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

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.10 12:46
This week my husband is taking an assessment at a hospital called Drive Able.
His family doctor had concerns with his driving and now his license is suspended, however, if he passes the assessment he'll be able to get it back.
The first part is a 2 hours clinical assessment done with a therapist on a computer to check his reflexes and memory. He doesn't have to have computer skills as it's mostly pointing or pressing a button. Also there are driving situations on a video with question about it. If he passes that part then they take him for a driving test to see if he is able to drive okay It isn't done through the ministry of transportation, so it's as stringent. Only problem is they don't use his car, but a car with a passenger brake and he also hasn't driven for 4 months so it will be rather stressful to begin with and a around a city he doesn't live in.
The Motion Disorder Specialist had no concerns with his driving ability but it is up to the individual doctor if he has concerns, so the specialist couldn't do anything to help us.
The program also cost $550 and isn't covered by insurance but if he passes, then it's worth it, but he wants to try
He will be devastated if he doesn't pass, but I guess if he it's better that we know. He's always been an excellent driver and even after retiring he drove a semi for 6 years. It's just his memory that I am worried about, as it isn't the same.
Wish us luck and hopefully things go well for him.

By jcoff012 On 2013.11.10 19:02
Good luck...it is a scary time when someone we love faces the loss of driving privileges. We went through this with my Mom, but hers was an aging problem *she will be 94 in two weeks!

I wish him well, but know that if he isn't able to drive, it IS ok...it took my Mom about six months to get used to being less mobile, but now she actually enjoys being escorted to her appointments, to the grocery, etc...

Hugs, Jane

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.10 19:17
Well I can understand if you are 94 years old, but he is only 65. I've been driving him around too, but he'll loose his independence. Maybe I am worrying for nothing, but I know it will be a stressful time for him. I'll be glad when it's over and I hope his is okay.
I know he can drive but as I said, it's the memory part that worries me.
We need lots of prayer.

By jcoff012 On 2013.11.10 20:16
I hope you don't think I was making light of this, I truly wasn't...I was the Activity Director in an assisted living, so I KNOW that the loss of driving is THE worst past of getting older...it tops even being ill...it is the lack of freedom, the sense of impending change, and, let's face it...it means we are no longer CAPABLE of a daily task. Hang in there...you are definitely on all of our minds. Jane

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.11.10 23:56
I'm only 61 and gave up driving over 10 years ago. I wasn't told I had to but after stopping closer to cars ahead one too many times I didn't want to end up killing someone or hurting them either. To me it is selfish to insist on driving putting other people and children at risk. Around the time I stopped driving a guy in our support group (around the same age) T boned a carful of people when he didn't stop in time. Luckly no one was hurt but just saying.......is this illusion of independence worth the life of one's spouse, child or grandchild or anyone else's?

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.11 07:25
You are right. That is my worry. Thanks for your comment.

By carman96 On 2013.11.11 23:32
My husband lost his license over a year ago. He had an interview with a safety specialist at the department of motor vehicles and they let him take the written test and he failed 3 times so that was it. He still gets mad about it and I have to hide the keys, which really upsets him. He forgets he doesn't have his license. So safety first and foremost. He is only 67.
Good luck to both of you and I hope everything works out for the best. It's a very difficult thing to go through.

By Sheridan On 2013.11.12 05:55
My husband is 59. 7 years ago he ran a stop sign on a side street and hit another car. No one was hurt and we are so thankful and know that it could have been much worse. He had his car towed, sold and gave up his license that day. His background is in auto claims so he has seen what could happen. I am thankful that he made the call to stop driving and I did not have to make this decision.

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.12 14:35
Thanks for your comments everyone. I know it a difficult thing to go through.
If it comes to loosing his license, I will be glad it's someone else telling him rather than me.
We'll pray that things work out for him.
Thanks again.

