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

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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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If your aunt is in the middle stages of memory loss then she shouldn't be driving at all. The ability to make quick decisions and rational decisions fades and makes them not only a danger to themselves, but a danger to other drivers. Is she attempting to drive after she has been drinking? I hope not. Do you have POA? She must have some supervision from the care facility so you might coordinate a plan of action with them because aunt is going to be extremely angry when her driving privilege is taken away from her. But it is something that must be done. We had to do it with my mil when the time was right.....she "farmed" our back yard and didn't see a problem. It's easiest to just take the keys and give a simple explanation. No pleading for cooperation, cajoling, etc. Doesn't work and wears everyone out and causes hurt feelings. I like the saying "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission" and that applies in this situation. Others will tell you to have aunt's driving ability tested or have the doctor intervene.....well I have personally watched elderly people who couldn't tell the evaluator what a stop sign was on the test, being renewed after that evaluator gave them the answer.....and most doctors don't have time to plead with their patients to give up driving. Sometimes you just have to be firm and stand your ground especially when it comes to the safety of your loved one and others on the road who might be in danger.
DMV has a form you can fill out for unsafe drivers. Print it out, fill it in and send it to DMV. You can request to be anonymous. In about 3-4 weeks your aunt will receive a request from DMV for her dr. fill out a report on her medical condition. She goes to the dr., he/she fills out the form and dr. returns it to DMV.Another 2-3 weeks go by and DMV will notifiy your aunt revoking her license based on the medical report from her dr. We just did this with our mother and when I told her dr. we reported mom to DMV, he informed the health department. He said by informing the health department, it will speed up the process. Good luck!
Thank you. I took the keys Thursday. It was remarkably easy. I think she knew it was the right time. I also decided to take an "I" approach instead of a "you" approach. "I need you to stop driving because I can't worry about it anymore" left little room for arguing. She will probably ask about it again, and we still have to get rid of the car. Thanks for your help and support for what I knew was the right answer. I hope this will stabilize her a little bit and let her have a longer quality of life.
I went through this with my dad, he is mid stage dementia. After several calls from the local police department they urged him DMV all they did was send him a letter that he had thirty days to either mail them his drivers license or be retested and send those results, this was sent to my address because he wouldn't have shown it to me. I told him about it, after I made a copy so he didn't tear up the only one, I told him until he retested I needed his keys. I told him tat when he taught me to drive he did not give me car keys until he knew I would be safe, that is what I am doing for you, I want you safe. He never went and got his keys but I went and got them showed him I had them and told him we can go on Monday to test I would be there around 9. When I got there he didnt want to go. He knew he shouldnt be driving. What you could do is tell her her car is broken from her last driving episode, no one was hurt but the car is broke. Or, you could just disconnect something under the hood so the car want start. Good luck with this, it isn't easy, it is easier than getting the call tat your loved one has been killed or has killed someone else because we don't want to deal with them being mad. If all else fails don't ask for the keys just go get them, it's because you love her and your fellow man. I don't regret my decision at all.
Glad things went well..........sometimes the direct approach works the best!
For those of us still struggling with this question, I'm adding my experience, just to share. My mom was ill in January. We agreed she shouldn't drive. In March she got her housekeeper to take her to the hospital for an assessment. They told her she scored at the top of 92 yr olds in intelligence. I asked if that range means she can drive? Didn't make any sense to me at all. Then I finally found out about it and took her for the test. I cleared up some of the lies she told them about how recently she was sick, etc. They took her out for a test, two people, and she charmed them and passed to drive locally and only in daylight. I have repeatedly asked her doctors to help me speak to her about not driving and they refuse to engage on that topic. Her trusted friend and financial advisor has strongly spoken to her about getting a driver, but she still refuses. Lately she has not felt well enough to drive much and fortunately she doesn't drive, but she is a sneaky, fighter and will not give up easily. It is an ongoing battle. The rest of her family, who doesn't live nearby also agrees that she should drive. I feel like I'm fighting with everyone! Fortunately she lives in a remote area and will most likely drive herself off the road and into the woods. Not many other people around where she lives.
Can you imagine suddenly being unable to drive? Approach the subject gradually and with empathy. Have other options available (public bus, senior care car, church bus, family member to take the person weekly/biweekly for groceries and errands, etc.) perhaps you'll get cooperation with the gentle approach, if not go to plan B - DMV form, as Margareth suggested, stick to "I" form of communication.
I love the way you handled this. We will all be at some time faced with these tough things too. How would any of us like to be blindsided? "I care about you", "I love you and am worried about you", "I will help you get around, don't worry". So much better. Honesty and directness. What can be better than that?
My dad recently relinquished the keys, and he has no dementia or forgetfulness, great eyesight, careful driver. But he's 91, and his reflexes aren't as good as they used to be, and his judgment of speed and distance was starting to deteriorate. I know it was hard, but the way I put it was this: Giving up driving isn't a failure or a sign you're old and feeble, it's a sign that you're prudent and smart enough to know that you have to give up driving while you can still drive. You never know when the day is that you won't be safe behind the wheel. You have to stop driving BEFORE that day, or else you'll find out by possibly hurting yourself or somebody else. I put it much more gently, but that was the gist.
We told my father-in-law that although it was our opinion that he should stop driving, he should let the experts test his capabilities and let the data guide his decision. We took him to an occupational therapist who tested him on the various skills needed for driving. The therapist talked to him about the results. He agreed to stop driving based on the results and the therapist's recommendation. Although we knew going in that he shouldn't be driving, it was more convincing to him to have actual data than to have only our opinion. While it was still emotionally difficult for him to give up the independence, the data made it easier for him to accept. He felt like it was his choice rather than ours and there was no way for him to argue with the data.

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