Mom is still argumentative about the car and gives the caregivers fits about driving.

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Thanks y'all, here's the background/questions. My mom's dementia is undiagnosed. We originally hired caregivers for Dad, and then we all began to notice mom's decline. Her PA, (the only doc she'll see in their very small town) did a basic memory test in August and she failed tremendously. At that time we were trying to get help from him in stating NO MORE DRIVING, due to the # of "accidents" which she had. She still perseverates on the driving, keys are hidden but every time they go anywhere it's a problem. Some days she acquiesces somewhat amiably, but others is very vocal in her anger. She is on Xanax, and is given one on "driving days" as soon as she awakens. We have considered moving the car to another place on the property, but she is bothered when she can't see it. Also, considered selling it, but we would like the caregivers to have a car for transport that is comfortable for mom and dad and doesn't require them using personal vehicles for family business. The scenario of why she can't drive changes in her head, and she has visited all public officials in this little town to plead her case. They are all old friends of the family, and kindly tell her to accept being driven, and NO she can't drive herself unless she wants to end up in the pokey! She will laugh and accept it, but 20 minutes later at home, forgets she has spoken to anyone and it all starts over again.
Hope this is not too long, I could go on and on.
Thank you to anyone who has input. God bless,

21 Comments

Have tried saying "maybe tomorrow"? It might mollify her.
My mom was determined her kids were not going to tell her she couldn't drive. Her doctor helped out by sending a policeman to take her license. She has a respect for police authority that worked for us. Of course she doesn't remember what she forgot, so we have to remind her that it wasn't our choice, but the doctor's & policeman's. It is truly amazing what they fixate on and actually do remember even if it is fantasy. My mom has repeated the same fictional scenario relating to my sister and my father's death for the last 5 years. It is 100% complete fantasy. She remembers this BS, but she can't remember anything that has actually happened.
Hi Shelley....I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if it's not driving that irritates your mother, it will be something else. My husband and I went through this same thing with his mother. After she "farmed" our yard, we decided her driving days were over. We finally told her the battery was dead and that was that. We took the keys and cancelled the insurance. It doesn't matter to a lot of the elderly whether or not they have a license....when they are dead set on driving they will regardless. Our fear is not so much for them, but the innocent person out there that could suffer because of their limitations. You may have to wait this out and eventually that thought process may be lost. This is a hard part of care giving but it is one of those where we have to stand very firm since it involves others, not just our loved ones. Good luck!
My mom was very frail and in the hospital last January. When she came out I told her not to drive... after discussing it with her for years. She turned 92 that January.

In April she paid the cleaning lady to drive her to the hospital to be tested. After sneaking out, they told her she scored at the top of 92 year olds! She was so proud, she couldn't keep the secret from me. When I learned, I wondered what scoring at the top of 92 year olds in intelligence has to do with driving. Her cardiologist NEVER told her not to drive. He would NOT be even cautious about it. He sort of believed it would continue her spirit of independence.

She later passed an hour long driving test. When they said good bye to her, the testers told her to plan to stop driving like she planned for retirement when she was 65! My mom had lied to them the whole time. She last worked when she was about 25 yrs old. She married my dad and never worked an outside job again... but they were telling her to think about her retirement! I was stunned. They fell for her lies...

She didn't really drive much after that. She NEVER liked others to be hired to drive her. She complained the whole time. The last picture we have of her is toasting with a glass of champagne in April when she passed the driving test. It was a HUGELY happy moment for her. She passed away at the end of October....still driving, just a little bit, just locally in the day light.

We all did out best. Wishing you the best in this journey.
The last time I was in the license bureau renewing my own license there was one person ahead of me.....a small, elderly woman who tottered to the chair. She gave them her information without a problem and then turned to the machine where the road signs are to be identified. I don't know if she just didn't know what they were or couldn't see them clearly. I stood and listened while the person administering the test told her exactly what each item was, told her congratulations, stand up please for your picture and out the door she went just as happy as she could be! I'm sure this is a problem in other places as well. These people think they are okay just because they were issued that little card. Many times in my 25 yrs in EMS I treated a lot of elderly who put their cars into ditches, trees, down hills, other cars and didn't have licenses. When this problem comes up, I always think of "Driving Miss Daisy".
Had this experiance with one of my charges... she was adamant she could drive, she hadn't drivin in years, but when that thought filtered thru her mind, it was on...... I tried many many things and finally just resigned myself to being a Chatty Cathy Caregiver..... her: blah blah blah Me: the car is in the shop, her: blah blah blah, me,: the car is in the shop...... sometimes we would do this for hours.... I learned to get up and do things around the house, with her following me with blah blah blah, and my answer stayed the same..... she would get aggressive sometimes, so always tried to stay out of arms reach....
It is our responsiblity to keep them off the roads, no matter what it takes, or how boring it gets, or how many times we say the same thing.... I couldn't live with myself if something happened.....
And possibly you can let her know you will cancell what ever appt she has if she gives the caregiver a hard time... she won't remember this of course, but then follow thru... if it's not a life or death appt... pick your battles.....
I agree with Jam. If it's not the driving that she's upset about it will be something else. It took years for my mother to adjust to not being able to drive. Her dementia made it impossible to remember that she was not cognizant enough to drive. The irony is that she didn't forget that she once did! lol

My father tried to prove to her that she was not safe driving by taking a test run with her in a parking lot. She couldn't remember which pedals to use. Did it help? No because 30 minutes later she wanted to try again due to forgetting. Yet she did remember that he was going to let her drive for a bit.
It did help my father accept her condition.

I learned to just shrug it off when she became angry and say "oh well". Getting into an argument with someone who can't remember what they did 5 minutes ago is futile.

Now that's she's in the nursing home with other dementia patients she's become more accepting of her condition. Mostly because her disease has progressed. She no longer argues about what she doesn't remember as being untrue. I suppose she's given up the fight. She lost her spunk . . . I miss that part of her . . . now.
I agree with Rackem, as that scenario worked for us. My MIL's PCP, a wonderful dr., threatened to call the police and report her to DOT if he found out from us if she were still driving. Since my husband has POA and is listed on many of her accounts, my husband told her he could be sued as well should she injure someone in an accident, and her actions would also devastate our lives and that of her two grandchildren. That worked. She is now in AL (she could have a car there), We sold the car, and she still laments not driving, but amazingly remembers, "You could be sued."
Hard to keep on topic. This is about dementia. My Dad does not have that, but shouldn't drive due to balance and probably not having reflexes and he has spells where he can't remember stuff. We have to keep them off the road.... regardless of age. I know a 96-yr old who drives and my mom drove until she was 86 and I trusted her on the road - because she honestly knew her limitations.
My mother also has dementia. She refused to stop driving as well. Her dr. would not do anything about it either. I went online to DMV website and printed out a form to report unsafe drivers. We put down the she is memory impaired and sent it in. DMV sent my mother a letter along with a form for her dr. to fill out and send back in to DMV. The dr. wrote on the form she should not be driving due to memory impairment. Her license was revoked. The whole process took about 6 weeks, mom signed the pink slip over to my sister so the car is not at mom's house where it will be a temptation for her to drive it. Why her dr. wouldn't report her is beyond me...other than he wanted to make sure we did it so we couldn't come back on him for having done it(?). The long and short of this is that I would think all states have something like this thru their DMV websites and reporting is kept anonymous. Yes she remembers that she can't drive and brings it up from time to time. We have peace of mind knowing that she isn't on the road and in a moment in time she needs to react quickly and pushes the gas pedal instead of the break won't happen.

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