Any advice on how to take a car/driving away?


My aunt is in the middle stages of memory loss. Still physically very well. But she drinks a lot at night and then falls. She lives independently in a lifecare facility. I want to take the car away to control her alcohol intake.She recently fell and is recovering from breaking a rib. I am going to a meeting about her care Thursday. She will be there as well. And I would like to leave with her keys.

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Honestly, I think the bottom line here is in allowing your elderly person to continue driving when you KNOW they are no longer safe is irresponsible!! I get that it's difficult and they can really put up a fuss, but how would you feel if someone you loved was injured in an accident caused by someone's elderly relative because no one could figure out a pleasant way of taking away the car?

I went through this with my mother and let me tell you, she was not happy. To top it off she was suffering from dementia (more than anyone realized) and did not want to listen to me. She had been an excellent driver at one time, but now she was driving too fast, passing in a no-passing zone, stopping on ramps because she was having trouble merging, etc. How on earth could any of us justify allowing her to drive anywhere?

In my community there are a lot of elderly drivers that are right on the edge. It's time for them to quit driving and I know that there are a couple of reasons that hasn't happened. First, no one wants to confront them and second, it means someone else is going to be driving for them!

It amazes me that it's illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol and a lot of states have banned the use of hand-held cell phones, but the DOT will still give driver's licenses to elderly people with only a vision test!!!! That's how my mom got her license renewed again after we had stopped her from driving!

What everyone needs to do is figure out what they need to do to get these people off the road. Years ago I was driving to visit my parents and I could see a car coming towards me. Neither of us were driving very fast, thank God. Just as we got to side road that went into a subdivision, he decided to turn and he drove right into the side of my car. No one was hurt, but he was elderly and very shook up. I couldn't believe that he hadn't seen me and, obviously, he shouldn't have been driving.

So, when you are facing a family whose child was killed or badly injured by the relative you had a problem getting the keys from, I think it will put things in perspective. I mentioned disabling the car earlier and I was serious.
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You may consider making a call to the police (informarly), report her behavioral pattern and see what advise the provide. It may sound harsh, but really it's an effort to save her life and possibly the lives of others-
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here is a link to a study that was published that suggests that doctors can play an important role in this task. do a search for elderly driving doctor new england journal of medicine
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I'm just wondering if anyone has ever tried undoing a battery cable or in some way disabling the car. It might not work in all cases, but I would think you could then say the car is no longer in operating order. If it's someone with dementia, are they really going to know the difference?
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A study just was published on this topic saying doctors are successful at this task.
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We downloaded the form from the DMV and within a month my Mother was no longer driving. She really did not want to drive anymore, just did not want it taken from her. I think it is a crime that people are not tested when they turn 80. It is scary and dangerous to think of someone with dementia driving a vehicle that could be lethal to themselves or others.
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My Uncle managed to do it pretty easy--to get Gm'as license pulled.
He pre-arranged to take her to the DMV/DOL to renew her license. That is, he called them up [this was back in the early 1980's], and told them the problem, that she had Alzheimers, and was starting to get lost.
At the DMV, she was required to take the written test, and the car test.
Because of the call ahead of time, the driving evaluator was more observant than usual, looking for lag-times in reaction, etc.
She failed both.
That way, it was the "nasty DOL" instead of her blaming it on caregiver.

Uncle was harder to get to relinquish his keys...he kept driving despite his alcoholism and health issues. But since he was living with someone, that person was in charge of his issues, not us.

Mom was harder, though.
According to her,
she "didn't have the money to renew her license", and let it lapse.
[[I think something else was going on though--like maybe she had DUI's or other tickets she couldn't pay, because licensing renewals were pretty cheap then]].
She managed to get by without it--barely
--over the years, she got herself permanently thrown off the Sr. transport bus, because she kept running her mouth about inflammatory subjects; she repeatedly bothered other passengers; that resulted in her having to beg rides from others, or to walk.

When she moved up here, she argued and pleaded.
Finally, my brother took her to buy one of those 4WD off-road things
...she thot it was so cute!
Once it was delivered though, when she tried driving it in the rough, gravel road the house was on, it felt too tipsy and unstable, because of the high-center of gravity and short wheel-base. It was also a challenge to get in/out of.
It got returned; she had to pay the delivery charges and then some to return it.

But that didn't prevent her getting an old, ratty RV she imagined herself being able to drive--luckily, it nearly blew up en route to the shop to get major repairs, and from that, it was easy to just have the mechanic get rid of it for her.
She heard the mechanic tell her it was unsalvageable, and that he could get rid of it for her, since towing fees to put it where she wanted, would cost her lots [he quoted prices].

Her real issue with wanting to drive was, that she badly wanted her freedom--to go wherever, whenever....when she couldn't get me to do that for her, she got madder and madder, worse and worse behaviors.
She desperately wanted her freedom, but cared less for social life
--I offered to take her to various senior centers, to the local senior lunches,
to many other events where she could be out and about with other people
---it was never enough
--do not sucker for that, either!

With any elder trying to keep driving, usually there is some tip-off as to what would make them give up the idea--too expensive, can't pass test, cannot afford insurance, no place to park a car, etc..
IF someone is alcoholic, THAT is a #1 priority to get them off the road--but tougher..
IF they have any sort of dementia, it's usually easier to take a license from them, than from an alcoholic.

The posters above have mentioned about taking the person to the DMV, and making sure the person fails the test.
Just make sure the person has some list of backup drivers or transit options, to ferry them around.
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Luckily with our Mom ( mini strokes, no dementia) she was not relectant to give upher driving priveleges. I think it scared her to drive even to church 2 miles away. She knew it was time to give it up, for the last 3 years I had been able to drive her to all hed medical appts & shopping etc. I even inherited the car last week, much nicer than what I drive now.
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Going through something similar with my mother. She wants to buy another car, but I have been trying to talk her out of it. She recently got her drivers license renewed,(but knows she should not drive) but the lady who stays with her during the day couldn't get hers renewed- she gave up her license a couple of years ago when she was recovering from a series of work related concussions.

So.. Mother, who should not drive has her license, and the lady who stays with her only has a permit. Perfect, if you ask Mother. She can be the licensed driver, and her friend can drive with her permit!

I think I have talked her into trying out the local bus. It operates like a taxi.. you call them and they pick you up.. you call them again and they take you home. A lot cheaper than having a car... and safer too!
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My sisters and I used that direct, we are worried about you, approach with my mom too. She wasn't totally for it at first, but after leaving her car running in her parking space at her apartment/ALF and the security guard bringing her keys to her she was more receptive to the idea. Since I was nearby I would take her where she needed and wanted to go. She now lives with me so it's really easy. My youngest sister was in need of a car so we were lucky and were able to get it out of sight quickly. Every now and then she will make a comment about how she would go more and do more if she still had her car! I just tell her that she doesn't need the extra expenses required of car ownership and she has me, her personal taxi driver to take her wherever she needs to go! She has been without a car for so long now (over a year) that I don't think she would even remember how to drive anyway. One of the few blessings of dementia!
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