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The sudden disallowed driving isn't helping! On a related, yet separate note, it's been extremely challenging disallowing my dad to drive! His life and especially his company has depended on practically 100% driving. He's always been a lover and owner of several cars, from youth. He's always currently had up to a half dozen, active, insured cars for use by him and the family. We lessened the blow by constantly taking him with us or where he wants to go as much as humanly possible, which is significant, as everyone has major flexible schedules. But I fear this "cruel/unfair punishment" (his conclusion) is sometimes going to break him since he still feels he's capable of driving and actually is frequently alert to drive, have conversations and do many things. How else can we handle this? I feel the excessive sleeping, is his acceptance of defeat and feeling imprisoned, coupled with a lot of unexplained dizziness, which is prob severe dehydration, yet, we cannot get him to drink much. I'm so eager to make his life better during these beginning stages. I fear we're rushing him to advanced dementia stages by not understanding his needs.

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The most important thing in the beginning stages is to become knowledgeable. I checked out a few books in my local library and did some homework on what to expect.

It may be way too early to take his license; one family I knew simply avoided the issue because they had a mechanic to make the cars "stop working." but he doesn't seem to need such a drastic measure.

A dose of reasonable ideas all around at this point may score well with both of you. I wouldn't want my license taken from me, so getting this type of news puts a lot of stress on him. He loves cars after all, and the suggestion of the loss of his license can't be a good feeling to him.

I'd definitely find all sorts of alternative transportation options around where he lives so he can have his life, and see if he wants to go and get involved with other activities he'd like.

What we did stress to my parent is not that fact that we want to take their license, but their change in health (the dizziness, etc) may not make him a good candidate to be behind the wheel. Appeal to his reasonableness, not his competency, because he seems competent enough.

With that said, I know that in my area, elderly ones can volunteer and hone their passions, since he loves cars, maybe there are car shows where he can work as a volunteer and an enthusiast. It couldn't hurt to check where he can turn his passion into a get out of jail free card for himself.

Besides, outside of being too early to take his license, he seems to be a reasonable man. Ask him does he really wish to be on the receiving end of a call that he got behind the wheel and injured himself or someone else - and now it's a legal issue over a dignity issue? If he's getting dizzy, it may be dehydration, it may be his health. Either way, until that's under control, I would mention to him that it's best that he not drive until that portion of his health is under control.

Once it is, I'd take a step back and watch him though. Sometimes as caregivers we rush in to fix instead of observing what really needs to be done. Watching their daily habits helps, so we can really help over "taking over." We don't like to think of ourselves as taking over, but if someone came in and rearranged your life on a moment's notice, you'd be disoriented too.
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I agree with Eyerishlass. Some Seniors will voluntarily give up their driving privileges without argument while others will hang on determinedly and make things miserable for everyone. My husband’s livelihood depended on transportation and when he had to give up driving, I know it depressed and emasculated him. when you feel he has accepted this, maybe you could take him to a “Car Cruise”. Ask him if he’d like to go. If he’s agreeable, take him out to lunch. If he has friends, ask him if he’d like to get together with them. You cannot, in any way, rush him through the stages of dementia. This is a nasty and cold-hearted condition that progresses on its own. Nothing you do can slow it down, or speed it up. Love your dad, and yourself unconditionally. Sending hugs!
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When my LO was first diagnosed with dementia, she liked to sleep a lot and seemed very lethargic. She improved greatly with her alertness when she was prescribed medication for her anxiety and depression. It was amazing how much better she felt. I've read that depression is quite common in people who suffer with dementia. Once she went on the mediation, she was ready to get up in the morning, was more talkative, went to meals, appetite returned and she was a different person, though her dementia continued to progress. I'd discuss it with his doctor to see what might be possible.
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It's a blow to our elderly parents when they reach a point where they can no longer drive and I believe it can be symbolic to them of where they're at in life. I went through the exact same thing with my own father who began sleeping more after he was advised by his cardiologist not to drive, And I felt guilty and I wondered if it was the right thing and I too was so eager to do anything to make up for the fact that my dad was old and sick.

You're not rushing your dad to advanced dementia. You don't have that kind of power. And you do understand his needs. You understand that it's not safe for your dad to drive anymore. You understand that your dad's excessive sleeping may be due to a sudden onset of depression due to his inability to drive anymore however it can also be a symptom of dehydration.

The way you handle it is how you're already handling it. By treating your dad with respect and understanding how difficult it is for him to know he can no longer jump behind the wheel of his car and take off on his own. You're doing all the right things but being a caregiver isn't easy and it can break your heart. My heart broke a thousand times while I cared for my dad.

You're not going to make your dad worse. You love him and are concerned about him and you want what's best for him. You are not rushing him to advanced dementia. I recommend that you read "The 36-Hour Day". It's kind of the bible for dementia. Educate yourself on dementia so you can be reassured that you're not doing anything detrimental to your dad.

You love your dad very much. That's all you need to care for him. You're not going to be the perfect caregiver. Sometimes it would take me a day or two to catch up to my dad's new symptoms and I spent a lot of time berating myself but I look back now and realize that I did a good job in caring for him. He was loved and respected, he was fed and clean, he had clean clothes and a family around him who loved him very much and a daughter who made sure he made all of his doctor appointments and who further ensured he made all of his procedure appointments. I took good care of my dad. It wasn't perfect care because I'm not a perfect person but I gave it all I had and that was enough.
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It's possible you jumped the gun on the driving but I doubt it. If his driving was putting him and the public in danger don't back off on this. You don't want to go through it again.

 It's tough. Dementia forces major changes in people's routines. The big three for men: Driving, moving to a facility, and getting rid of guns.

In these areas we can't cater to the dementia: OH DAD WILL BE SO MAD!


Otherwise it seems you are doing the right stuff trying to help him adjust.  It may take him a long time to adjust to these new realities.
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