My sisters and I have asked my Mom not to drive anymore. She is listening to us but laying so much guilt on us, how do we not give in to her and her guilt trip?

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My Mom is listening to us, and not driving. I know that she knows in her heart it is not safe. It's just the daily dumping of guilt. She's trapped in her house, can't go to the grocery store to buy food, can't visit her friends, condemned her to a live of isolation. We're busting to make sure we get her to everything. I work full time and almost exclusively use my vacation for her. I'm to the point of breaking down and telling her to go ahead and drive. I just get so tired, like everyone else. No end in sight, except a bad ending. After 4 1/2 years, I am just so tired.

Answers 1 to 10 of 21
Gardendreamer, you're not alone. Oh boy, have I ever been there! My brother and I had to stop my mother from driving almost 5 years ago and it was ROUGH! She was 86 and just simply shouldn't have been on the road anymore. There were a few fender benders and near misses and we worried SO much that she was going to hurt herself or, worse, someone else. What really pushed the issue was her having hip replacement surgery and having to stay in rehab for a month afterward. We figured she wouldn't be able to walk too well and she would see the sense of giving up her car when she got home. NOT! During physical therapy they taught her how to get in and out of a fake car in the hospital, on the DRIVER'S SIDE, for heaven's sake! What were they thinking?? She was 86 - they should've known better. It was like they were urging her to get behind the wheel as soon as she got out of rehab. It didn't help us when we made our case for her to stop driving, that's for sure.

When we sat her down for "the talk", she most certainly did not give in gracefully. There was yelling and cursing (uncharacteristically, for her). It was pretty traumatic for me; I still have dreams about that awful scene. Luck was with us though: shortly after we broached the subject with her, her drivers license renewal came in the mail. There was a medical questionnaire with a question like Do you suffer from seizures or dizziness, and yup, our mom had been getting vertigo for years, off and on. We had her doctor talk to her about it and we ended up selling her car a few days later. She kept asking why, why, why, like a five year old, just asking us why every single day. It was the early phase of her dementia, and she wanted us to explain it to her over and over. We'd say Well, they won't renew your license because you get dizzy, and she'd say Oh, that's right. Then she'd ask again 5 minutes later. She didn't really guilt us that much, because we blamed it on the DMV and said her doctor wouldn't sign a letter saying she was okay to drive. Actually, I'm sure the DMV would've issued her a renewed license without even questioning it, but we certainly didn't tell her that. As far as she knew, she wasn't "allowed" to get her license and keep on driving.

She did get kind of snarky about it to strangers, though. She'd bring it up without provocation to many different nurses, waitresses and ER workers. "When I USED to drive...", "Before THEY made me stop driving...", etc. She was like a kid complaining about her parents to any stranger who'd listen. I would just sit tight and not say a word. It somehow passed, though. She hasn't brought up driving in probably 3 years. I think she knows that she wouldn't know what to do if she ever sat in the drivers seat again.

As for being tired, yeah, I am too. She used to like to drive all over the place, literally just cruise around town out of boredom after my father died. So she was constantly trying to get me to bring her out. I work, so fitting those joy rides into my day was pretty stressful. I pretty much just drive her to the doctor now, along with a few rides just so she can get out. She gets dizzy and carsick more frequently now, but that doesn't stop her from trying to get brought out for a ride every time I go over there (she lives with my brother, BTW). I know that this too shall pass and after she's gone I'll have good, sad memories of those rides with her, but, in the here and now, those rides and her childishness are frustrating the hell out of me. I just want to live my own life again. It really is very tiring and that's just one aspect of my relationship with her and my brother. The whole thing is just stressing the hell out of me.

Wishing you all peace....