By McCall On 2013.11.12 16:26
My husband is 63 and still employed, he drives two hours each way to work, near Boston. His driving is deteriorating I can see that. If he loses the ability to drive, then we are really stuck, I cannot drive him two hours to work and two hours back, and he would have to try for disability, though we could not live on that at the moment till we can get more bills paid off.
I am terrified of both the possibility of an accident and what happens if he loses his lisence.
I strongly sympathize and I wish you both the best however it turns out.

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.13 09:53
Hopefully my worrying is for nothing, but it's just stressful. Thanks;
I can understand your stress when your husband has to drive to work. My husband retired early from 2 careers, and then for 6 years he drove a semi truck part time for a farmer. He even drove to the states and long hours, but this was before his diagnosis so it's hard to think that he could loose his license so young in life. There is a man in our community that is 100 years old and he still has his license, but they say he should no be driving.......really?

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.11.13 13:47
Along with our reaction times and judgment calls some other things to be considered is the medication. OUI or DUI operating under the influence or driving under the influence is not restricted to alcohol, it is also drugs and prescription medication. Liability becomes suspect when these are involved and insurance might not cover you, Especially if they are not notified and if notified they may cancel. Your home, savings and all assets could be in jeopardy if an accident occurs with injuries or property damage. And unless one lies like heck the registry of motor vehicles would want a doctors note agreeing safety to drive along with testing Us if we listed our medications in answer to standard question on our renewal forms. Stubbornness could lead to losing everything not just the loss of the privilege of driving. Which it is a privilege not a right and when anyone thinks they have a right to do something that puts all around them at risk that might be the answer to when is it time to stop driving. That might be a sign because thinking that way then what? You have the right to cut someone off, ram them because that was where you were going to park? Clouded decisions lead to clouded actions. Then it's time to ask could you live with the consequences?

By jcoff012 On 2013.11.13 13:48
Lynne, I spoke with the head nurse at the assisted living where I used to work. She said if you are concerned, it s for a reason; trust your instincts. She also said you are lucky to live in a state with such an outstanding way to test one's driving ability later in life. Here in California, DMV won't often listen to anyone's family, only a doctor or one of the DMV testers. Taking the decision out of a spouse's hands makes it much easier, but you will probably have to diligently monitor him, especially if the decision is not as he expects. She said she hopes for the bet and know you are not alone; she faces this on a regular basis.

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.15 13:48
Well he took the driving assessment yesterday and didn't pass. They gave him 6 different clinical tests and because of his slowness he didn't pass one. They gave us the option to just stop there and not take the driving test as when they do badly on the clinical, they often don't pass the driving. If he didn't go on his license would still be suspended. We could just pay the $225 but he decided to go for the driving test, it would be another 225,
He was really drained after the testing and wondered if he should try the driving. I said if you feel up to doing it, I am behind you, and forget about the cost at this point. He decided to try and I thought he would be okay, however, the therapist and driving instructor said he made too many errors and even when they told him to do a certain things to help, he didn't do it. They couldn't recommend him for driving lessons either.
They will send the report to us and he can appeal the results, but I doubt he will want to go through testing again, if that what it comes to.
Our daughter and other people say it's for the best as he wouldn't want to cause an accident. The therapist said it's because of the disease that is slowing him down. He's always been an excellent driver and not once has caused an accident when he was healthier, but I think it's best too.
Thank goodness I drive and am healthy so I'll have to keep myself fit from now on. I am diabetic but my blood sugars are good and had the best results last month. I just have to stay away from temptation on some desserts.........lol.
Anyway, thanks for your concern and I am glad it's over as yesterday was the longest day of my life, waiting for him during the testing. As my friend says, God doesn't give us anymore than we can handle........ and He must be looking out for us..........so we have to think that way, don't you think?
LYNNIE

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.15 13:51
Oh, and so far he is okay.......but I know he is still thinking about it. Maybe it helped a bit since he hasn't driven for 4 months before that. That could be one reason he didn't pass, but I know that slowness it a factor.
Thanks again....... you guys are great.

