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Topic Reality Check & Driving Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By ResistanceFutil On 2013.11.30 17:27
In my opinion, my husbands driving ability has diminished steadily over the last two years. He's run our stock trailer into the gate twice, missed (didn't see and ran) three stops signs and one red light, and doesn't seem to react to other drivers brake lights until late and follows too closely.

He took the AMA self-assessment for driving today (http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/public-health/older-drivers-appendixb.pdf) and came up with two items (one requires attention). He didn't count not seeing stop signs as a problem.

Anyway, he has agreed to talk to his MDS about a driving assessment.

I believe he is impaired and unsafe, but I don't want to be his chauffeur! We live in the country and the nearest store, yoga class, etc., is 8 miles.

The way I see it the two biggest game-changers for us are him not being able to drive and if/when he requires assistance walking and/one wheelchair. We'll have to move into town if he can no longer drive. I finally even spoke to his son about this possibility.

Being new to the reality of PD, does this stuff really happen? Lost licenses, moving ones residence, etc? Should I just bury my head and ignore my husbands driving (I drive if we both go somewhere)?

Help - is this the kind of thing that PD leads to? Dang.

By carman96 On 2013.11.30 17:52
I was glad when my husband lost his license, since I had been worried about his driving for awhile. I would rather be his chauffeur than have him hurt himself or someone else on the road. It really sucks but you do what you have to do. It was when we applied for a handicap placard that the DMV got involved. He took the written test three times and flunked each one so they suspended his license. Sometimes he forgets so I have to hide the keys.
We live on 16 acres a few miles from our small town. I know we will have to move to town eventually, but not sure when that will be.

By VioletV On 2013.11.30 18:40
Yes. We lived in the country in an area where my husband had lived (and driven) for 25 years. He knew the roads and the traffic patterns, and still, I was very very nervous when he drove.

We moved 1000 miles to a new state (we've had a summer place here) and found a house we love in a walkable area. We can walk to the hardware store and to a small grocery store, to two churches and the exercise studio. And still, since we've been here, his ability to walk has diminished so much that it is a major accomplishment when he and I can walk up the hill, a single block, crossing no streets, and walk back down. Yes, this is where PD goes.

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.11.30 19:20
Yes We lose our licenses, or have them taken away. We become un-safe to drive and have to ask hard questions of ourselves and loved ones. Questions like; Can you live with someone being hurt or killed because you don't want to give up driving? Could you live with someone hurt or killed because you don't want to be a chauffeur? Because it isn't a case of it could happen it is a case of it will happen given time. How forgiving would you both be if someone who had Parkinson's Disease or another Movement Disorder hit and kill one of your loved ones? Would it be okay because they still wanted to drive instead of giving it up? Would it be okay because a spouse didn't want to HAVE to drive all the time? (I know this is hard but it is really a matter of life and death) Hard questions with no easy answers. Yes People have to move to smaller homes, Yes young onset have to file for disability and forfit retirement planning. Yes it is a hard disease, and yes it is a shame that Doctors and foundations don't level with you when you're diagnosed! Sorry if it seems I'm coming down hard on this answer but people have to know it's Parkinson's it's hard and it sucks for all involved. It's not like the general public is lead to believe.

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

By ResistanceFutil On 2013.11.30 19:56
Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. I would rather be a chauffeur than have someone maimed or killed because of driver impairment I was aware of. My husband is 69, this is not young onset and his disease has progressed very visibly in the last six months. He will probably start PD meds this coming month - his mood disorder meds were increased this month & we're seeing where that goes. The gait and balance and tremors have increased just in the last six weeks so that my husband is ready now for the PD meds.

Looks like our case will be a steep learning curve; more so than some.

By parkinit On 2013.12.01 01:25
It was difficult at first to drive my spouse everywhere, because he was still quite active when his license was taken away. However, I was very relieved not to have him driving any more and I adjusted. I think caregivers of pwp have to be very flexible - whether they want to or not. It is best to give up preconceived notions of schedules and doing things in your own time frame as the disease progresses.

By Lynnie2 On 2013.12.01 16:13
My husband also had his license suspended and he is only 65 and had PD for 6 years.
The doctor had concerns last May and asked him not to drive, but referred him to a Driver Assessment program.
It is a clinical assessment and driving assessment which cost $550. He failed the clinical assessment and also had too many errors during the driving assessment and couldn't be recommended for lessons. It has hit him hard loosing his license as he never did anything wrong. I was concerned about some aspects of his driving and since the doctor had concerns he had to report him to the MT.
Even though it's hard loosing his license, I have to think that if something happened to him or if he injured or killed anyone while driving, it would be much worse.
We moved to town 3 years ago from the country before he got worse.
Fortunately I drive so you should be glad you also drive even though it will take up more of your time in some ways. Some wives never drive, so that would be worse if no one could drive, so think of it that way, as it could be worse.
He can take the assessment again in 6 months, but he doesn't want to as it was too draining. The assessment was 1 1/2 hours and he was shaking while doing it. Then he had to take the driving test in a strange city, with the hospital car, through traffic and construction, so that was hard on him.
I think he has accepted the results, but he is still too young to loose it after being such an excellent driver all his life.
As I say, it could be worse. Good luck with you and your endeavours.


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