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Topic Driving Issues Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By karolinakitty On 2010.06.18 08:14
I know that driving or should i say not driving is a big issue with those who have PD dementia or any other types of dementia. I got my new May/June issue of Neurology Now, and there is an article in there about the new recommendations for the docs as to when to take licenses away. If you have Power point on your computer you can read the whole thing at www.aan.com/guidelines, on the right check dementia, in keywords put driving and the update list will come up with this being the first topic.
It seems they feel that folks with even mild dementia can be a danger on the road.
Now the last time my guy tested, he was mild/moderate and i trust his driving totally. He sometimes needs assistance with right or left turns or his directional meter is broke, which means north,south, east and west just don't register, but as far as being in traffic and making decisions on right lane, left lane or normal get out of that guys ways moves is fine. He also will tell me if we are going on a long drive whether he feels dizzy or out of sorts, he will not drive under those issues and has me drive. I don't think he needs to have his licnese taken away because of those few small issues. I may be wrong but i hope his doc doesn't follow this our next visit, since he gets tested every visit. I hope there will be some discussion on all our parts before considering a dramatic event like that. Yes, i believe it would be traumatic if NOW the doc takes his license because of it. I know they consider other factors like accidents, which has hasn't had one for about 35 years, so i am hoping for the best...... any thoughts?????

By Emma On 2010.06.18 09:55
Hi Karolinakitty! I don't believe that a doctor can actually take someones license away, the state does that. The state issues drivers licenses and the state revokes them. A doctor, or anyone else for that matter, can report someone that they think is a dangerous driver to the state, but the state makes the final decision. Usually after receiving a report they would require the person to take a driving test before revoking their license. If indeed your husband is driving well he would pass the test and not have to worry. Driving is such an important thing to most of us and everyone should be able to keep that independance as long as they are safe on the road. That said, you really do need to keep an eye on it. Sometimes we don't see things objectively. Other people were expressing concern to me about my husbands driving for a year before I started to see it and accept the fact that he was indeed dangerous. Up until then I kept thinking well he has a little problem with this or that but he's still OK. When I finally saw that he might be becoming a danger to himself and others his doctor and I convinced him to voluntarily take a road test through a private company that does testing for new drivers. We paid $100.00 for the test. I think it was a good thing to do but it sort of backfired because you had to have fewer than 25 "points" against you on the test to pass. He had 24. He took that as an indication that he was a great driver and after that it took quite a while to get him to quit driving. Driving to me is different than a lot of the other things we deal with because it involves the safety of other people so we have to be super vigilant about it. You might want to consider having him take a driving test like we did. If he has a good result you can show that to his doctor and that would be the end of it for now. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

By parkinit On 2010.06.18 13:47
After running off the road mutliple times, constantly swerving across the middle line, going down a dirt road ditch (and not really remembering how he got there), almost having head on collisions with cars as we swerved across the middle line, I insisted that my doctor write a script for my husband to have his license revoked.

Yes, the state is the one who revokes, but the doctor's input is a huge factor in the decision process. All of my spouse's doctors said he should not drive. We had a family intervention where he was told by many of his relatives that they feared for their lives when they rode with him. Someone followed him home stating they thought he was having a seizure because his driving was so erractic. One doctor was quite blunt in stating, "I don't want my relatives on the road with you on road as well." My spouse was mad as a red hornet, "How can he determine this just by my walking in the room?" I thought he was going to hit the doctor he was so mad.

He still stated that "I know when I am capable of driving and when I shouldn't." Uhhh, I don't think so. He no longer has his license and I drive him everywhere - a pain for both of us, but at least he and I are safer now. He has driven a few times without his license (when I wasn't home he "snuck out"). This even further confirmed that he doesn't make sound decisions. I feel confident in my decision. He still argues that I shouldn't have, but in my heart, I know it was the right thing to do.

By Lotsapies On 2010.06.18 20:44
I am facing this now. My husband is having seizures along with his PD symptoms that totally incapacitate him and he remembers nothing that happens before, during or right after they happen. He can barely walk after these happen (at least once a day) He is on so many medications (hopefully its the meds) and is not always in his right mind. Monday he was told by our neuro that she is will be filing with DMV to suspend his license temporarily. He has not received the suspend letter from DMV yet so he is still venturing out on the road. We are having major fights about this but he will not listen to reason. Not sure what to do.

By parkinit On 2010.06.19 09:36
Just some thoughts. I've called the police on my husband when he has left the house and is obviously "not sound of mind." I've also refused to ride with him. I took my own car at times when he insisted on driving. It got to a point where I was saying, "Even if you don't care for me enough not to drive, I care for me enough. You will not be driving me anywhere anymore." This was empowering me to say this and the more I said it, the more I believed, "My life is worth me standing up for this" - not to mention the other people out on the road.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.06.19 13:16
parkinit, did this or has this worked? Has he stopped driving? Lots, I know here in Massachusetts anyone who has seizures is prohibited from driving. Also if seizures are brought under control the person has to remain seizure free for one whole year before they can once again regain the privilege to drive.