By jcoff012 On 2013.11.15 19:39
Please tell him I am proud of him! He TRIED, that's the important thing!

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.16 10:00
Thanks, but he doesn't know I write on this forum. I told him when were going home after the assessment, that at least he tried.
I was proud of him too, but I didn't say it and should have.
When we talk about it again, I'll say something, but we haven't discussed it much although I did ask him something about the testing. He tried to explain it but started shaking so I didn't pursue it.
They are supposed to send a report so maybe it will tell me more.
Thanks again and for your support. It means a lot to me. This forum and another forum has helped me more than going to a support group meeting.
I went for a while, but felt worse so I quit. My husband went for a few meeting, but felt worse too, so I guess it isn't for everyone unless it was just the group.
Has anyone had experiences at support group meeting?

By carman96 On 2013.11.16 12:43
So sorry you and your husband had to go through that but it is probably for the best. I know how it feels since we went through the same thing.
You are doing a good thing to try to be as healthy as you can. I lost weight, got off blood pressure medication, and exercise regularly. I figure I have to be as healthy as possible so I can do everything I need to do to take care of my husband.
This is the only support group I have. I haven't gone to a real support group mostly because it is very inconvenient and my husband is so not into meetings.

By jcoff012 On 2013.11.16 13:09
We go to a once a month meeting in Santa Rosa, about a half hour away...we go for information, but we don't stay when they break up into groups...not into that or need it yet...we go out to lunch afterwards, so we make a day of it!

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.16 13:39
The group I went to met every month and once a month had a lunch meeting at a local restaurant. There was even an exercise group he could go to, but he never went. He had a recumbent bike in the basement which he uses now. The doctor said it wouldn't help Parkinson's but would keep him fit.
Now we have a TV in the basement so he can watch it while exercising.

As far as the support group went, I would have enjoyed it better if he went, but I just felt like a fifth wheel when others were there with their spouses, so this group and Daily Strength website for Parkinson's is a better fit for me. I don't feel as alone..
Thanks everyone.......LYNNIE

By carman96 On 2013.11.18 08:39
Lynnie, I disagree with your doctor that the bike won't help Parkinson's. Will it cure it? No. Can it help with the symptoms? Possibly.Or at least slow down the deterioration of muscle tone. Strengthens the leg muscles and that is really important. And there are recent studies I think that cycling is good for the brain.
Wish I could get my husband to exercise at home. He'll do it at physical therapy though and I think it really helps.

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.18 08:51
Carman, I agree with you too about the exercising.
Men are so stubborn, it seems about doing things to help them. There are so many things that mine could be doing but he sits around too much and then falls asleep. He naps after lunch and then I find him asleep while watching TV before dinner. I think his recliner is too comfortable, however, during the early morning he wakes up in the bed and can't get back to sleep. Then he goes to the recliner and sleeps there, so I think sleeping during the days isn't helping.

Good luck with your husband and tell him that he needs to keep moving so he won't get stiff. If you talk about this forum, tell him that you were talking to a lady and her husband walks around the block when it's nice weather. The cold weather is coming so maybe you could think about getting a recumbent bike too. It's easier on the back. I can give you the name of it if you want. Take care..........LYNNIE

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.11.18 16:25
Lots of things on this thread. My computer is acting up so I haven't been answering here. (been reading it on a small tablet but, lol, small tablet + Large hands and fingers = frustration when trying to type anything out with the onscreen keyboard!).

