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Elderly alcoholic father

(5 Posts)
Souplover Mon 19-Nov-12 22:07:04

Hi duchess,

I really sympathise with you. my mother is drinking regularly but in denial, and has macular degeneration in one eye, as well. Can the doctor and social sevices not advise the DVLA, especially as they are aware of the problem? I think one way to solve it would be if they had to retake a test, but instead it's left to the siblings to sort out and up to the elderly drivers to be honest about their health when filling in applications. Duh, it's not going to happen. My father-in-law had a serious stroke which he failed to mention , so he could carry on driving. It's an absolute farce!

I have written to my mother's doctor and spoken to her doctor and was told that she would speak to my mother about her drinking, but that is as far as it has got. It seems to be the law that is at fault here. Its a bloody ass!

Parly Fri 09-Nov-12 05:53:30

Hi – first of all, this is much more common problem than most people think. The problem with getting DVLA involved when someone has a health or medical condition that is only flagged up by someone else is no easy task. Even when GP’s try to sway things it’s never easy and the police don’t tend to get involved unless and until something happens that warrants their involvement.

Most families whip the keys off their elderly relatives and brace for an almighty ding-dong once the person realises they’ve gone. Others cross their fingers and hope for the best.

For those that don’t have the heart of guts to just nick the keys and tell them outright they can’t drive, another solution is having someone come out to remove the odd bit of wiring / disable something in the engine so it just appears a straightforward mechanical fault as opposed to sabotage.

It might seem harsh if you let the whole guilt trip thing about taking away independence prey on your mind but it’s either that or else run the risk of them killing themselves and possibly taking out someone else with them. Not worth it. sad

DuchessofMalfi Mon 29-Oct-12 14:24:31

Thanks for replying whatabout. I've been taking the softly softly approach to giving up driving with him. He's kind of agreed to stopping driving, so we'll hopefully be able to work on that. He'll find it so much better if he doesn't have to worry about his car and it's associated costs. He's had several accidents in it so it looks a bit battered. I had tried the medical questionnaire line in the past with my dad, but he must have filled it in, saying there wasn't any problem, so of course the DVLA couldn't do anything about it. He'll probably change his mind again tomorrow, but I'll face that one if and when.

He does apparently have some level of brain damage associated with the alcoholism, and macular degeneration, but even so his GP said that wasn't enough for the DVLA to make him stop driving. Apparently they just aren't that bothered about a bit of dementia shock. I live in an area where there is a high elderly population, and regularly see people on the roads who perhaps ought not to be, with near accidents etc. It's worrying when we know our parents really aren't competent to be driving any more.

whataboutbob Sat 27-Oct-12 20:25:04

Hi Duchess. I don't have an alcoholic parent, but my father has dementia and I think there is some overlap in behaviour. In fact if he's a long term alcoholic he'll be at greater risk of developing dementia.
Re the driving, i struggle with the same issue. My father has little insight into the fact that his driving is appalling (I've told him he just gets angry and abusive). In the end I passively just didn't help him do the car's annual paperwork and the DVLA got his car pounded and crushed (plus a £1000 fine which I successfully appealed against). However he keeps talking about buying another. So I rang the DVLA to raise my concerns. They then send a medical questionnaire and if he doesn't answer it after 2 reminders he loses his license (this may in fact have happened, I haven't checked). I also rang the GP who said something to the effect of "leave it to me" I think he also contacted the DVLA. I feel that after all this, if he does buy a car, get into it and drive off, my conscience is clear- I've done what I could.
I wonder whether you could actually contact the police . They can keep an eye on him and maybe stop and breathalyse if the driving's erratic (my Dad's had many visits from the police re his driving. Of course, he just said they're persecuting him..).
Anyway the police must have experience of this kind of situation. You will feel guilty and disloyal but you don't owe him such utter loyalty that you'll quietly stand by when he's doing something dangerous to himself and society at large. Good luck.

DuchessofMalfi Sat 27-Oct-12 17:18:02

Does anyone have any experience in dealing with an alcoholic parent? I'm at my wits end as to how to deal with him now. He has major episodes from time to time where he drinks himself to oblivion on whisky and then causes a huge emergency where we all have to drop everything and sort him out. This time he had faecal incontinence and had destroyed his bed (he's done it before). The incontinence nurse at the surgery is due to see him shortly.

I've got Social Services and his GP helping to sort him out, but a week later he's back to normal and pretending nothing happened at all.

He's still driving his car angry and I'm getting nowhere with getting him to give up driving - he's over 80 years old. He gets extremely angry and verbally abusive at times which leads to me backing off. I've tried to get him to give up his car before but got nowhere. He drives when he's seriously over the limit but there's very little chance of him caught by the Police as he only does short journeys. Short of stealing his keys to prevent him getting in his car (and I know I can't really do that sad). His GP has tried, so has the family. I'm on the point of giving up.

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