We recently spoke with a colleague who told me how he had been asked to mediate between several family members and their father (with incipient Alzheimers) who refused to cease driving. Try as they did, their father wouldn’t budge — even with my friend’s intervention. The children then decided to confer with their Dad’s physician.
Alarmed by what family members told her and with their consent, the doctor contacted their state’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles and recommended their father take a driving test. The Agency agreed. However, when their father received notice of the impending driving test, he decided to forego it and reluctantly stopped driving.
Their plan seemed to have worked: An increasingly bitter dispute between Dad and his family ended. And while foregoing the driver’s test may have been humbling, worse would have been failing it. Worst of all would have been an accident in which someone was injured.
But I kept thinking: What if, instead of going behind their Dad’s back, his family members had involved him in the process? Then he would have been part of the conversation and hopefully had a sense of ownership about any decision regarding his future driving. Yes, their Dad could have refused to leave his driving future in the hands of the DMV. Then, as a last resort, his family could have followed through on its original plan and have the doctor contact the DMV secretly. And there’s always the possibility that their Dad could have agreed to take the test, pass it, and continue driving.
Tough call. What would you have done? Is there yet another way they may have engaged their Dad in the decision process? Have you been in this situation? If so, what did you do? Please let us hear from you.