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My dad thinks that the condition is just one of memory and there are no other issues related to having Alzheimer's or Dementia. He thinks he's totally in control of his behavior and actions and that to suggest that he is incapable of driving safely or doing anything else he decides to do is not true. He tells me that :"I'll know when I can't drive any more. I'll know when I will need help."

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I think it's important for you, the caregiver, to be "on the side" of your person. I don't mean that you should let them do dumb things. I mean that you should act sad that "those jerks" at the DMV say she has to stop driving. Blame the outside world.

I think it's fine to agree that Mom is "not that bad" most of the time. It is true that we all have occasional memory problems. We can know that hers are really that bad, but we don't have to remind her.

"I know you can do it, but just this once, will you let me do it? You know how I worry."

Before my husband was tested and diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer type, we discussed how he would feel if he were diagnosed. He and his therapist agreed that knowing would make him feel bad. So we don't use that word. It's memory problems or ADHD. That's not what I would want, but it's what he wants.

When they say, "What's wrong with me?" maybe answering "I don't know, but I will take care of you and keep you safe" would be reassuring.

It's tough.
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My father died 7 years ago in his early 80"s. Prior to that he made a sound judgement that his driving might not be what is should be, and he would give me the keys to drive him when he needed to go somewhere. He joked that he liked having a Chauffeur to drive him around. He did not have Dementia or Alzheimer's.

My mother is now 84 and has moderate Dementia and we got the paperwork last week that her license expires on her Birthday this year and she will need to take a written test. She can only see out of one eye and yet she said she would like to have her license renewed! We have not let her drive in years because she had vision problems in the past.

A person with Dementia or Alzheimer's never sees themselves as "having a problem" this disease lies to it's victims and allows them to believe they are fine, and when they are not, they will know it and let YOU know!

I still have to try and convince my mother that she has a memory problem even though numerous times during the day she will say, "I don't know what is wrong with me I just can't remember things anymore." When you try to tell her she has a memory problem, she is ready for a fight and will tell you where to go, and that her memory is fine and in 5 minutes she is back to telling you how bad her memory is.

They live in denial of their disease and their condition. When my Mom was diagnosed the doctor explained things to us as well as he could, but if you have this disease, you don't or won't remember the details of what he told you and if you are in the early stages, they will just blow off the news as being "hogwash."

I tell you after caring for my Mom for the past 7 years, there are times anymore when I am afraid for myself! I get the feeling it is "catchy" or that if you live in a crazy situation long enough, you will become crazy! I am serious that I do become frightened anymore by different situations. Now maybe I am in denial but I keep saying to myself that it is because I am under so much continual stress.

Honestly you can get all the books you want or have the doctor explain it over and over and you can talk until you are blue in the face and he will not believe you because he is in denial, they are all in denial.

You do need to turn him in to the DMV and have them take away his license as was mentioned here earlier. You may need to actually sell the car and have it gone from the property to keep him from driving it because he may not listen.

One thing you do need to make sure is taken care of IMMEDIATELY if it isn't already, is you need to get him to sign over his Power of Attorney to you or another sibling NOW. Tell him it is for future use, should it ever be needed. In reality you do need it now but don't tell him that. If you fail to get it NOW and his dementia worsens, he will not be able to assign it to anyone, because he is no longer competent or of sound mind. You will need this to help make medical and financial decisions for him as his condition worsens. If he has a Trust it is probably already in it. If you don't you will have to seek guardianship with is long, difficult and expensive down the road.

