Smart geriatric assessment and case managers interview care recipients separately from caregivers in order to get a better perspective on a case. This provides more information than an ailing senior may want to share. Many families and seniors appear to be in denial. When a senior keeps getting lost on the way home, he or she is putting everyone else on the road at risk. Since a simple driver’s test will not necessarily diagnose unsafe driving habits, family doctors, provided with information from family or caseworkers, have the authority to demand that a driver’s licence be taken away. Without the option for case managers to inform family members and ask that seniors be taken for medical diagnosis of symptoms such as dementia, the seniors and families are powerless to access more supports. Many seniors are able to exhibit “normal” behaviour and refuse supports as they convince health care professionals that they are fine. CCAC provides only limited care immediately following a hospital stay.
Dad’s driver’s licence was rescinded because of his medications and the possibility of a seizure, and this hit his ego hard. This is the law in Ontario. Family physicians have an obligation to report medical issues that affect driving ability. Mom could not travel easily, due to her colitis, and had not driven in many years. I remember her reading up on her driving manual, trying to ace the annual test for seniors. Transportation is an issue that can prove difficult for many seniors. For my Dad, it was shameful to lose this independence, another issue that contributed to his morose demeanour. Unfortunately, my mother passed the driver’s test, but required help from neighbours in navigating the minivan in and out of the driveway from time to time. I wish I had been told. This was a major sign that all was not well and that their living circumstances were not ideal for them.