Father lost independence because he could no longer drive

from: Longevity Explorers | Aging in Place Technology

Discussion Summary

The Problem

My father did not have the strength or cognitive ability to drive a car safely. Driving a scooter provided some independence, but he was ultimately prevented from driving it due to liability concerns at the assisted living facility. He could not live in his own home without regular care. If he was at home, he would have had to handle times when no caregiver showed up, which he would not have done well. He could have driven his scooter, however.

He did not want to use a taxi or the shuttle provided by the assisted living facility. This did not satisfy him. We could find no way to provide him what he valued most, his ability to travel independently.

Who has the problem?

My father had this problem. He was 86 to 89 when he had this problem in 2005 to 2008. He lived in assisted living. He was born and raised on a farm in Montana, and he was a brilliant engineer with many patents to his name. He ran a large engineering organization at times. He was used to being independent.

What are their aspirations (relating to this problem)?

My father wanted life to be like it was before he had to move to assisted living. He wanted to be able to do things on his own. If he could have continued to travel on his own, he would have been happier.

A self driving car may have helped, if it were available at the time. They won't be able to help for years to come.

Context

My father had to move to an assisted living facility during the last 3 years of his life. He missed being at home and working in his garden, although he was unable to take care of himself at home. He could not drive, which was a major issue. He had little social interaction after my mother died. She was his social connection to the world. 

He used a scooter to go shopping until he had an accident and was no longer allowed to use his scooter. He had the ability to drive the scooter, but the assisted living facility was concerned about their liability. The were concerned about injury to my father or to others. Being able to go where he wanted to go was very important to him. He would go out every day. Sometimes to a store, and often just to get out.

We did provide him with a credit card and cash, so he felt a little independent, but when he couldn't go out on his scooter, he felt he had lost all independence. He declined quickly after that and died a few months later. He spent most of his last months sitting in his room alone doing nothing.

 

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Thing(s): 
Key words: 
independence, driving