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CARENOTES / Past Carenotes / Discussion Forum

Carenotes

Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 04/16/08
My name is K and am a caregiver for both my parents, one health issues, Mom, the other, Dad, Alz.  My question to you is whether video taping a conversation with a doctor would be helpful in so far as showing it to my Dad when he disagrees with what we are telling him. 

In this specific instance, it is his drivers license.  Both my Mom and myself are dealing with his self denial of his ability to drive and/or the reason why his license was suspended.  His constant verbal assaults on my Mom drives her crazy.  I suggested video.  She wanted me to ask you.  So I'm asking.  I don't expect a response anytime soon because I know you must be busy.  Thanks for listening anyway.   

 

View Comments


Name: Steve Herzfeld
Location: Pondichery, india
Email: eatspam@blueridgemail.com
Date: 04/16/2008
Time: 10:27 AM

Comments

Hi K, I say definitely video or even audio taping a doctors consult so you can remind someone with Alzheimer's what was said is a valuable tool. I never videoed for lack of equipment but several times audio taped which was useful with my Dad and also helped me in interactions with other family members on occasion. Just make sure while the tape is running to ask for and get permission from all parties (DR and patient) as the HIPPA laws make medical consult information a delicate thing to disclose to anyone. Good luck


Name: Barb
Location: Washington state
Email: barbeevw@aol.com
Date: 04/16/2008
Time: 11:44 AM

Comments

We faced this problem last summer with my husband. I mentioned it to my doctor when I was in to see her for me. She said something I love: "let's take this out of the marital realm and put it into the medical realm". I gave her permission to share my concerns with his doctor so privacy laws could be honored. Then, I wrote my husband's doctor a note so he would have it before the next visit. The doctor wrote a letter (unbeknownst to my husband) to Dept of Motor Vehicles. They sent a letter asking him to come in and when he did it didn't take much to "test" him. They refused to renew his license right then and there. My husband handled it very well (guess it was a guy thing) and he still has no idea of what went on behind the scene. Our children, all in their 40's, are relieved, as am I, there was no accident or problem we needed to handle. Now he hires a grandson or neighbor to drive him around when he gets the urge to go some place and I'm busy. It's only a suggestion, but it worked for us!


Name: Jennifer Ghent-Fuller
Location: Alzheimer Society of Cambridge
Email: jennifer@alzheimercambridge.on.ca
Date: 04/16/2008
Time: 12:00 PM

Comments

It might be easier to get a letter from the doctor (make a few copies) and laminate it. Keep it handy (written in a large font), so he can read it over and over again. Each time your father asks to drive, he may be forgetting that he has been told he can't, and so it is new to him. Because of his short-term memory loss, he may be unable to place this memory in his long-term memory. However, if his PROCEDURAL memory is still available to him, he may remember the procedure of wanting to drive and being told that he can't for no apparent reason. If there is arguing, his EMOTIONAL memory processes may also have laid down a long-term memory that it is a very upsetting time when he does want to drive. What he cannot do is rationally and logically cognitively coordinate these fragments to a pre-illness type of understanding. There are various approaches. Whatever his attitude is, try to always stay calm and smiling and work to distract him onto another topic as soon as possible. Coming up with a reasonably sounding rationale for someone else needing to do the driving has worked for some families (eg. having a driving test of their own coming up). If it is possible to park the car out of sight and keep the keys out of sight, this may help prevent the desire from being triggered. Is there somewhere special he wants to go? Is it possible to arrange for a friend to take him out for coffee at a scheduled time every week so he feels like he's getting out of the house on his own? Some arrangement like that may help satisfy his desire to go out. There is really no way to "get through" to him. There is only establishing a new procedure that does not involve arguing and somehow satisfies the need he is feeling.


Name: Kathy
Location: New York
Email: kgraham1@optonline.net
Date: 04/16/2008
Time: 01:30 PM

Comments

Definitely sell his car, get a new one for Mom if needed. He will not ask to use her car because it is unfamiliar to him. He is probably on an Alzheimer drug or some other drug that says not to use heavy equipment. The doctor is now legally obligated to tell him not to drive. Leave an unachievable light at the end of the tunnel. Tell him when the medicines do their job he will be able to drive again. At that point you will buy him a new car. Most seniors are very concerned about money. Tell him that he is not covered by car insurance right now. If he gets in a fender bender, they will sue him and he could lose the house - and go to jail. Always have someone ready to drive him places, don't make it seem like an inconvenience. This is the hardest thing to get anyone to give up. Stay strong and stick to your guns. You have to protect your Dad and the community. Good Luck


Name: Jaylene
Location: BC, Canada
Email: jjackson@parkplaceseniorsliving.com
Date: 04/16/2008
Time: 03:48 PM

Comments

Hi K I read through the other comments and all I have to add is that video taping may not be as helpful as you may think. It will really depend on how confused your dad is. At some point ion the dementia process, people won't even recognize themselves. I think the best plan is to have the doctor contact Motor Vehicle for a "re-testing" and take it from there. If his license has already been revoked, unfortunately, there may not be much more that you and your mom can do other than keep reminding him that he doesn't drive anymore and that he doesn't really have a reason to. Afterall, he's retired and you can take him where he needs to go. Good luck!


Name: Arlene Allen
Location: Florida
Email: aallen329@hotmail.com
Date: 04/16/2008
Time: 09:13 PM

Comments

Being reasonable with a person suffering from dementia is not a guarantee to win an argument. So, even showing a video will not help him think his position through. Sometimes, it is more like you have to be the parent who takes the knife away from the baby before he gets hurt. There's no sense in having a discussion with a baby, either. So, save yourself the grief and do what you have to do because you are the one who can still reason.


Name: Cathy
Location: greenbay,wisconsin
Email: cbcleaning2000@yahoo.com
Date: 04/17/2008
Time: 05:35 AM

Comments

Dear K, bless your heart. I've read the other comments and they are good advice. All I have to tell you is best of luck to you and hang in there. Don't forget to think and take care of yourself through your Dad's terrible illness.



 







 

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