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dementia and driving
Old 12-02-2008, 06:25 PM   #1
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dementia and driving

There have been previous discussions on the board about dealing with aging parents and driving, specifically. I ran across this website/brochure and thought it might prove helpful to some:

http://www.bu.edu/alzresearch/resear...ochure_000.pdf
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:36 PM   #2
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Whew, tough reading. And this is assuming that the elder is a good driver to begin with.

When my grandfather was heading deeper into senile dementia, his driving skills were the last thing to be affected. He had emptied the contents of his safe-deposit box into the trunk of his car and driven around that way for nearly a year, and he drove several miles each way to eat every meal at Friendly's for nearly two years, but his driving was flawless.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:47 PM   #3
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Before my FIL was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he found his safe driving habits were diminishing. Thankfully, he gave up driving when he felt he might put other people in jeopardy. It really wasn't a difficult decision for him, because he always put other people first. Such a loving and caring man...I really miss him.
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:10 AM   #4
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My great-grandfather insisted on driving even after he drove the wrong way down a freeway off-ramp and cruised into oncoming traffic. Thankfully nobody was injured, but even then my family had a hard time convincing him to stop driving. I'm not sure how my grandma finally did it. He was probably about 95 at the time and so stubborn.

I hope that when it's my time I'll smile sweetly, hand the keys over, and proceed to use swanky cabs.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:08 AM   #5
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....
I hope that when it's my time I'll smile sweetly, hand the keys over, and proceed to use swanky cabs.
--
I hope you do, too. My uncle told a sad story about wanting to go to the opera one more time long after he lost his DW. For some reason he went by public transit instead of taxi or limo. Returning at midnight, he could not find a cab back home from the station, got confused and eventually a stranger drove him home. Sad part is that he could have easily afforded an expensive limo. BTW, he enjoyed the opera, "La Traviata," his favorite.
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Urchina View Post
My great-grandfather insisted on driving even after he drove the wrong way down a freeway off-ramp and cruised into oncoming traffic. Thankfully nobody was injured, but even then my family had a hard time convincing him to stop driving. I'm not sure how my grandma finally did it. He was probably about 95 at the time and so stubborn.

I hope that when it's my time I'll smile sweetly, hand the keys over, and proceed to use swanky cabs.

Shoot that is not too bad, I did that about 35 years ago in the Washington DC suburbs. All those other people were going the wrong way. But by my superior driving abilities - I avoid all those idiots. Of course I was a tad over stimulated by a few JD Highballs. Next day I thought about it and it scared me a bit.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:12 AM   #7
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My Mother got her license at 64 and never drove far so at 87 she voluntarily stopped driving but she kept her car and her license . She has finally turned her license in for a photo id , She's 92 and not at all senile .
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Urchina View Post
My great-grandfather insisted on driving even after he drove the wrong way down a freeway off-ramp and cruised into oncoming traffic. Thankfully nobody was injured, but even then my family had a hard time convincing him to stop driving. I'm not sure how my grandma finally did it. He was probably about 95 at the time and so stubborn.

I hope that when it's my time I'll smile sweetly, hand the keys over, and proceed to use swanky cabs.
The trick is to still have the ability to know when it's time
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:14 AM   #9
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The trick is to still have the ability to know when it's time
I am planning to stop driving at age 70. Since I am 60 now, when I look for my ER house up north I'll be hoping to find one within walking distance of a grocery store and other businesses. I need the exercise anyway, so I'll start walking more as soon as I get there and try tapering off on my driving. I'll get one of those silly little metal carts that old people drag behind them to carry their stuff, when they walk.

That is the plan, anyway. Whether or not I stick to it when the time comes, is anybody's guess. Maybe if I plan to quit driving at 70, I will at least curtail it for the most part and completely quit by 75 or 80.

Nobody has had Alzheimer's in my family, and family members are generally just as sharp as ever up until a few weeks of death. But, I am concerned about coordination, vision, and hearing issues that could arise.
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:26 AM   #10
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dementia and driving: thought this was a thread about the dang crazy drivers out there, of which i am one according to some.
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:50 AM   #11
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I am planning to stop driving at age 70. Since I am 60 now, when I look for my ER house up north I'll be hoping to find one within walking distance of a grocery store and other businesses. I need the exercise anyway, so I'll start walking more as soon as I get there and try tapering off on my driving. I'll get one of those silly little metal carts that old people drag behind them to carry their stuff, when they walk.
I see a lot of those at the local farmers market (within waking distance of some senior apartments).

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That is the plan, anyway. Whether or not I stick to it when the time comes, is anybody's guess. Maybe if I plan to quit driving at 70, I will at least curtail it for the most part and completely quit by 75 or 80.

Nobody has had Alzheimer's in my family, and family members are generally just as sharp as ever up until a few weeks of death. But, I am concerned about coordination, vision, and hearing issues that could arise.
No Alzheimer's in my family either. Mother tapered off her driving and quit completely by about 75, she had a healthy husband to take care of her. I suspect she was having 'mini' strokes. It's scary to see my future laid out.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:33 PM   #12
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After my mother's final accident at age 82 while driving home from work (yes, she refused to quite working), she finally had to give up her license. Shortly thereafter we got the long suspected dementia (vascular from micro strokes) diagnosis.

