With power of attorney, can I keep Dad from renewing his driver's license?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 07, 2016
Melzma asked...

I have had my parents with me for 8 years. They can not physically take care of themselves on their own. I have Power of Attorney for both. The biggest challenge I am facing right now is with my father. I allowed his drivers license to lapse-he hasn't driven in 10 years-but now he wants to drive again. Morally I feel obligated to keep him from behind the wheel-he cannot physically operate a vehicle. I have talked to him about it many times but he is either forgetting that he agreed with me or something else. He recently got a new pair of glasses and thinks that makes him safe. I am at my wits end.

Expert Answers

Elizabeth Dugan, a Fellow of the Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts Boston, is the author of Driving Dilemma: The Complete Resource Guide for Older Drivers and Their Families.

Thanks for your question. Dealing with a medically impaired loved one who keeps talking about driving, when he/she is not at all fit to drive, is really tough. To me it sounds like you have handled this quite well. His license expired, he is not legally permitted to drive - so you are perfectly right to keep him from behind the wheel. But I'd guess that it is the ongoing dialogue that is exhausting. I can't tell what his medical conditions are, but it is likely that cognitive impairment is involved. In that case, redirect his attention. You will never give him the answer he's seeking (and if you do he will forget it) -- so try redirecting the conversation to something else. It doesn't seem like it now, but this phase will pass. Hang in there, you are doing a great service.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

A durable, general power of attorney is a legal instrument designed to allow another person to handle your affairs when you are unable or unwilling to do so. Your father can revoke this power of attorney. I think the challenge is the idea that a power of attorney can be used to force someone to do something, not assist.