Support groups are kind of touchy for many of Us with P.D. We have to be in the "right" mood or frame of mind for them. Too early and we don't want to see what lies ahead to late and we figure what's the use. The first one I was going to attend I had seen in the paper so I called the number and got a woman who seemed puzzled? Talking to Her she said they didn't have it anymore......she hemmed and hawed a bit and then said "I don't know how to say this but the reason we don't meet anymore is everyone that had P.D. in the group is Dead." needless to say I went a long time before trying it again. We had one several years ago it ran for a couple of years but interest lagged as there was only so much one could do meeting after meeting. (We were all young onset and around the same age so touring assisted living or nursing homes aren't interesting to people in their forties or at least not to us.). We met a few times with the local group in Bennington Vt. (mostly elderly) but after I had a disagreement with some of them about MJF (who has a farm in Vt. and they looked upon him as theirs. Well I thought I was going to be lynched before I got out of town! (they invited us back to tour some living facilities but I wasn't falling for that taking a ride out in the woods with them? I was born in the afternoon but not yesterday afternoon).

Exercise is good but to those who haven't been around here to long we've had discussions before about how having P.D. is at times like moving or trying to move around in mud! Or like having wrist and leg weights hanging on you. So it HAS to be timed right! try to think about doing exercises and suddenly someone ties a ten pound weight to each wrist ....this is a poor and clumsy attempt to illustrate it but your med's just started to not work your arms are heavy and not easy to move! Peddling a bike and blam! med's cut out your peddling in mud! Again not saying don't do it but time it right. Don't chalk up to being lazy the lack of ability to explain what is happening to the patient's body and movement resulting from this disease. I haven't even mentioned the shaking and tremor kicking in from med's losing effectiveness. This Disease makes Us stiff and ridged. That is a major symptom, don't fool yourself that exercise with prevent it, It won't!

Don't forget that living with Parkinson's Disease is likened to doing moderate exercise every waking minute for us patients. That is just getting around doing activities of daily living! Moderate exercise, it is no wonder we nap and fall asleep during the day! Any Doctor who advises staying awake or not napping trying to force sleep at night does not understand Parkinson's Disease or it's effects and symptoms. That's the truth and I'll stand by it for any Medico who wants to debate it.

This is a great thread with lots of sub-topics. Probably more enjoyable to some because I'm not jumping in constantly..lol...enjoy it while you can, I'll get my computer fixed soon, till then I'm watching. Take care best of luck and hang in there

We're all in the same game; Just different levels.
Dealing with the same Hell; Just different devils

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.18 18:51
Hi LOHEN, I appreciate your input, so don't ever stop.
I guess you realize it is my husband who has Parkinson's and reading your words makes me realize more how he doesn't have the inclination to do things.
He doesn't have the energy or strength like he used to have.
I just worry that he sits around too much and watches TV and falls asleep.
My brother was trying to think of a hobby he could do, and I am trying the same, but he never was one to have a hobby. He worked 2 jobs during his working days, farming and worked full time with the mentally handicapped at a facility. He likes to golf, but can't do it during the winter. He reads, but not books, just magazines or the paper. He used to make Christmas tree stands, but that's out now and he barely does anything in his little workshop in our basement.
What do other guys do? He doesn't mix well or socialize as he doesn't talk that much. It would be good for him to join the Senior Centre, but I don't know if he would do it. I doubt it. Can you see the problem?
Any suggestions that I might make to him?

By jcoff012 On 2013.11.18 19:31
Lynnie, when I was the Activity Director at the assisted living, one of the resident's daughters pulled me aside and said, "Jane, you have so many excellent craft sessions, but I don't always see Mom there. Would you make SURE she goes?" WELLL...I went to Marie and asked her why she wasn't coming all the time...Her response, "Jane, I love you, but I have done all the crafting I care to do. I told my daughter to leave me alone...I will do what I want, when I want." Enough said. So...maybe that is your husband's "take" on things...

My husband is slowing down, but he is still very high functioning, and so, he does most of the things he wants...But, we also have an understanding...during the daytime hours, we do a great deal together, but after 7 PM, I usually head upstairs (away from food, as I am on Weight Watchers!) and he dozes, reads, or watches tv...I iron, work on the computer, or watch shows I like and he doesn't..Then from 9-11 he comes upstairs and we talk, play cards, or watch shows we both enjoy...sounds boring, but that is our usual night since retiring...of course, if we are out or visiting our daughter and her family, things are different. We both enjoy our "me" time...think it keeps us sane!

