Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Encore: What? Take Away My Car.....!!!!

Some readers have asked me to republish some of my more popular older posts. This article, first published in June, 2008, deals with one of the stickiest problems faced by caregivers of loved ones with dementia.

In the September 2003 issue of the AARP Bulletin, John Eberhard, former senior research psychologist at the National Highway Safety Administration, wrote, “Telling seniors they can no longer drive is as hard as telling them they have terminal cancer.”

What caregiver has not faced this issue? How to tell Mom or Dad that it isn’t safe for them to drive and to hand over the car keys? For me, this was one of the hardest things I had to face in the 16 years of being my mother’s caregiver. I write about it in my book. See the chapter entitled: “Should a Caregiver be a Cargiver?”

As a society, we need to become much more creative about meeting the need for independence and transportation mobility among older adults while at the same time protecting the public’s need for protection from sensory deprived drivers. Fortunately, there are several new models of transportation systems that bring exciting possibilities to this sticky issue. To my mind, the one that deserves the most attention is the Independent Transportation Network® and ITNAmerica™.

Here is a quote from ITN’s website:

“ITN provides rides with door-to-door, arm-through-arm service to thousands of seniors nationwide. It's a truly innovative solution with unique programs that allow older people to trade their own cars to pay for rides, and enable volunteer drivers to store transportation credits for their own future transportation needs. ITN's Road Scholarship Program converts volunteer credits into a fund for low-income riders, and the gift certificate program helps adult children support their parents' transportation needs from across the street or across the nation.”

I strongly recommend the review of the ITN website by all community leaders interested in addressing this important issue:


I think you will find it to be innovative and challenging, and worthy of widespread emulation.

Bob Tell
Author "Dementia Diary, A Caregivers Journal"


childofprussia said...

Thanks for this post! Driving is sure a problem for our family since my Dad came down with dementia. It's always been a point of grief for him, but his grief turned into anger as his dementia symptoms became worse. Now that he's no longer aware of his dementia diagnosis, he's suspicious about why he can't drive, and he has lashed out at us because of it from time to time as well. We don't really have a solution to this problem, even though we've been living with it for three years. I'd love to hear from anyone with similar experiences, because we feel somewhat alone through all this (I can be reached through my blog). Thanks!

Bob Tell said...

Thanks for your comment. People have told me that the chapter about this in my book, "Dementia Diary," has brought them much laughter and relief from the tensions of this issue. If you mean that you want to hear about similar experiences to what you are going through with your Dad, (even though it may seem like a shameless commercial) I recommend my book. I couldn't find your email address on your blog, so I hope you get this reply.