or someplace they enjoy so it doesn't appear as though you're going just to learn what the doctors have to say.

I'm assuming though that you have some free time to do that.

Glad also makes a good suggestion about contacting their doctor(s) just to express your concerns, especially on issues such as driving. But make it clear that your concerns are confidential. Once a doctor blurted out something I had raised privately and I was really embarrassed.
I would first evaluate just what proof you have to show he's a danger. Get the accident reports to see if it was his poor driving. If so, I would report anonymously to the DMV so they can give a review. AND I might also report to his doctor. Innocent lives are at stake. Is he repeating himself, forgetting events, getting lost, not bathing, not paying bills, etc.

Sometimes you have to be assertive. I would not let this one go on even one more day without serious inquirey. If your dad really does have dementia that is impairing his ability to drive and operate dangerous machinery, then his brain is keeping him from realizing this risk. And if it's true, and your mom is refusing to protect him, then I would question her mental state too. Is she okay? You have to question whether is is worth doing nothing, if he ends up with a missing limb.

I don't know that I would report to the insurance company, because if they cancel his coverage and he and mom are too unstable to get new coverage, he could keep driving and wreck without coverage. That would really concern me.

If you discover that it's as you expect, I would see an attorney about filing for guardianship. If mom is not using proper judgment, she would not be a proper guardian. It involves a lot to go that route, but you will get the court involved and they can compel the medical records and a mental evaluation. It can make family members pretty angry, but I sometimes you have no other option. I would have a very sit down with them, before you do it though.

It;s a shame they won't cooperate with protecting their own interests. That sounds rather curious to me.
My mother complained about my dads driving as things got worse,, but never did anything about it but TALK about it. He, of course, thought he was driving fine. It was not until she was in the hospital and I took him the pschy apt and found out how bad he really was that we put a stop to it. It is not easy.
Yes Dad has been diagnosed with vascular dementia & early stages alzheimers & the neurologist said No driving under any circumstances because his brain is not functioning correctly. His wreck was his fault & there was a minor injury, His injuries with power tools were a result of him not being able to make sound decisions any longer. Mom encourages him to use a chainsaw to cut wood, but he halfway cut his arm off with a circular saw trying to trim his crepe myrtle bushes. I had told him to leave them until I had time & I would trim them. I am not strong enough to feel safe trying to use a chainsaw. His judgement about many things is not normal & anyone talking & questioning Dad can tell. He has major trouble just talking, he has got lost while driving in areas he grew up in. Dad couldn't even tell the neurologist all of his kids names or even what year it is. He knows he is having major trouble, but my Mom just can't seem to accept it. She argued with the doctor who really got on to her & told her to keep him out of a vehicle. But I will do all I can to try to keep him safe. It may take me months to stop it, but I will do my best. Hopefully it won't take a terrible trajedy to prove to her. I am beggining to keep a log of every incident that happens in case we have to take legal action to prove that she is not trying to ensure his wellbeing in all this. I don't want to do that, but I may not have a choice at some point. Thanks for everyones thoughts. I guess it is never easy for any of us.
You have filled in the details very well. I'm dealing with a similar situation with my dad, not this bad yet but it's comming.

Mom has to be overruled. Is it possible she has developed some dementia? Her judgement is very poor. Given your description of his condition the driving and the use of power tools has to end. No debate. But keep in mind, if dads off the road someone has to fill in for groceries, drug store, doc etc. it ain't easy.

Search this site for discussions and articles on seniors and driving. Getting the keys away is tough. Read up. It sounds to me that in your case some confrontation is unavoidable. Try sweet talk, reasoning, trickery but failing all that take action. Get ALL the keys, and hid or disable the car. Get rid of or disable the power tools. (The incident of trimming bushes with a circular saw is particularly troubling). I've gone through some of this with my dad. Somehow his chainsaw quit working and next will be the lawn tractor and then probably the car. I am fully prepared to do battle with him before he kills himself or someone else. Your time is right now and mine's a comin.....

Using a circular saw to trim bushes is really overkill and does reflect an inability to choose the appropriate tool for the job. I'd agree now that the power tools need to be hidden away some place, or sold or otherwise disposed of.

You said he "halfway cut his arm off..." was this a near accident or an accident? I'd really hate to think that he was injured by a circular saw; those things are treacherous.

You face some tough action, but remember that what you're contemplating and plan to do is for his good, even if your mother becomes upset with you. It sounds like she just doesn't want to accept the truth. And I'm sure that's just as difficult for her as it is for him.

Perhaps you or one of the siblings could tell your father you need to use some of his power tools and pretend to borrow them but never return them.
I think the duty of the child of a person who should not drive is to consider the safety of others. While my mom sure wanted to keep driving, it was not OK to risk her killing someone's child in a car accident. It was not hard to do, just hard to have the moral strength to do. I logged on to the state DMV website and searched taking driver's license away. I also found the guidelines they use as limitations which make driving dangerous. I composed a letter to the DMV saying what the reasons were that she should not drive any more. They don't take the DL away with that, and they keep the letter-writer anonymous, but they schedule a behind the wheel test and if she doesn't show up, she loses the license and has to take the whole test (including written) all over. She just didn't go, saying she could take it later. She had been in the hospital with a small stroke, so we blamed it on the fact that she had a stroke that they would want to test her. But there were enough physical and judgment reasons for her to stop driving. We had her take a private driving eval a year earlier and she barely passed, but that helped us wait longer and feel OK about it. Those are available in most cities through private businesses or through larger rehab centers.
Kathy1951, yes a child's duty is to keep them & others safe, but I conferred with an attorney & here in Oklahoma, we don't have the legal right to do anything at this point. We can't get proof from the doctor without one of the parents allowing it (& they won't), we cannot take the vehicles away or Mom will call the police & report we have stollen them, if we disable them they will call the garage & have them fixed, so it is not a question of our not being willing to do anything about it. We are searching for some way to do it legally & that won't cause one of us to wind up in jail doing. We are keeping detailed records of all incidents & dates, what doctor has said & so on so we maybe could prove (if we have to at some point) that she knew all along that he is having safety issues but refused to act in his & others best interests. We do care, but it is almost impossible to prove these things without doctors records, which she won't allow us near. We are trying to find away to finagle & trick Dad into letting one of us get them. We are trying best we know how.

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