Follow
Share

My husband had to go through an evaluation for driving skills. He figured it would be easy peasy as he has driven one sort of thing or another since he was a kid.


They went over doing tasks and he is not able to correctly complete a 3 step task.


They tested his reaction times with a fake gas pedal and a brake. His reaction times were just under the low passing.


His peripheral reactions were markedly slow on the right side but pretty good, he passed that.


The recommendations will be for him to be able to drive very locally in our rural area, only during daytime hours.


He was okay with that as he rarely drives now anyway.


~~~~~~~~


Yesterday my MIL went to court for her Guardianship hearing. She is 87 with moderate dementia and she insists on driving but we have her vehicle at the farm.


She will be scheduled by her Guardian to have a Driver's Evaluation. She is very unhappy with that decision and told me she can drive just fine.


Sadly, I don't believe she can even make the walk out to where her car would be in her parking lot!


So it should be interesting to see what her test will be like compared to my husband's test.


The driving eval took about 90 minutes. They test thinking skills, reaction times, and a short visual screening.


I strongly encourage anyone who thinks someone should not drive to have one of these tests if you can convince them to!

In Texas, if you pass the eye exam they’ll renew you license for 2 more years. But before I knew this, I asked dad if they tested him before renewing his license and he said yes AND that he’d passed. He didn’t want me to know that he was not required to retake an actual driving test. At 87 dad was still riding his Honda 600 and driving his van. Obviously dad was in excellent shape for his age. I had also riden with him and he did well until his early 90’s. He only drove to church, grocery store, and my house every evening for dinner. Then I started noticing scratches and dents on his van and he told me they’d been there for some time and I just never noticed. Well my sweet dad was being less than honest. Yes taking away his freedom felt like betrayal and certainly one of the most difficult things I had ever done up to that point. It was the first of many freedoms that I would be tasked with relinquishing. During a trip to visit my son and family I received a call from his in home caregiver. This day, dad refused to let his caregiver drive. In a parking lot, he hit an oncoming car and a parked car at the same time. We had a frank discussion when we returned and after 2 hours of asking him to give me his keys, I literally had to reach into his pocket and take the keys from him. It was awful. He denied the caregiver’s accounting of the accident wherein he left the scene without leaving a note on the parked vehicle or exchanging information with the other driver. Once I had the remote and his keys and was ready to leave, he proudly announced that he had a spare set of keys. Having no more patience my husband and I took the battery from the vehicle and went home. A few days later we drove the van to our house where it remained until we sold it. For about 60 days I had to endure countless phone calls requesting the return of his vehicle and he made many calls to my sibling complaining about me. It also meant I was now responsible for running his errands... no good deed goes unpunished. As much as I despise government regulations, each and every state would be doing everyone a great service if at age 80 they required the same test we put our teenagers through before licensure. But until this happens we have to be the “bad guys”. But I looked at it as saving lives and avoiding a potential law suit. Later that same year, upon moving to an AL facility, he would introduce me as, “the one who took his van and sold his house”. Yes indeed, I no longer had my birth name and received nasty looks from dad’s new friends. Oh well. If your state doesn’t test the elderly, do yourself and everyone else on the road a favor and get your aging, elderly loved one off the road.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to jellybean18095
Report
Harpcat Aug 13, 2018
I am proud of you!! No telling whose life you may have saved. I too often say no good deed goes unpunished. It’s like a mantra!
(8)
Report
See 1 more reply
God bless family members who have sense enough to protect their loved ones, and the lives of others by stepping in to prevent tragedy by motor vehicles!
my dear dad, age 80 with dementia, simply refused to give up driving. His brave doctor in NY suspended his license but he continued to hop in the car and lie about driving. We recently moved him to be closer to family out-of-state, and lo and behold, he’s applying for a new license, lying on the form where it asks “is your license suspended in another state.” He thinks no one will find out. The form is long and he can’t fill it out correctly, and as his daughter, I cannot in good faith allow him to get behind the wheel.
This is an ongoing saga, and I understand he needs to feel independent, but my advice- please look out for the safety of others. A car is like a loaded gun... capable of destruction when put into the wrong hands!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Dadsakid
Report
LTNY71 Dec 4, 2018
