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Dad says he is being railroaded into diagnosis.(15 Posts)
My elderly parents are still living at home. My mother was diagnosed 2 years ago with vascular dementia which so far has only manifested itself in very limited mobility and is partially sighted with chronic pain.
My father however has now got significant memory problems. He is my mothers main carer and despite having her meds put in blister packs has still forgotten to give or mixes up days and packs. We now have carers in twice a day to give the meds. He will tell the same story over and over, phones multiple times a day to ask the same question, forgets if they have eaten etc.
We persuaded him to go to GP for memory assessment and was then referred to local memory clinic for diagnosis. He is 85, still works as a sole trader in a responsible/important field and still drives.
He has said he dreads going to the appointment and was overheard saying he is being forced to go by his children and he really doesn't want to know if he has dementia.
We now feel very conflicted. Should he ultimately decide himself to pursue a diagnosis? He knows that a diagnosis of dementia would have future consequences with driving and continuing to work which he says he needs and lives for. It gives him a reason to get up in the morning.
Thanks for reading and your thoughts.
Doesn't the diagnosis unlock the door to lots of other forms of support, including with his memory deterioration? I guess I'd want to look for the benefits & try to sell him on those. I might try to pitch to him that I know he wants to be a responsible and brave person. It would be irresponsible not to acknowledge that age is having an effect on him, but he can take some control by recognising the situation for what it is.
85 & still working is impressive! But he must know it can't go on forever. And he wouldn't want a customer to take advantage of him due to his failing memory. When you say a sole trader I think of people with street stalls. Could he switch to working with a partner who does the driving, so still get to work but take a lesser role & not have to drive?
When I say sole trader he has his own limited company and the service he provides is very specialised and he draws on his 40 year career.
Unfortunately, he does think he can go on working forever, it has been a bone of contention between him and my mum over the last 5 years!
demtia and driving ? what would DVLA say? He needs to acknowledge it and what he can/ can`t do. I don`t see a street trader as a sole trader! I was one (fitness). sell the support side of diagnosis so maybe he CAN carry on safely and be better at his work/ life skills?
Is driving core to providing his specialist service or could he do his job without having to drive to places? And what IS the risk of a customer defrauding him?
Anyway, life changes. Maybe I'll resist when I'm 85, too. But always good to show you can be adaptable as needs change.
We had a whole discussion at work about what is a sole trader. In the context of was is it more of an office job or more like a skilled trade. The others assumed it was something to do with (shoe) soles! I know it has a for-tax-purposes definition, but we didn't think we could figure it out beyond that.
It does not matter if he has a diagnosis or not. If he is not fit to drive then he should not be putting other people’s lives at risk.
Both my parents had dementia. Firstly, my father and my mother was his carer. There was no support.
Yes, it should be up to him if he wants to pursue a diagnosis, provided he still has capacity to understand his decision. The driving is a separate issue, and if you think he is a danger, you should take that up with DVLA and with his GP. My father stopped driving because the insurance premiums were too high, and I didn't offer any help in find a lower quote.
A dementia diagnosis is scary because you know there isn't any cure, that there's many years ahead of declining capacity and autonomy, and the world is full of people bleating about "keeping your DF safe" by which they mean keeping him physically alive to endure an even longer period of torment.
My elderly aunt kept clipping other drivers wing mirrors when driving and getting lost (unable to work out a detour on a familiar route). Got lost coming back on her own from somewhere she'd been driving to for 30 years. Think of someone driving at 20 mph up the A1 ! She was evaluated at the memory clinic and failed the spatial awareness tests and advised to stop driving. Diagnosed with age related dementia. Unfortunately as she refused to accept that she should no longer drive i wrote to the DVLA when her licence came up for renewal the week afterwards and told them not to renew it - the GP didnt want to get involved
Set her up with an account with a local taxi firm to take her shopping/hairdressers each week. Much less stressful all round!
Memory clinic was very helpful with links to Age Concern and Admiral nurses to provide support and direct access to paid carers and dementia cafes etc
I think it should be up to him as well. It sounds like the diagnosis AND loss of job would not be a good combination. Can he be persuaded to reduce his hours and pursue something else purposeful/enjoyable?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
What's his driving actually like? That's the key issue, not the diagnosis.
What's his ability to run the business like? Again that's the thing not the diagnosis.
If he is competent to drive and run his business, then the diagnosis shouldn't mean he has to stop those things, but might mean he is able to access medication that slows down his deterioration and hence can continue as he is for longer.
Just an update.
He has agreed that the best thing is for him to go to get a diagnosis one way or the other.
His driving at the moment is fine, I am a passenger occasionally and there is nothing that worries me about other road users safety. I think he has done some research himself and the statistic that one in three will initially keep their licence worried him.
He has accepted now that although at the moment he is still capable of work, his indemnity insurer will almost certainly cancel his policy if he gets a diagnosis.
It was very sad to watch my lovely dad realise his life could irrevocably change in a couple of weeks.
Thanks for all your replies.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.