Old 12-17-2011, 03:41 AM #1
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Does anyone have any suggestions for stopping my father from driving. He was just diagnosed this week, after having 3 accidents in 4 days...His one passion is driving but he has now been told that he can no longer drive - as a result he has threatened to take the neurologists/specialists to court - he feels there is nothing wrong with him. My mom hides the keys, but he searches the house at night to find them. Sleeplessness being another problem...help?
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:27 AM #2
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Default Re: driving

His clinic may recommend a psychotropic rx to help with sleep and frustration. If he is not getting enough sleep, any cognitive difficulties will only be magnified. Sometimes rx can be presented as "helping you to do more of what you want to do." Other times it can be "Can you do this as a favor for me, so I can get more sleep and be better at doing [whatever he likes done] ?"

Driving -- could he become an official navigator, not just a passenger? Helping brainstorm mechanical issues, if he enjoys that? This could be anything from video games to hanging out at a repair shop to planning a classic car restoration. Of course, it can be presented as a neighbor, friend, relative asking him for help in a flattering way.

Technically, his doc can recommend that his license be revoked, but it sounds like that's not really the issue. As for searching the house for keys, your mom could tell him that they are off site and not to waste his time. She could then use a combination lockbox at a neighbor's, under the car...I think some cars can be modified to require a combination or password, also.

If he has had 3 accidents in 4 days, you certainly do not want him driving. What does he do when not looking for keys/questioning the diagnosis? It may take some combination of patience, drugs and creativity to rechannel what he thinks he wants to do.
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:25 PM #3
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Default Re: driving

Giving up driving is one of the hardest things we guys have to do. You have to impress on him the idea that he might hurt others not just himself. With a diagnosis he may not be insured which could be a disaster.

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Old 12-17-2011, 03:21 PM #4
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Default Re: driving

This is a tough one. If he's dealing with FTD, he may not be making the connection between driving/accident. (Same as not making the connection between food in mouth/choking) I would talk to the doc about adding/changing some anxiety medication. And.. well... hiding the keys is probably the very best way to handle it right now. At least if he's busy looking for them, he's not engaging in any other shenanigans. Just make sure he won't find them. (The freezer works well.)
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:09 AM #5
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Default Re: driving

ah yes, he has been prescribed something and I encouraged my mom to fill it last night, as the doctor said it should help with the "behavioural" aspect of the situation. Hopefully that will get started tonight. Yes, 2 doctors have revoked his license but you're right that doesn't seem to matter, although he would be liable. A combination is not a bad idea...have to look into that! I do feel for him - we've always known giving up driving would be the hardest thing in his life - although we thought it would be at a ripe old age...He is dealing with FTD and is likely not making that connection. He completely rationalizes the accidents and appears to see everything from a different perspective. We are just starting this journey and we are so overwhelmed. thanks for your insight/input.
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:26 AM #6
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Default Re: driving

by the way, he doesn't believe anything is wrong with him and has threatened to take the doctors to court.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:16 PM #7
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Default Re: driving

Al... the problem with FTD is they don't CARE if they might hurt someone else. It's very frustrating...as I've said, empathy is a very important evolutionary trait that isn't appreciated until it's gone.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:19 PM #8
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Default Re: driving

Quote:
He completely rationalizes the accidents and appears to see everything from a different perspective.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That is my husband exactly! If he falls because he will not use his wheelchair, it's always the fault of something in his way, like a small stick! It is not because his body can no longer put one foot in front of the other!

This driving thing is so dangerous. My husband insisted on driving by himself for about 6 hours to get a dog, simply because he could not wait one more day for me to drive. That was when I decided he really had a cognitive problem. Things just got weirder after that, but I could see in hindsight that his behavior had been off for quite some time.

I hope your mother will find a really good place to hide those keys! I hide stuff in empty cereal boxes and such.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:19 PM #9
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Default Re: driving

And if your dad has started losing strength in his hands, put out of reach childproof locks on at least one cabinet...this becomes your place to hide keys, medication, important papers, etc.

Glen's two worst driving examples: Didn't notice the railroad lights as he was making a right turn, and the crossing bar came down on the windshield of the car! (Thank goodness it did!) The other... he and Kev were heading to a concert. He made an illegal left turn that put him directly on the light rail tracks... and apparently it didn't phase him in the least even after Kevin pointed it out!

Luckily right about the time he HAD to stop driving, he lost the ability to turn the key in the ignition.
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:30 AM #10
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Default Re: driving

wow, okay. good advice on the cabinet. So scary! but interesting timing for you with regard to the driving issue (must have still been sad for your husband though)...
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:07 PM #11
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Default Re: driving

About 10 yrs ago, I was caregiving for my 91 yo moter who had Alzheimer's. When she moved in with us, my then-12yo daughter took both sets of keys from gramma;s purse and gave them to me. We sold her car at auction within a week so she wouldn't see it and she never asked about driving. Of course, she had forgotten where she had lived for the past 22 yars also. I wonder if the keys just disappear.....
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:35 PM #12
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Default Re: driving

Susan.. the problem with FTD vs Alzheimer's is (with some exceptions here and there) it's a reasoning disorder more than a memory disorder. We had my dad with Alzheimer's at the same time Glen was developing FTD. And you're right.. Dad could be deflected by disappearing keys or changing the subject. Glen would keep looking for them, know we'd put them somewhere and be very angry that they were gone.. never once acknowledging that he could hurt himself or others if he got behind the wheel.
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