No driving was a much more serious blow to her than the dementia diagnosis. She felt useless. Even though the family rallied around to drive her to work, she could no longer drive other older people to Dr's appointments or church. Even now, two years later with a virtually non-existent short-term memory, she still talks about how much she could do if she could only drive.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:51 PM   #13
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I was reminded of an incident we witnessed at our DMV a couple weeks ago, where coincidentally our kid was getting her license.

A man who appeared to be at least 70 shuffled up to the counter with a younger relative (daughter?) in tow. He told them that he was there to renew his license, but he was either heavily medicated or grappling with dementia. He couldn't fill out the paperwork or even hold up his side of the conversation, but his companion helped out.

The counter staff (who've probably seen this a million times before) asked him to peer into the vision machine. He took a look and said they needed to turn it on so that he could see the light. They said that they'd adjust it (although it was already on) and told him to read the letters. He said " 'Read the letters'?! What letters?!!" The counter staff handed him a piece of paper and said that his doctor would need to fill it out before he could complete the test. I think that was the equivalent of "game over".

As we watched him shuffle out, I told my daughter that in 30 or 40 years she'd be doing the same with me...

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I'll get one of those silly little metal carts that old people drag behind them to carry their stuff, when they walk.
At first I thought you were referring to the ones that people get out of supermarket parking lots and load with all their worldly possessions... but I guess you'd push that in front of you!

My PILs bought a condo in a "senior living" project of about 600 units. It was built in the middle of nowhere, but the developers had no trouble encouraging a bunch of businesses to build around it to take care of its resident demographic. I think the only time they actually drive is when they're going out of town.

Our neighborhood has a similar layout, but in our case it's a 1.3-mile uphill walk. We'd have to plan carefully!
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:17 AM   #14
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I figure that when I start driving like I did when I was 17, it will be time to turn in my license. Not necessarily as fast, but as stoopid.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:04 AM   #15
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At first I thought you were referring to the ones that people get out of supermarket parking lots and load with all their worldly possessions... but I guess you'd push that in front of you!
Right. Besides, even this recession hasn't brought me to the point of desperation that would cause me to steal a supermarket cart. Here's the type of cart I was talking about:

Bed Bath & Beyond - Laundry

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My PILs bought a condo in a "senior living" project of about 600 units. It was built in the middle of nowhere, but the developers had no trouble encouraging a bunch of businesses to build around it to take care of its resident demographic. I think the only time they actually drive is when they're going out of town.
That sounds really great for them. There are several neighborhoods in Springfield in which I could live, that are within walking distance of a supermarket and businesses. The trick is going to be resisting those houses that I might find and adore but which aren't in one of those locations. Complicating the decision is the fact that Frank and I want houses close to one another. Hopefully, everything will fall together and we will find houses close together in such a neighborhood. If not, I might be spending a lot of money on cabs in my later years.

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Our neighborhood has a similar layout, but in our case it's a 1.3-mile uphill walk. We'd have to plan carefully!
Sounds like it would keep you healthy and fit! But depending on the steepness of the grade, I agree that good planning is in order. It might be hard to make that walk as you grow older.
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:47 AM   #16
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I got into so many arguments with my Father after he had 2 strokes that left him with a very weak right side and impaired speech, over giving up driving. I refused to ride with him and followed him in my car several times to places. He actually got his license renewed by proving he could stand with out a walker for a certain number of minutes and having my Mother translate what he said the eye chart was, which was on the wall where my Mother could have been reading it (she never admitted if she was). She slowly tapered him off driving but it was none to soon. He never got in an accident, but when he could hardly lift his right foot to put it in front of himself. Can you imagine his braking reaction time, probably measured in seconds.

I will probably not want to give up driving to early either but hopefully someone (DW already is warning me she will not put up with me if I turn out like him) will remind me of my Father when the time comes.

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Old 12-04-2008, 08:57 AM   #17
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I dealt with this issue when my late father was suffering from dementia. He was doing well friving from '99 to '02. In '02 he was unable to find his way home, the first time he was out of town and the 2nd time he was in his hometown. Riding with him he had full control of the vehicle and obeyed all traffice laws,he just got confused as to where he was and how to get home. It was very sad and I hated to ask him to surrender his license and freedom to drive. I was able to convince him that he had worked hard all his life to build an estate and wouldn't be awful to potentially cause an accident, sued and lose it. He asked me if I would take him grocery shopping and to church which of course I agreed to and he willingly went to the DMV and turned in his license for a photo ID. He passed almost two years later after spending 5 months in a nursing home and 13 months in assisted living. It has been 4 years, I miss him and think of him every day. Good luck with your own situation.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:27 AM   #18
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The one thing I did for my Mom when she stopped driving is I hired an aide to drive her to her appointments , the hairdresser and grocery shopping . It was not expensive and it still gave her the freedom to go when she wanted to.
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