It is difficult and a touchy situation when you have to become the adult and begin telling your parents what they will and will not do and sticking to your guns because they will fight you on this. You are taking away their independence and they do not like it. They do not want to be told what to do! Kind of like we use to be when we were teenagers!
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I don't see the point in letting people know they have dementia. First, they are in denial, and understandably so. Then again, they might not comprehend this, or plain forget; or might not want to know. You cannot make decisions for them. I would say a reference to the poor memory which is traditionally associated with old age is sufficient.
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We just took my moms car.We had to to be responsible people.She had 3 accidents.I would not want her killing someone on my conscience.She has moderate dementia.She also got lost driving a few times.Scary but needed.
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As to the 93 year old in assisted living, what's the point of having her know her diagnosis? It wouldn't change anything about the way she lives. I would think that when and why you would discuss the diagnosis would depend on the individual and the situation.
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Well - I believe that people must know that they have been diagnosed with dementia - so they know what is happening to them. That said, if a person gets too upset or keeps insisting s/he is fine, well, I guess I would just drop the matter. As for driving, you could also file down his ignition key slightly so that it would not work when he tries to start the car. There is also a device that you can attach to the ignition that prevents it from starting but - sorry - I don't remember the details. Good luck!
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By the way, to get my mother off the streets, I told her that her license had expired and that she gave her car to my nephew like she had promised him years ago that she would. She would pout about it for awhile, but soon forgot.
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My mother always responds "you know I've always had a bad memory". The thing that hits home with her the most is when I tell her about President Reagan having what she has (Alzheimer's) and that he forgot that he was ever .President of the United States. She then gasps that she is glad that she is not "that bad" but when I ask her if she knows where dad is she tells me "no, I've been waiting for him to come get me". I then inform her that he passed away over 13 years ago and she shakes her head and responds "I guess my memory is getting real bad, how could I forget that". Long story short, at least for me is that NOTHING will ever register and I am always prepared to keep answering the same questions over and over again until dad comes to get her.
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I don't know about NY, but in IL you won't get any leeway to pass.
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You can explain it, but you will have to repeat the explanation quite often, because he will not remember. He is unlikely to know when to stop driving, but the local police should be notified that he is impaired and to keep an eye out for him. Here in NY the MD's are reluctant to report an impaired person for fear of being sued. The DMV will do nothing until he has a series of reportable accidents. If you send him for a state road test, they will give him tons of leeway to pass. Take the car in for "repairs" and keep it out of sight and out of mind, or face the reality that he may kill innocent bystanders.
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If your dad is comfortable with being in denial, I would leave it well alone. You might want to discuss the driving dilemma with his doctor. As the time goes by, he will get progressively worse, so I think it's unnecessarily for him to be aware of his diagnosis at the present time.
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This reminds me of the joke, if you give an alcoholic coffee, what do you get? A wide-awake drunk! Have you shown him his tests (EEG, CT, PET, MRI)? There will be a radiologist's/doctor's impression at the bottom of each report. Let him read it. Then if he still doesn't believe the results, notify DMV he is memory impaired and they will revoke his license based on a doctor's signed letter. You are wasting your time and breath by trying to convince a person with dementia they don't have it, until the disease progresses. Be patient, kind, and keep him safe, but you are not going to convince him at this stage anything is wrong. Isn't it enough to know that you know and you will be prepared?
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Some memory loss and confusion have physical causes. Don't assume some form of dementia until it's checked out and validated medically.

If you're sure it's dementia, let it go. Their ability to reason is going or gone. Any attempt to justify your rationale or point of view could easily provoke arguments or hostilities. The odd saying about dementia is they tend to remember their anger longer than they remember anything nice or pleasant. A neuro-psychiatrist once told me it was because anger was stored in a different part of their brain and isn't forgotton as soon as pleasurable occurrences.

We have had this conversation many times about driving. Some folks continue to believe that it is important to get their drivers license taken away. What you have to understand it is (1) they will drive anyway if they have access to a car and the keys and (2) those who are selecting the "option" to wait to have the doctor or the DMV yank their license, either simply do not understand the severity and the danger of allowing a dementia patient to drive OR hey don't want to be the one to take the driving privilege away. The truth is, only removing the keys which provide access to the car can stop the driving. If removing the keys only results in constant perturbation of the dementia patient about where the keys are, then the only choice is removing the car completely as a visual reference to actually help them forget about driving.

When you're sure its dementia, learn all you can and be as kind as you can be because nothing that is happening to them, including the way they behave, is anything they can keep from doing. Behavior modification can work somewhat in the very early stages but eventually the only answer to severe behavioral problems will be medication adjustment. The ONLY answer until they pass away.
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No matter what literature I've put in front of my mom, she snorts at it, even when she will seriously ask me many times, in tears, "What's wrong with me?" I've given up on explaining. There's the constant denial. What with the terrible memory loss, you just wear yourself out explaining anyway. She can read a newspaper with understanding at times but the attention span is also nil at times. She will tell me, "I don't think I'm THAT bad," no matter how much I explain patiently that yep, she IS that bad and that's why she just can't live alone anymore, let alone ever drive again.
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I am interested in how one breaks this news to an elder. My mother-in-law is in the same situation, except that she is blind and hasn't driven for many years. She is in an assisted living facility and she knows that her memory is bad. However, she thinks that it is just a symptom of old age (she is 93) and she feels that she is still able to make decisions for herself and that she knows what is going on around her, which, of course, she doesn't. I'm concerned that just coming out and telling her that she suffers from dementia will cause her to become overly depressed. Being blind and in an assisted living home is depressing enough for her without knowing that she has dementia. Should we tell her that she has this condition or just let it go?
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you can turn him in w/o giving your name and most states will ask him to come in for a driving test or get his dr to do it. do not let him drive if you think he will harm himself or others. if you can drive w/him somewhere safely out of traffic you will get a feel only for his ability at that time but only at that time.
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If he is diagnosed with early to moderate dementia, he is probably in denial. Okay so what, I told my mother and she forgot, I figured once was her right and no use in going into again. He knows on some level that he is "not right." I'd go with the flow and make sure he doesn't do anything to harm himself or others, but for now, I wouldn't press him, it takes time to accept things for all of us. Just misplace his car keys and see how things go, push comes to shove you'll have to get his license taken away and remove the car.
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