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My 83 yr old mother with AD( was told it is significant by dr after testing her) has been living with me since June '10 and hasn't driven on her own since May '10 as we have changed her car key out and usually drive her where she needs to go. She has got lost on different occasions near her own home and I had to direct her home on the phone. Once she got to the other side ot town. Due to this I knew it was coming soon to talk to her about driving even the dr said she shouldn't be driving. I have been rpeparing for the deaded talk for the past months and it finally had to happen as she was trying to go out on her own around my house and I sat and gently talked with her that I was concened about her safety and others. I tried to be gentle and explain my concern for her and she finally got mad threw her keys down and stormed off to her room. I know in my heart I did it like I have been reading to do it and feel it is best due her AD and other medical conditions but it still doesn't feel good to have your mom storm off mad at you. :-(

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The not being able to drive anymore will get better. We took my mother-in-laws keys, then just disabled the car so she can't drive. She has finally consented to selling it. We patiently explained that she didn't know where she was (we had moved her into her own home, attached to our home), and she always countered that with an argument of how good a driver she is, just give her a map and she can drive anywhere........we just decided to remove the temptation.
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I have found that looking at the situation from the view of a parent of a toddler helps. I actually have to maintain my composure and not laugh because when looking at it that way, my Mom can be so cute when she's mad!

Hang in there!
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DEEJ:

She knows you're right. Let her sulk and throw tantrums for a while. From now on, watch her carefully when she's "mad" at you, and you'll realize she's just pretending to be mad until you give in and hand her the keys. Stand firm! As Naheaton said, you might be saving her life.

-- ED
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You are being way too hard on yourself as if you are responsible for your mother's emotions which you aren't. I'm glad that you contacted the DMV. When they send a letter saying that she can't drive anymore due to information that they have from her doctor, let her be mad at her doctor. Even if she is mad at you, the best thing to do is validate her feelings but don't give into them or take responsibility for them by absorbing them into yourself and then mirroring them to everyone around you which is very burdensome. There are still times when my mother talks to me as if I'm her little boy again operating out of the training she gave me to make sure she was happy and if she wasn't then it was all my fault. That's a trap and an emotional/mental pitfall.
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As painful as it is, you are now the parent and dealing with a child. As much as you want to keep things calm,unfortunately in these situations you cannot be her friend. The doctor said no driving means no driving.
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You did what you needed to do to keep her safe. Don't knock yourself down. These are very hard issues to deal with. As most here can attest. Best wishes and take good care of yourself...
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Personally I would remove the car from her SIGHT and tell her the car is 'in the shop' It would be tragic if she got hurt 'looking under the hood'.

When you are out of her sight, she may very well have a mini-panic attack, (my mother did) and feels like she has to 'get home' or somewhere that she feels she should be.

You stated that she does this at a 'certain time' of the day. Sundowner's is likely, but think about what she would normally be doing at that time of day. Would she be picking up kids from school? Driving home from work? Drive TO work? I got to the point where I could ''predict" when my mother would get anxious. So I tried to get her engaged in some activity BEFORE this anxious time. Sounds like a rouse, but it works!

Be creative, be careful and be prepared!
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Update on mom. A few days ago she goes out to her car with the "fake" key and gets frustrated that it won't turn in the ignitition. She tries and tries. Later I see her hood up and she is in the car looking at her owners manual. I go ask her and she is trying to figure out why her car won't work. I said we will take it to mechanic but he was out for the day etc..etc..... a day goes by and once again she is trying ( usually in afternoon when she does this maybe sundowners?) only this time she comes in and walks up to my husband and in an angry voice says...." YOU WERE THE LAST ONE TO DRIVE MY CAR AND NOW IT WON'T WORK!" I had to quickly intervene as my husband would tend to argue with her and I said momma I WAS the last one to drive your car and we will have it looked at!!! Well couple more times she has tried to get it to work and usually it's when I am not around as much like working in other part of house where she doesn't see me or if I am out running errands. Has something to do with me not being around and in her sight.

Any way to update I did call our DMV and they told me to fax them a short written note about her condition to which I did and now I am awaiting them and I know even if they take her license away she might STILL try to drive but least I will have LOTS more ammo to tell her how much trouble we can all get in if she dirves with out a license.
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You did the right thing, she will be mad for a while, but it is better for her to be mad than to hurt herself or someone else. Thank goodness my mother never drove, but I also take care of my brother that has brain damage from a car wreck, and it has been horrible to deal with. You just have to stay strong in your decision and know that you made the right one. God Bless
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Deej, I hope your mother has gotten over it now....the fact that she can't drive any more. You wrote your post on Oct. 5 so some time has gone by. Usually it is the tincture of time which calms things down again. I also went through the same difficulty about my parents' driving that you did. And it was uncomfortable and painful for me too. Yes, you did the right thing and you should feel good about that. The fact that your mother lives with you can make situations like this more trying for you, because you have a harder time removing yourself from your mother's presence, and hence her bad moods or reactions. The fact that you ( we) are willing to make hard decisions to keep our parents safe, even in the face of stormy reactions, shows how much we love our parents.
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Give her back the keys. Tell her you're sorry, she was right. (Everyone likes to hear they're right)

Do this after you have disconnected the cable on the battery and placed a sign on it saying, "DO NOT CONNECT CABLE, MOM IS DANGEROUS DRIVING". Let her discover the car doesn't start and in this way you haven't taken it away from her.
Tell her you'll get someone out to look at it. NOT YOU. Make excuses for the mechanic who never comes. If necessary have someone come and tell her it's beyond repair.

