It's a heartbreaking condition, slowly robbing the sufferer of their personality and dignity. I hate it! My dad's really struggling to join in conversations now and he forgets so many words, he struggles to make himself understood. My mum has developed the patience of a saint.
Alzheimer's and driving
A final update with regards to the FiL and his driving.
A second training lesson was had yesterday but it was cut short. The FiL wasn't taking any notice of speed limits or other instruction. When he was asked what the speed limit was where he was currently driving he said he didn't know as he never normally drove there (either didn't look at speed signs or forgot what he already saw). The instructor has given up as he refuses to accept anything he is told (part of his lifetime bullying attitude).
So he is to lose his license. While it is sad for him, it it better for other road-users.
We are now awaiting the explosion when he is told.
Best news for all other road users Adam,but oh so sad for you and your relatives who now have to suffer with him.
My father is 80 and was diagnosed with Alzheimers a number of years ago. He is now in full tme care. Firstly, I feel for you all, it's an awful disease, and very hard to deal with when the powers of reason and persuasion aren't at your disposal.
My father drove for a while in the early stages, but we called a hault to it when he started to park his car down side streets and then forget where he'd parked it. We had a couple of occasions where we spent 4 or 5 hours looking for the car. The final straw was when he returned home with a smashed up front wing, bumper, light etc. He couldn't remember what had happened, where it happened and who he had hit.
It's going to be a slog, and the persons 'able minded' personality, definitely dictates how their Alzheimers manifests itself. If he is bullish or aggressive by nature in any way it's going to a long haul.
I would advise that the minute you are concerned about the safety/wellbeing of anyone connected, you should bite the bullet and put him into care. My biggest regret is that my mother cared for my father for so long, and lost 10 years of her retirement, when she should have been enjoying life.
I would really push to get your MiL some respite, for example having your FiL taken to a day care centre once a week, it may be that their GP and social services aren't aware of the severity of your FiL's Alzheimer's since it can change quite rapidly and particularly if your MiL hasn't brought up his behaviour.
This. Respite is crucial. You also need to be really quite firm with the powers that be. It wasn't until my father escaped from respite and nearly got run over, and then grabbed a nurses wrist and hurt her that we felt we got the proper support.
Dementia is a vile disease. There seems no rhyme or reason for it, or who it chooses to affect. My 75 Mum was diagnosed shortly after Dad died in early 2011. It became pretty clear soon after he died that he had been the "brains" of the operation. She would drive whilst he gave continuous instruction and directions. My brother and I went out with Mum in the car to see how she was managing and were frankly scared witless. We raised it with her GP who gave a full Mental Health assessment and diagnosed dementia and recommended that she not drive anymore. Obviously she forgot this almost immediately and we ended up disabling the car by disconnecting the battery. This worked for a while until "helpful" neighbours reconnected it for her!
Anyway, to cut a long and sometimes difficult story short, the MOT was up so I removed the car to take it the the garage, and it never came back. (As I have LPA, I sold it for her).
Many difficult and horrible arguments have happened since, but she accepts it now.
I am not saying it ever gets better, as the disease robs you of the person you have loved all of your life, but they will forget awkward issues like this in time. I have even managed to be able to have a laugh about Mum's driving with her since...
My dad is only mid-70s, and didn't properly recognise me for the first time when I visited just before Christmas.
His wife sold his car when he started wandering off and forgetting where he was and how he got there. He then started randomly hitchhiking to distant cities to do the same. Alzheimer's is a properly nasty condition.
My Grandfather only recently agreed to give up his keys - he was a keen motoring enthusiast - at the age of 102. Yes, 102.
For many years he refused to give them up, so we contacted the police / DVLA / etc, and all got told - "Only if his GP sees him unfit to drive can we revoke his license".
He went on one of those driving assessment courses - which I understand are voluntary - and claimed he had a perfect score..... we doubt that.
Interesting reading - I've posted recently about my 83yo mum if you want to check my history, though having taken her to the GP he considers that she is still capable of driving at the moment (to be fair she is a lot better than most of the others people are describing). Though the matter may be taken out of our hands as she has a court case next week for not having insurance which may result in her being banned. We're also busy sorting out other aspects of her living conditions so that she no longer needs to drive to the same extent.
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