Mom has dementia and drives! How do I tell her to stop driving when she gets around so well?

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She's 83 and knows her way around town very well. I've ridden with her and followed her in another car and she really is quite a good driver. Am I nuts or what. Her dementia is now in the aphasia stage that interferes with communication, and is beginning to show some impaired judgement. How do I tell her to stop driving when she gets around so well. Never lost, never careless.

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Never lost, never careless, never absolutely reliable. She has dementia. Her judgment is impaired. Not all the time yet. In fact, hardly any of time. But you and she cannot count on that odd moment of poor judgement waiting until her trip is over to rear its unpredictable head. And one bad judgement could be the end of her life or the life of an innocent bystander.

Giving up driving was probably the single most traumatic and disturbing aspect of dementia to my husband. He mourned his little sports car for a year. But it absolutely had to happen. I am thankful that his doctor handled the breaking of the news.

My heart goes out to you and to your mother at this huge loss in your lives, in this obvious erosion of her independence. Dementia is a very cruel disease, one loss at a time.

Hugs to you.
One of the receptionist at the asst living where my mother-in-law lives was hit by a car driven by an old lady that shouldn't have been driving. She was taking a walk down the sidewalk, just passing by the driveway of an apartment complex. She stopped when she saw an old lady coming towards her. The senior waved her by, then suddenly hit the gas and ran her over. The old lady's son yanked her car and moved her into asst living right after that. Now the receptionist didn't die, but she got her leg run over and faced multiple surgeries. Point is, that old lady should NEVER have been driving. Her judgement had been impaired by dementia, and unfortunately it took an accident to finally get her son to take action.
Sending good thoughts and wishes as this will be one of the hardest things you will have to do; but you will feel relieved once it is accomplished. I really empathize with how your mother is going to feel and you too. I had to do this with my father and it was really sad, but being the sweet and wonderful person that he was; he agreed, although reluctantly. My MIL on the other hand, who was one of the strongest willed people I have ever met; not so easy. These are the steps we had to take in her case as she was so defiant and dementia or not, no one was ever telling her what to do.

- Doctor told her in person - absolutely no more driving and why.
- We had to have doctor call her several times and put it in writing
- Next the doctor contacted RMV and had her license revoked
- Meanwhile, had to disconnect the battery and take keys as
she was adament she was going to drive and could not be
trusted, unfortunately

I had consulted Elder Services and these were measures recommended by them for resistent elderly. There was hell to pay for this, especially for me as I was always on the receiving end of her anger about this; but we had to do the right thing. I had recently been to my own doctor shortly before this and the nurse told me that morning an elderly person with impairments had hit and killed a police officer on detail at a construction site. He left 3 small children. So, I knew what we had to do not matter what. Take care and hope all goes well.



I went through this difficult situation too. Fortunately my dad's doctor told him he could no longer drive. My dad was angry & upset, but he did not want to harm or kill anyone. It took him some time to accept. Dad likes to tinker with cars/trucks. So he kept a truck, which he would work on & would sit in the driver's seat. But he never drove again. Just make sure your mom has alternative transportation. Good luck.
We went though this with my mother about 5 years ago when she started driving badly at times. My sister had dmv call her in to test and they said she was a perfect driver even though she had driven with others in the car and done bizare things like stopping in the middle of a 4 lane highway because she forgot where she was going. One day she had a spell with her heart and a period of extreme weakness and I happened to be there. I said mom, what if that had happened while you were driving. Fortunately she was aware enough for that to bother her . Watch for anything to use. You never know, it was so much easier when she thought of it a few days later on her own and she gave it up. Good luck !
My husband didn't want to give up driving either, tho he'd been sidelined by a stroke anyway. It took three doctors to convince him he shouldn't, and it was the psychiatrist who said it best: Maybe you think you can drive, but what if you suddenly get a hallucination while you're driving that someone is running into the street? Could cause a bad accident. But what really helped was selling his truck to a friend. He knew where it was but that he wouldn't be driving it any more. I read that someone else told her mother there was a recall on the car, took it and sold it and told her it was beyond repair. Sometimes it's out of sight, out of mind. (Tho my husband still bemoans his loss of wheels sometimes, just far less often.) Some states also have a test that can be administered - much more official if it comes from Motor Vehicles Dept.!
I am facing the exact same issue with my mom. Mom is 80 and has demenia and macular degeneration. She lives with me & my husband and has her own car. My dad died over 3 years ago & mom isn't mentally able to live alone. Mom has always had a bad temper at times - like bi-polar. 3 years ago she ran into a house and destroyed the kitchen that was built in the corner she ran into. If anyone had been home it would have been worse. She had a flat a few months ago and didn't even know it - rode on the tire & ruined it. Then last month she failed to yield right of way while turning left and smashed another car. No one was hurt, but she swears the other driver was speeding and ran into her. She really showed her temper at the scene & the police officer had to make her stay in her car. She got a citation & the officer said she probably shouldn't be driving. We all know this except for mom - who has been hounding me for a new car ever since dad died. Problem is - I work and we live 3 miles out of city imits. How am I going to get her to the sr center everyday? Maybe I can hire someone to take her? But with her personality disorders I don't have much luck with anyone wanting to be around her much. She might be sweet one day and cuss you out the next day. And she whistles non-stop - drives me nuts.
What will be her living situation once the car is gone?
Sometimes this is best done with two events at once.
My mom lost her license, so we we moved her into an temporary apartment in the walking neighborhood of the daughter who lived in Hawaii. She had a beautiful time in Hawaii with no car. That allowed the mainland family to sell the car and figure out who was going to be taking on all the chaufering that was coming next. Assisted living looked so much better when she came back.
You have to do what will be hard but think of what could hapen and how will you feel if she injuries or kills someone-she will get mad and take it out on you but it has to be done for her safety-let us know how it goes you can disable the car to begin with my mother drove well into her 90's and had two accidents -one a hit and run before her car was toteled with her nephews borrowing it -no one was hurt and it was a Godsend but that does not usually happen to stop an elder from driving-you can not expect her doc to tell her -Mom's elderly doc thought it was great she was still driving.
Oh my goodness. Living in Florida we see alot of this. They go out to see the doctor, get on I-95 and end up in North Carolina, seriously. She will do something to someone, just hope it isn't fatal. By the way, what color car does she drive..........

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