Jacob was 79 when he was diagnosed with dementia. At the time of this diagnosis the symptoms were impacting daily life, but he was still able to perform most things, maybe with only a few reminders. His family, specifically his spouse and adult children, were concerned about his safety, especially because he had a tendency to get in the car and drive just about anywhere he wants to go.
They considered the prospect of forcefully taking away his keys.
This certainly wouldn’t be the best course of action. While their father is certainly in a difficult situation and may not be safe behind the wheel, taking them away by force is only going to create more tension between him and the rest of his family.
What they need to do is approach this from a supportive viewpoint.
Jacob’s family decided to sit down with him and explain what this diagnosis really meant. They conveyed their concern about his safety when behind the wheel. At first, he dismissed their concerns and told them to stop worrying about him, but they could tell something was bothering him as well.
He eventually admitted to feeling unsafe, too.
It took him a while, but he eventually agreed that he didn’t feel as comfortable behind the wheel as he used to. He felt like everything was going much faster around him and he was having difficulty feeling relaxed when behind the wheel.
He also had concerns about how he could get around.
He was reluctant to give up his license to drive because he didn’t see viable options that would allow him to get to the store, visit with friends, and do other things that were still important to him. His family began looking into various transportation options, including a local senior center, hiring a home care aide, and relying on family and friends to pick him up and take him where he needed to go.
Eventually he started working with an experienced home care aide who drove. This caregiver provided him transportation services to doctor’s appointments, to various stores, and other points of interest, including the park, museums, and to visit with friends every so often.
As Jacob continued to deal with the increased signs and symptoms of dementia, his family were feeling more confident in his safety, especially given the fact he willingly gave up his driver’s license.
Angel Alliance Caregivers of Galloway, NJ is dedicated to helping seniors maintain full, independent lives where they most desire to live: in the comfort of their own homes. Call us at (609) 965-0028.
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