Stop him, and don't feel bad for a second. Forget "dignity and independence" when they knowingly and willingly put everyone else at risk because of their own delusions and stubbornness. The dangers are very real. My family and the public at large dodged a bullet when my Dad with Alzheimer's "stole" his own car and disappeared for close to 2 days, and did not have an accident and kill anyone else or himself. We had taken the keys and hidden them before that, but he found another fob. I am forever grateful for our good outcome, and say a prayer every time I see any alert on the highway, silver or otherwise. After we survived that crisis, I sold the car. Even though Dad, if he thinks of the car at all, accuses me of getting it stolen, or stealing the money from the sale, or my cousin taking it away for himself (we live with Dad and cousin drives a similar car) I have learned not to care about that. The peace of mind from selling the car is priceless.
(1)
Report
Great post with lots of good information! As long as a person whose driving skills are believed to be impaired will go along with having these tests, it’s all good. However, what worries me is that someone with or without dementia would be stubborn enough to believe they don’t need to be tested and just hop in the car and go. That’s why I think it’s still a good idea to actually disable the car. Thanks for yiur post. Very interesting!
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report
Val3rie Aug 9, 2018
We removed her vehicle in March. She didn't believe 3 doctors that said she shouldn't drive. So until she tests, the car stays here. My husband would have disabled it as another choice, but the apartment manager didn't want a car sitting in the lot for months!
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
In Virginina you can fill out a DMV form that triggers a driver investigation--family members or doctors can remain confidential. I reported my 91 year old mother because she's had strokes and dementia, can no longer follow conversations or news stories, gets stuck on most websites and gets lost when driving on unfamiliar roads. She'd lock me out of her life if I tried to talk about her driving with her. She's had at least two speeding tickets within a month on local streets and is terrifying on freeways, driving between 65 and 92 mph in 55 mph zones. Once I sent the report, someone from the DMV called me to discuss it and at the end of the conversation said that my mother would be getting a letter requiring her to get a medical check up as well as written and driving tests. I thought about it for a long time before sending the letter but finally did mail it because she came within a hair of smashing me into a concrete highway divider at 92 mph on a long trip. Of course I don't want her to hurt anyone so it seemed time to ask the DMV to take an official look. The whole thing is still in process.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Davina
Report
Toadhall Aug 13, 2018
I thank God you are still alive! You did the right thing. It took a lot of courage to do it. I hope the DMV sets her straight. VA is better than PA.
(1)
Report
You're right, there's no question at all- as painful as it may be, as many fights as it may cause, there comes a time when you have to step in and "be the grownup" when someone is in complete and utter denial about their driving ability or lack thereof. Add dementia to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. I don't even see the need to bother with the DMV and evals, etc. As many other posters have mentioned, and my Dad's own neurologist said, and I quote, "Disable the car or sell it, then lie. Period."
You should've heard the language (from a man who once abhorred foul language) when Dad was told the first time by the Dr he really couldn't drive anymore. It didn't matter that he had no idea what to do at a gas station, couldn't even back the car out of the garage or pull it in without hitting the doorframe, or that the mystery scratches kept appearing- No amount of talking to him about it worked; he just turned around and accused me or my cousin of damaging his car. Of course we seldom, if ever, drove it, but in his world, he's the best driver there is, and it just isn't possible that he would do something like that, and "I know what I'm doing! YOU are screwed up in the head."
As you good folks know- with dementia, no amount of reasoning, logic, threats, showing them the damage they caused, etc, works, and even if:
Your state does have an elder evaluation, or
The Doc writes a "prescription" for you to post on the fridge telling them they can't drive anymore (that will just get ripped up and thrown away, anyway}, or if
You know police officers personally and have them come to your house and TELL the person they can't drive anymore (!)...

It's all for naught, as they just won't and can't remember that ANY of that even happened in the first place, and they think it's all just lies anyway. So we hid the keys, and came up with all kinds of excuses, and that was fine, until...

Let me just warn you that you had better make sure you know about any and all sets of spare keys/fobs there might be kicking around! Just disable the car or get rid of it!! I thought there were only 2 sets of keys, and they were well hidden and stayed hidden. One day, (before he had declined further and needed all day aides) while I was away and my cousin (we live with Dad) was upstairs, Dad found another fob that we didn't even know about that got him in the car, and since it had push-button start, that was all he needed to take off and GO. Dad disappeared, and was gone for almost 48 hours. I cannot even begin to describe to you all how it felt to drive around sobbing, looking DESPERATELY for someone for hours on end, and to drive under the highway information sign with the silver alert for your own missing parent. I wanted to die, and I aged at least 25 years in the span between finding him missing, and the police finding him in New Hope, Pa on the side of the road, cold, out of gas, hungry, and completely off the rails (It's truly amazing what 2 days without the exelon patch will do to someone that has been using it consistently- He was hallucinating and lost the ablilty to even form sentences on the way back home. Back to an even keel just 1 day back on!)
