You are here: Home / Caregiving Information / FAQ / General Information FAQs / FAQs #12

FAQs #12

Provided here are all currently available questions with answers. You may return to your select point of entry or continue here, reading along for general information gathering. The following is not intended as a substitute for qualified legal, financial, psychological, or tax counseling. Please consult your attorney, financial consultant, or tax advisor as applicable.
Questions and Answers

Q12. My father was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Although he has responded well to the medications he does experience periods of confusion and some problem with memory; he is also moodier than ever. Dad continues to drive. I'm afraid that he may need to surrender his license but I'm afraid to bring up the subject. Seems as though my father and my mother, who is also quite frail, get very upset whenever I attempt to discuss adjustments or changes in lifestyle. Help.

A12. Nancy Driskill:
>Periods of confusion and memory problems can be associated with Parkinson's Disease and the medications used to control tremors and rigidity. These drugs can also cause the "moodiness" you refer to. But in addition, the mounting physical losses your dad is experiencing can be a source of frustration and depression, increasing the severity of all these symptoms.<cite>

Your dad's compromised agility and dexterity as well as his short term memory impairment are all indications that he may be at risk behind the wheel of a car. His physician may be willing to write a letter to the DMV to alert them to the fact that Dad may need to be re-evaluated and tested for a license. This letter will prompt the DMV to notify your dad about the need for a retest and this very often is all that is needed to keep him from driving.

There are more devious means of handling things like disabling the car or hiding the keys. Some have taken the car to a mechanic after a fictitious mechanical problem and arranged with the mechanic that he'll never repair it! These are therapeutically deceptive techniques that work, but still cause frustration.

The fact of the matter is, the inability to drive is a severe blow to one's sense of independence and control. It is not realistic or fair to expect that Dad will not have feelings which require expression. They are legitimate feelings of loss and anger and should not be denied or ignored, but allowed appropriate venting. There is no way for even the most loving and responsible son or daughter to be able to prevent these feelings for our parent. To support them in their process is to allow the resolution of the pain and promote positive adjustment.


Monica Keefe:
>It seems as though you have at least three issues in your question, those being 1) MedicalMedication; 2) Driving; and 3) Communication. I'll address them each separately.

      MEDICATION/MEDICAL —
      >You have indicated that your father does have, Parkinson's Disease. One of the difficult things to sort out is how much of his problem has to do with what is actually the dementia of Parkinson's (which indeed can cause confusion, moodiness and behavior changes) and how much might be medication related. The medications for Parkinson's are well known to contribute to confusion, and certainly depression. It is a difficult dilemma, because the medications are needed to help a person maintain their ability to move, and just generally keep going. If it hasn't been done recently, a good medical exam might be in order to make sure there is not something new going on, and also to perhaps re-evaluate his medications. It is also possible to consider a mild antidepressant which might help his overall quality of life, as well as diminish some of his other symptoms.<cite>

      DRIVING —
      >This raises the question of whether or not he is safe to drive. It is possible that he is not, due to his disease process as well as his medications. It is possible to get a letter of concern from the physician and have it sent to the Motor Vehicle Department in Denver. They may then choose to contact him and ask him to come in for a driving test. (Refer this also to ELIZABETH KELLY for more information about competency and legal issues.)<cite>

      COMMUNICATION —
      >You are clearly living through a very difficult time, in trying to care for your parents, while you watch them grow more frail and needy. It might be helpful to find a therapist who works with multigenerational issues who can help you through some family meetings to talk about everyone's needs, and how they can be met appropriately. Additionally, if you are so inclined, you might find it helpful to be able to speak to a therapist about some of your own issues and needs as you go through this difficult time.<cite>

Go Back

Member Showcase

Lorri Flint
Synergy HomeCare
2919 17th Ave, Suite 215
Longmont, CO 80503
970-373-1558

Expertise:
Home Care Services : Non-Medical

Email Lorri Flint