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.18 22:07
JANE Thanks for your reply. Maybe I am worrying about him too much.
I am going to suggest the swimming again though. The last time I was going with a neighbor lady, so maybe if we just go together, he will be more interested.
It sounds like you and your husband have a good schedule.
Thanks again.

By carman96 On 2013.11.18 22:19
Al, you are too funny about not wanting to go into the woods with the MJF followers!
I know it is really tough for my husband to move sometimes plus he has the added problem of being light headed and off balance when he stands. Plus his back pain! But it is important to get up and move or stretch once in awhile.
He doesn't have too many things he can do anymore, so I wish he did have something more to keep him occupied besides tv.

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.11.19 00:06
Lynn, How about building a bird feeder? Then He can feed the birds and watch them out the window. Some people like that, even pick up a field guide for wild birds so he can look up ones that visit. If he starts to enjoy it you'll get him outside for a few filling it up every day. Plus as an added bonus if he nods off watching he'll be getting sunlight through the window too! Or a small aquarium to watch the fish?

By Mary556 On 2013.11.19 10:50
Up until a year ago my Mom was active in bowling and line dancing, she read every day and did "Jumble" puzzles from the newspaper. But many of her activities have fallen by the wayside and now she is mostly inactive. Wish we could find more passtimes to interest her. My mother does not have attention span to follow the plot of a movie either, but she enjoys 20-minute comedies on "TvLand" channel... Andy Griffith, Cosby Show, etc.. My Mom has been battling depression and it is good to hear her laugh again. She does a "wordfind" puzzle now and then, or we play an occasional game of cribbage, but Mom gets frustrated and sad when she cannot find answers or do the things she always did so well before. My Dad wants her to try to play the piano again.

My folks have video chats with my siblings a few times during the week; my mother becomes animated and has good conversations. She looks forward to those visits. It is good for her to talk more and remember. Mom's neuro doc wants her to do more laps around the living room with her walker. He also recommended "ball and cup" game to help with brain-eye-hand coordination. though my father and I have been playing with it more than Mom. Sometimes there is a fine line between encouraging and nagging... I'm not sure when I should suggest another activity for my mother or when I should just let her be.

Thank you for great support and suggestions that you all have offered here.

p.s. Lohengr1n, your little story had me in stitches, laughing so hard I got tears in my eyes. Thank you. (Did he ever return? No he never returned. And his fate is still unlearn'd...)

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.20 11:17
Today we finally cleaned the gas fireplace. We don't use it too much in the winter because our house is so air tight. Anyway, he cleaned and put the thing back together although the logs had to be positioned correctly, so thank goodness we had a diagram to follow.
So he did something today............
Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't know if he still has his work saw, but I am the one that looks after the bird feeder and looks at the birds.
I had him doing the work search puzzles before he went for his assessment. I think using his brain might help, but alas it didn't.
He managed to tell me something about the tests they gave him. \They showed pictures with balls and letters and numbers and he had to match them or something. He was shaking just trying to explain them, so I can imagine what happened during the test.
We'll just wait for the report and see what it says..........but I'm glad it's over as we have been thinking about it for the last 6 months.

By Lynnie2 On 2013.11.23 16:07
We got the report from the driving assessment this week. It showed the numerous errors he made while driving but didn't say much about the clinical assessment.
It said if he appealed the decision, he would have to do the assessment again at the same centre or another centre but not until 6 months from now.

My husband doesn't want to take the test again. He was stressed and shaking during the clinical part and he probably wouldn't do any better if he took it again. Not unless his MDS has other ideas. We see him in January so we'll tell him what happened.
He sees his family doctor next month about something else, so we'll probably tell him too unless he has the report from the assessment. He is the doctor that was concerned about the driving.
Anyway, hopefully over time my husband will come to accept this decision and not think about it. I know it's still on his mind and a hard pill to swallow loosing your license like this.


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