When Is It Time to Take Away the Keys?

By Marianne E. Kreisher Esq., CELA on November 5, 2018

photo-1533558701576-23c65e0272fbNo one enjoys being stripped of their freedom, and no one succumbs to the loss of freedom willingly. It’s something inherent in human beings, the desire to be free. Unfortunately, as we age, there may come a time in life when our physical and mental limitations affect our way of life—a life that we’ve taken for granted for so many years—and ignoring this may put several lives at risk.

What’s worse, these limitations may have to be imposed on us by those we love and trust most.

For someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, this loss of control can happen rapidly and with a fair amount of contention, for both the senior and the family. Here are two major issues that you might encounter:

Driving

Taking away the car keys is not an easy decision to make. It’s difficult for caregivers on many levels. Not only are they witnessing the person they know disappear, but this removal of independence is a landmark in the process, bringing on an increase in responsibility of care and a painful reminder of the future. But, as caregivers, we know that this decision must be made for the benefit of not only the person with the disease, but for others on the road.

Here in Pennsylvania, physicians, chiropractors, physician assistants, certified registered nurse practitioners and other persons authorized to diagnose and treat disorders must report to PennDOT any individual diagnosed with a condition that could impair his/her ability to drive. Once a report is made, PennDOT will conduct an evaluation that could lead to a possible reexamination of the patient, in order to maintain his or her legal driving status. Your loved one’s doctor should be on the lookout for these things.

Gun Ownership

On a more difficult note, few things can raise the ire of a long-time gun owner than the thought of having his or her firearms taken away. Unfortunately, when Alzheimer’s disease spreads to a certain point, removing the gun is probably in everyone’s best interests. This can be a touchy issue, and caregivers may begin sneaking the guns away, or hiding them in a secure location. But as any responsible gun owner knows, gun safety is paramount. These tools must be respected.

Speak to an Elder Care Lawyer for Guidance

When caregivers are faced with these difficult life decisions, it’s important to know that help is just a phone call away. At the Law Offices of Kreisher & Gregorowicz, we have decades of experience in dealing with elder care law in Columbia County and we’re sensitive to the needs of family members during these stressful times. Contact us at (570) 784-5211 for more information.

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Posted in: Elder Law