This is where many people have the misconception it is their right to drive. It's not. When perception, coordination and reaction time slows or are hampered one does not have the right to propel thousands of pounds metal at high speeds in the midst of other people. Another thing to look at in a situation of accidents is, "I won't cause an accident". Ok maybe not but could you avoid becoming involved in one occurring around you? Can you with slowed reaction time stop the car if some in front of you stomps on the brakes and stops suddenly? I know it's hard giving up the privilege of driving. I stopped several years ago myself (drove me nuts too), in fact I gave my car away to my sister so I wasn't tempted to just go for a ride.

I'll tell you why I quit driving. It was late summer time when the schools opened back up. I was driving down the street. I wasn't tailgating, never did. I saw a child coming out from between to parked cars. The car in front of me slammed on their brakes as did I. I almost smashed into that car ahead of me even though I saw the child and hit my brakes with as much warning or more than the driver ahead of me had. I knew I should have stopped with almost as much room between us as I had when driving. It scared me, what scared me most was not fender bending but I could have actually hurt or done worse to someone innocently going about their business. For those driving around now with impaired skills I ask how will you feel putting a loved one in the ground? How will you feel putting a close friend or neighbors child, spouse or grandchild in their grave? I asked how WILL you feel because there is a time with Parkinson's Disease that it is time to quit driving. I know how I would feel and that's why I quit driving. With all the other effects we suffer from this disease,We also become an accident that will happen! It's not a case of it won't happen to me unless you preempt it by realizing it is not a right to drive and endanger anyone. I don't know if this will help anyone to look at this privilege and say no thanks. Not one of us here would sit down at our grandchild's tea party pull out a gun and say let's play Russian roulette! So what are you doing getting behind the wheel and turning that key! It's like spinning the cylinder and hoping the chamber is empty! One of these times it won't be! Can you live with that? Think about it my friends, when the time comes (you may not realize it's time but when friends and loved ones start to tell you it's time then it is time.) drop the keys and walk away please don't pick them back up. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By susger8 On 2010.06.19 13:55
This is a very tough issue. I was aware that my dad was having some trouble driving -- he agreed that he shouldn't drive after dark any more. And he stuck to short distances and back roads. But then I started going with him to doctor appointments, and if he drove, I would check him out. He seemed to be doing okay with the mechanics of driving, but he would forget where he was going.

Then on Halloween night, I got a call from the police that he had run into a curb. I went to rescue him, and I found that 1) obviously, he was driving at night when he knew that was a bad idea; 2) the oncoming car headlights dazzled him so he couldn't see the road, and 3) he was lost. On top of this, it was Halloween and what if he hit some children?

He was very resistant to the idea of giving up driving and insisted that he was fine to drive. I'm not sure how I would have handled it, but as it happened, he had a fall and broke some ribs, and was in the rehab center when his license expired. He kept saying he would go to Motor Vehicles and get it back, but of course, he had no way to get there, and I think one look at him and they would have denied him a new license.

Now, my sister's father-in-law was found to have moderate Alzheimer's and had to stop driving. We had to literally steal his car when he was out with a neighbor. He was hopping mad, and I was really glad he didn't have a gun. Every day for months and months, he called his son and screamed at him over the car. Imagine what it must be like when you have memory impairment and have to experience a negative event over and over each day.

I know there are many other folks out on nearby roads who shouldn't be driving...makes me a bit nervous sometimes.

Sue

By parkinit On 2010.06.19 21:13
Al - Yes, my husband has stopped driving. He has a buddy he calls when we have a conflict with me being available to drive him places. I have equipped him with a taxi number also, so if he should ever need a ride, there is no excuse, he could call a taxi if I'm not available.

I just spoke with someone else who had this situation and he said his mother asked him to take the car. He told his dad he had car trouble and needed a car to drive while his was being fixed. He said he just plans on not returning it at his mother's request. I guess if there are memory issues as well, this could work.

I just had an elderly lady swerve over in my lane this evening. Yes, there are lots of people out there who shouldn't be driving.

By susger8 On 2010.06.21 13:22
Parkinit, that's one thing good about memory issues. Now that my dad's memory issues are worse, I don't argue with him about not driving. I just tell him he wasn't driving enough to keep the battery charged up, and I took the car over to my house so it would get driven more. Which is true. I tell him to let me know when he needs it and I'll bring it over -- but he never asks for it any more. He just wants to know that his car is safe somewhere.

Sue

By karolinakitty On 2010.06.22 07:03
Thanx for everyones input ..... i'll have to re-evaluate my thoughts on this......

By sfmproductions On 2010.07.01 23:41
Hi,

I have recently gone through this dilemma with my Father, he has mild dementia, but worried me driving.
I found out through a Dr. that a rehabilitation center in my area offered driving evaluation for people suffering from anything that could warrant it. It is easier to have a A licensed occupational therapist inform the patient whether they are qualified to drive. Here is a link to where I went ( I would imagine this available elsewhere)http://www.burke.org/page.cfm?p=29


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