How should we bring up the subject of not driving any more to my elder mother?

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independence will be taken away from her. How should we handle?

6 Comments

I know this is a sensitive topic, but the topic should be brought up with her, because it could lead to something dangerous. Just preface it by saying that you are only doing this because you care for her and her safety.

Does she have friends/neighbors that can still drive that can give her rides? Before you talk to her, maybe compile a list of phone numbers & names of friends, neighbors, family members that are there for her whenever she needs a ride. This may make her feel better, to know that there are other options. Naturally, she will be a bit upset, because as you said, her independence is being taken away, but hopefully it's not long lasting.

Good luck to you!

Best,
Jackie
This was a tough one for us. When it came to mom, we took her to her DR. He did a full exam and told her that in his medical professional opinion, she should not be driving anymore. He explained response time to her and how easy it would be for her to cause a serious accident. She never drove again. Dad was not so easily dissuaded. We had to disable his car, but he fixed it at 90 years old. Finally we just removed it since it was in mom's name and sold it. By then, he realized that he could not longer drive.
I was there to take him where he wanted to go and mom to the DR. and shopping. When dad dies, mom moved in with me and is totally dependent now. Yes, it is sad, but it is important to take that license. Good luck.
An important transition begins when the amount of driving is reduced. The threat to an aging adult’s independence is less of an issue if change in routine is gradual. As driving slowly becomes less and less a part of an individual’s routine, the less the individual will feel the desire to drive. The time period immediately following a major illness is a suitable time to have the discussion about driving and to set up a plan to limit driving. Medical and/or eye doctors can be prevailed upon to write letters to the local department of motor vehicles. In this manner a concerned child or loved one can utilize “the system” and have a trained professional evaluate the driving capabilities of an aging or compromised loved one. Most DMVs will send the individual a card to report for an update license check.
I like these comments. It puts the onus on the professionals to take away the driving privileges, rather than the family. In my Mom's case she lost vision in one eye because of macular degeneration, yet insisted on driving on the back roads to church. When presented with the fact that she couldn't see a little kid or a dog running out on her left side and might hit them before she could stop, it got her attention. She FINALLY (and believe me, it took a lot of convincing) agreed to not renew her car insurance when it came due which was two months down the road. (I think the xx amount of dollars/year on insurance when she really wasn't driving that much was the kicker for a depression-era mom). During that time we worked on getting other people to pick her up for church and drive her home. That got the new routine started while she still was street legal, but it got her out of the habit. As soon as the insurance ran, we sold the car.
I would discuss this with her doctor and let him be your intervention.
Mother and I estimated her expenses for maintenance, gas, parking garage fee at her residence, insurance, etc., and figured out that she could call a taxi a few times a month, especially if she shared with someone else (generally that "someone" was asking her to take them somewhere!". the amount she received for her car went a far way for such fares, too. We also discussed a couple of scares she had with a flat tire, and getting a little lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood where the roads had been reconstructed--she was out of her element--and had fortunately been helped by a kind stranger, but it could have been different both times.
I told her that since I can't be with her, it would give me more peace of mind if she would just not be out on her own in her car anymore. She still misses being able to go on her own if she needs to or wants to, but she did understand the fear she had those times and relented.

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