Top Answer
Have you looked at hiring someone to take her to grocery store and to visit friends? Check yellow pages and local senior centers as you might find some sources. Also, check out neighborhood teenagers who would take her and pick her up for reasonable fees (kind of like how you would pay a sitter). Maybe if she has specific people to call for rides (that you pay for), she'll feel more independent again and maybe let up on you. Good luck.
gardendreamer, the buses around here have a smaller version that can hold maybe a dozen people. You have to qualify for it, but that shouldn't be a problem for most old people that can no longer drive. The mini bus thing takes people to doctor appointments, grocery stores etc. It's not like a taxi that will be at your beck and call, but it's close enough for government work. Check it out.
Oh yes,the guilt,but in my heart I know my mom is safer not driving,we sold her car and now its my fault,lol.there are enough senior sevice volenteers and etc,of coursr we drive her to the dr.I do the shopping.the bus comes to the house everyday and takes her to the senior center,somewhere along the line it gets better,but DON`T be guilty of anything you do to keep her safe.hus to you and prayers.
I had a elderly neighbor a few years ago who described having her keys taken away as a "little death." It is the last bit of freedom many seniors have and when it comes to an end, regardless of the solid reasons, it is devastating.
For my Mom, it was seeing her little car, that she cared for with TLC, being driven off by the person to whom she sold it.
I can empathize - no one wants to be "dependent" on someone else for a ride.
Garden: do not continue using all your vacation time for your Mom. Arrange for a paid caregiver to do her grocery shopping etc. If she is mobile, a caregiver can take her to the store, appts, etc. I learned to do the things Mom needed first, the things she wanted second, when I had the time. Also, there are so many low cost or no cost transportation services here for seniors. We have a cab service that charges 75 cents round trip. Many pharmacies, grocery stores, and restaurants deliver.
You need a break from it all or you will need a caregiver too.
Please be assured you are doing the right thing. If you and your family feel as though your Mom is no longer a safe driver, and she is complying, you are probably correct. Your post does not mention her current health situation. Is she capable of caring for herself? Have you considered suggesting public transportation? Maybe a quick taxi ride to see a friend or take a trip to the grocery store? There are options if she is physically able to get around on her own. You mentioned her friends, are there any friends who drive and might come by to spend time with her,take her shopping or simply out to a movie?
Do not let your Mom make you feel guilt over something that, as she has complied with your request, she knows is best for her own health and safety. Research the options and then suggest them to her. If she dismisses them out of hand, let the guilt go. I understand it is hard but, as I am sure you have considered, it is a far better option than allowing her to put herself in an unsafe situation.
This is one of the hardest for Americans. Our cars are friends and necessary appendages in our lives and after some 60 years of seeing yourself as a person with a car, it can be very hard to give that up. Acknowledge the pain and hassle and how it may make your mom feel but if she is truly a danger to her self and others when behind the wheel it is no longer about her wants but about the needs of society to be protected from yet another person who simply and not so simply should not be behind the wheel of an automobile. Remind her you love her and care and want what is best but that in this she has not got control. Find other areas she is still competent to handle her self and give her other options. Are cabs or the bus and option a friend who would be willing to run errands with her? At some point we all need help, let her know she helped you and others out and it is now her turn to have some of that payed back.
This is all so familiar! Our Mother was 96 !! when we finally convinced her to stop. The constant guilt tripping kept up until the car was sold...we cashed the check and put all the money in front of her and she was so excited (like a kid) to see the cash she stopped complaining. Now my retired cousin drives me and Miss Daisy.
Take a vacation...you need and deserve it.
for these repeated questions (Mom's was about her dentures), I printed up the explanation I gave every time on a 4x6 photo card and handed it to her. ABOUT YOUR DENTURES. The whole story...she has not had teeth for 50 years, she did not get them adjusted over the years when she should have. She did not get them repaired when the dog chewed them up. Now it is too late for implant surgery. And DO NOT ASK ME ABOUT YOUR DENTURES ANY MORE at the bottom.

Also, there are plenty of electric wheelchairs and carts. Perhaps that will fill the independence desire if they are mentally able to handle it. Perhaps it will give them another year of mobility so they are not driven crazy trapped in thieir own house.
Don't feel guilty, you did what needed to be done.

There's been alot of good comments posted so far and the loss of freedom is very true.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is liability. If a person is allowed to drive who has a physical or mental condition that
keeps them from thinking clearly, they are aware of it and do not inform their insurer and they are in an accident,
the insurance company might not pay for damages. So your mom would be found liable with a substantial judgement against her. If they are living in your home, you could be
brought into the claim as they are under your purview.

Remember if you sell or give her car away, it is no longer a protected asset for Medicaid review, if you're going in that
direction to pay for future care. If sold, the $ needs to go into
her account for her regular use as if it was income. If you give
it away, the blue book value can count against her until the look back period is done. Good luck!

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