This is deception. You'll feel guilty. Better to suffer this than have her become angry and resentful towards you. My Mom sat and wrote out the checks to pay her bills that I threw away every week. One day she asked me to pay the bills, she didn't want to do it anymore.

This is one way that I helped my Mom keep happy, productive (in her mind) and her own person for as long as it was necessary for her well being. I'm writing this story and many, many more in dementias-daughter.com. If I can help you, I'm helping your Mom too.
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We went thru this last year with my dad. Our dr contacted the last & we recieved a letter that dad had to take a written & road test. He had 5 chances at the written and failed 4 of them. He never went back for the last try. He continued to drive, but now my son lives with my dad and we have my dads truck at our house. If his truck was at home he would still be driving it, I know that in his heart. He still believes he can control and care for his family. You have to not take it personally. They are your loved one and take a lot of deep breathes and some day you will treasure a lot of these days, not all of them but some of them. My mom died of Al & parkinsens, My dad has vascular dimentia, leukemia, heart failure, emphysema, but he is still a loving dad who some days is as stubborn as a bull. I love him!
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I do hope things are going well. Please post an update, we care. Every time I read a post on 'taking away the car keys' I am reminded of how difficult it was for my mother to 'give up her car'. But after she was 't-boned' (hit from the side) my BROTHER decided to just put her car in the shop for repairs and she was never allowed to drive again.

It didn't stop her from 'wanting' to drive, so every time we went somewhere I would ask her if she wanted to drive, and she would just say, "NO... its ok.. I would rather just let you drive, you are taller than me! (funny but true story).
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We did this to my Dad and in his moments he knew it was the right thing, he stayed mad for a few weeks and tried to find the keys to no avail, but we stood strong and eventually he stopped asking, was he defeated, yes. But by then we were onto something else. Don't take her being mad at you to heart, she isn't angry at you but at herself because she knows her independence is leaving slowly, driving was and is a big thing to all of us, it keeps us free, Give it time
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It's a tough time for everyone involved when dealing with AD/dementia. Your mom knows she shouldn't be driving, she knows she gets confused.....but she forgets she knows. You did the right thing, and it's perfectly normal to feel guilty and upset about her reaction. Take a deep breath, put a smile on your face (however forced it may seem!), and treat and love your mom the same way you always have. Just don't give her those car keys back!! And maybe, by the morning, she'll forget she was ever mad at you.
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It really is a terrible feeling. I went through this with my Dad last year. He shouted and pouted and was generally a pill, but the last time I was down to FL to check on him he told me that it really was a good thing that he decided not to drive anymore.

You have done the right thing. As you know, your mom is safer not driving, and neither of you will ever have to face the dreadful event of someone else being injured because of her driving and having a crash. Its hard, I know, but try to remember that when you are feeling like a bad daughter, you are coming from a place of love in stopping her driving.

Wishing you all the best. AD is a hard road to travel with a parent. All we can do is the best that we are capable of on any given day.

Hugs,
MD Lady Tenor
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A few years ago an elderly man in Venice Ca careened through a Farmer's Market killing some folks...so you are doing the right thing. Just say mom...just let me drive you like a chaufeur...and relax and take it easy...make it simple make it fun.
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So sorry it is hard to have your mom mad at you but , you did the best for her health and safety. Remember that with Alzheimer's it is not the mother you once knew and loved it is ALzheimer's that has taken her away. Yes your decision was the right thing to do and talking to her may have helped depending on what stage od AL she is in.What you experienced is just one of many hard decisions that you will have to make on her behalf. Stay strong and God Bless !
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Reasoning with parents that have dementia doesn't seem to work. They just can't comprehend anymore...(but don't realize that) You have to just try to do what you know is the best for them. I've been thru it so I know how hard it can be.....You have to remember to keep telling yourself that they aren't in their right mind anymore...
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Thank you both for your words. It just makes common sense any way I look at it and it is just dealing with the emotions and like you all said having to parent my parent is no easy way about it. I tried to explain to her the reasons for her safety and others but doesn't matter. I know what I did was right ....... now waiting to see if I have to explain to her again one day soon
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You did the right thing. This role reversal business is never easy. But we must do what is best for our parents. Your mom is not in her right mind and you are. After I moved my parents into my home, 3 1/2 yrs ago, my mom was spitting mad at me for about the first yr. She had agreed to the move but hated me for it. Now she is to ill to put up much of a fight anymore. She did eventually admit to me that she knows she and my dad could not live alone.
We do the best we can, so don't fall into the guilt rut. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You are a very good daughter.
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Don't you think in her heart of hearts she knows you're right? Even if she thinks you're full of it, you did the right thing. About 5 years ago here in Oregon, an older woman was driving and forgot where she was supposed to be going. They found her car on a logging road about a week later. The car was locked, and she froze to death outside of it. She shouldn't have been driving, someone should have taken her keys and she'd probably still be alive. You did the right thing, you might have saved your mother's life, who knows?
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