My mother has a traumatic brain injury and is now beginning to act like a defiant teenager. How do I best care for her when she has memory and anger issues?

Follow
Share

My mother, who had a TBI 4 years ago, is acting like a defiant teenager. I am very concerned about her safety. She has significant memory and anger issues but appears to be a sweet, bright 83 year old widow. She is all of those things and wants to be independent which I respect. However, I do not think she should drive out of her small community (400 people) and she insists she is going to drive herself to her brother's house in another state by herself just to prove she can. I try very hard to keep the peace and will receive no help from siblings who do not live near us. I do not have POA yet because she functions so well on her own within her safety zones.Am I wrong to be concerned? How do I help her change her mind? She is very stubborn. Thank you !

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
2

Answers

Show:
Thank you, JeanneGibbs, for answering. I am very concerned about most of the issues you mentioned. She has already started forgetting to check on gas, but our one gas station is not self-serve, is very old-fashioned, and takes care of her. She has never pumped gas and will not let me teach her. Yes, she does become confused about directions even in familiar places. Her injury left part of her body very weak. I offered to ride with her, but she wants to prove that she can still do this on her own. Mother has driven distances that involved 300 or 400 miles but did so with a car full of children (Bless Her!) ,and it has been over 30 years since she did any of that. I am hoping that I can find another way of helping her prove that she can do something. I have to have some medical tests and wonder if she might be able to drive me to and from those so that she can be my caregiver on those days. I admire her spunk and understand that she has not only lost my father, her husband of 63 years, but has also lost her independence. I worry about her, but understand her desire to prove she is okay.Thank you for your help. Rebecca
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Is there a rehab facility in your area (probably not in her small town!) that offers driving evaluations? Often they evaluate what adaptive devices might necessary for people with various handicaps, etc. They also objectively judge whether someone is safe to drive and offer suggested restrictions. When my husband did this after a head injury he was judged safe to drive but they suggested he avoid rush hour traffic and night driving. (He now has dementia and wouldn't pass at all.)

If you had such an evaluation, that would be a way for Mom to prove to you she can do it. If she passes you will have peace of mind. If they suggest that she sticks to local streets and roads and stays off freeways, etc. then it is coming from and objective source and not from a worrywort daughter. This would be my preferred approach.

What, specifically are you concerned about?
-- her memory, she might forget where she is going, how to get there, to stop for gas, etc.
-- her memory, she might forget how to use exit ramps or a cloverleaf, etc.
-- her vulnerability, she might be too trusting of strangers
-- her response time, she might be too slow in an emergency situation
-- her anger issues, she might experience road rage and all the risks that involves
-- her stamina, that she would get fatigued but push beyond her limits
Some of these things could be evaluated objectively.

Did she regularly drive herself cross country alone in the past, or would this be a new experience for her?

Would you be available to visit your uncle with her? If she did all the driving, navigating, decision-making and you sat in the backseat and did crossword puzzles, that would "prove she can do it" but also provide a safety net.

I don't think you are wrong to be concerned. Only you know if your concerns are substantiated with evidence or are just a general protectiveness. It would be great if you could get an objective third party involved.

Poor Mom. It must be very very hard to lose your independence. And driving is a huge element of independence in our culture. But safety has to come first. I wish you luck in dealing with this tricky situation.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions