How to take things away from my proud father

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    My father is showing signs of dementia and probably has been for some time. Im not as close to my dad i should be but things will have to change now. I never though about this with much detail befor now. I wish i had. He still knows what is going on around him and takes care of himself. I went to his house and noticed there w a s no food in the refrigerator. When i asked him whats going on he responded with i cant remember where the grocery store is. I could take care of this no problem. My issue is and it seems simple but i need to tell him to give me the keys to his car because he should not be driving anymore and i have to take his guns out of his house. My dad was a professional truck driver with awards for safty both from his company and the state, for never getting in an accident or so much as a ticket. He is also a pround member of the nra. He hasn’t used his guns in for along time now due to tremors in his hands. I’m looking for the right way to engage these matters. I know i will get resistance but if i could avoid a fight that would be best.



    Hi mike,

    You can play an important role in your father’s health and safety by becoming involved now.  It sounds like on some level he knows that he is having difficulty driving, and is afraid to go out and to do his grocery shopping.

    Your father needs to be evaluated by his Doctor to determine if he has dementia or other medical conditions that could cause confusion and difficulty driving, and a Doctor is required by law to report to the DMV medical conditions or disorders that he/she feels could interfere with your father’s driving.  Also, you as a family member can write a letter and report to the DMV that you are concerned about his driving ability.  This will trigger the DMV to order a reexamination process that will assess your father’s driving ability, and determine whether he can continue driving.  More information can be found by calling your local DMV office and asking about the Senior Driver program, in California this info can be found at

    Offer your father alternatives to driving and getting what he needs such as groceries, and research other ways for your father to travel such as buses, shuttles, paratransit, friends, etc.  Now is the time to gather all your father’s resources (friends and family members) to help him.

    As far as his guns, talk to the Doctor about this situation, it is also very concerning and at the very least the bullets should be taken out of the guns. Reach out to your Doctor (and other Health Care professionals your father sees) to help you with these difficult conversations which will help avoid a conflict between the two of you.



    Thanks for the info. These are the routes we are taking. I removed all the ammo. from his house and checked all his guns last week, so far so good. I am talking with his Dr. now about testing to see what is actually going on with my father. For now I will let the results from these tests take his driving privileges away. I will just be there as much as I can to insure he doesn’t drive until then.
    Yesterday he noticed bullets were missing. And went to show me a loaded gun. Only to find out there was no bullets in it. When he discovered this he was confused at first then tried to blame me. I said, why would I do that, and the blame went to my wife. I told him I would help look for the bullets later and that we were doing something else right now. I preoccupied him and he forgot about it.
    1 down, 1 to go. Many more to come.
    There is help out there, even just to make sure we are on the right path. I asked his Dr., who helped with questions and she put me in touch with a counselor who spoke with her superiors about more specifics such as the gun insue, and people liike you.
    Thanks for your help,

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by mike.


    Hi Mike,

    These transitions can be very tricky. It sounds like you are on the right track.


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