New Column! Caregiver SupportDec 22, 2022 11:03AM ● By Dr. Laird Landon, PHD
Laird Landon cared for his wife Marilyn for 10 years as she battled a rare form of dementia. From that experience came Laird’s new purpose: helping caregivers with support groups, writing and speaking as chair of the Caregiver Support Foundation.
Being a caregiver has many challenges, and we hope that this new column can help. If you have a question about caregiving, email Laird in care of the BEACON or email him at [email protected].
Dear Laird: I’m starting to feel fearful of my husband’s driving. He has always been the one to drive, so when I mention my concerns or ask him to let me drive, it always starts a quarrel. Do you have any solutions?
Laird: The loss of a patient’s driving skill is a big deal to everyone involved. The patient can get lost, be involved in an accident and perhaps hurt himself or someone else.
The hard part is that driving is also a part of his self-worth—it is the flip side of being a teenager and becoming independent. For some couples, it’s a division of labor. So, when we look to change that balance, your roles are threatened: You become a parent and he loses the position of keeping you safe.
In some cases, he might be able to continue to drive for a while. Going to the store (take care about parking), or common routes he knows well might be okay. Do avoid freeways and other high-traffic volume routes. Negotiating rules to limit danger may keep you safe and let him continue to drive for a bit longer.
If you feel like you really do need to make a change, ask for your doctor to help. The doctor’s authority may be enough to help him cope with losing the keys to the car. If not, a doctor can prescribe an evaluation by a state certified driving instructor. From that person, you may both learn new ways to be safe behind the wheel. If, however, your husband’s evaluation is unacceptable, he may lose his license, but that is better than someone getting hurt or losing their life.
Visit www.family-caregiver.org for more support with your caregiving challenges.