Of course, he had to have a hybrid vehicle that gets GREAT gas mileage, making it take as long as possible (and take him as far away as possible) to run out of gas. We're from Long Island. Thank God the tank wasn't full. God only knows how very grateful we are that he wasn't in an accident. I and my family owe the good police who found him and took him to the station, fed him and kept him company my heart and sanity. We also owe God and the angel that must've accompanied him. Now I'm crying as I type this to you and I REPEAT-
Forget the DMV. Forget the Doctor, police, anybody telling them anything. For God's sake, forget "How would YOU feel, losing your independence, dignity, blahblahblah." STOP THEM AT ANY COST, before very, very bad things (that can and will) happen.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to LTNY71
Report
Davina Dec 4, 2018
Wow. Glad that turned out okay.

I reported my mom to the DMV because she almost ran us into the cement divider on the Pennsylvania Turnpike going 92 mph. Leading up to that it was clear that it was time to stop driving. The DMV immediately ordered a visual field exam and it showed her to be 5/8 blind from glaucoma. Her license was revoked in July 2018. She threw away all the ride information I gave her and kept driving. My sister took the car keys from her last month, though this is not legal unless you are on the registration. But Mom quickly had another set made by a special locksmith for $340. Recently she drove my brother the wrong way down a one-way street. All the while she's claiming that her driving and eyesight are fine and that she's being picked on for her age. After this information circulated in our family my nephew bought her car and today is her first day without one. It is sad but the most important thing is that they be stopped before they kill or hurt anyone. There are many news stories on the internet of folks who were told not to drive for medical reasons but did anyway, hurt or killed someone and go to prison.
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
The Guardian is her guardian because a judge felt she can no longer make informed decisions. So, the guardian has the power to take her license and keys.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

I wish we had done this with my mother in law. She is angry because her daughter took her car away several years ago. She's 96 and nearly blind. She had lost driving privileges while being treated for seizures and was ok with that. She bullied my husband to take her to the DMV and reapply. He did, never imaging that she would get her license back. She did. Her daughter had to step in. Now she stays mad at the daughter and my husband feels bad about his part in this.
My mom lives a few hours away and had hers revoked by the state after they receiving a letter from a local policeman (bless that man). She had to take the written and driving test and could not pass (several times). We are in Texas.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to DafnaS
Report

I understand that sometimes physical and mental issues make driving impossible. However, BEFORE you take the privilege of driving a car away from someone, YOU MUST BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN YOU CAN PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE MEANS TO THEM FOR ACCOMPLISHING WHAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO DO IF THEY WERE DRIVING. If you don't do this, it is cruel and sadistic to the ex-driver and many problems will come up. Don't take something away, even with a very valid reason, unless you replace it with a suitable alternative - and keep your word.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Lockett2166
Report
Val3rie Aug 14, 2018
Well in answer to your shouts, think of this. If a person cannot drive safely do you allow them to keep driving even if regular transportation is not easy to schedule?
I absolutely won't let my MIL drive as she has had speeding tickets and accidents and I couldn't live with myself if I gave her the car back and she killed someone.
(11)
Report
See 7 more replies
Thank you for posting this.
I believe the DMV needs to offer a nationwide marketing blast (from billboards to mailers) informing everyone that these tests are not only available, they are essential to the safety of all concerned - the driver, other drivers on the road - all pedestriains walking or near a car (people/kids on bikes, motorcycles). One of the most difficult aspects of an elder or anyone with dementia losing independence is their losing their ability to drive and their insistence (and fight) that they can drive okay. If necessary unplug or take out the part in the car that won't allow a person to drive. I've known elders (clients) who call the police (on their own adult children) complaining of their car not starting or a loved one took their keys away - or they hide the extra set of keys. Many elders will fight 'til the end' to continue to drive - putting themselves and everyone else at risk. Gena
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to TouchMatters
Report

You have 3 doctors saying she can't drive. Have one report her to DMV. The state will request her to send them her license. No need for a test.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
Val3rie Aug 9, 2018
The Guardian Ad litem asked for an evaluation and the judge agreed to it, so the court actually made the decision.
(0)
Report
See All Answers
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter