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Our father is 94 was told several years ago to stop driving. Our mother and other family members refuse to intervene even though he can no longer make phones calls, fix a sandwich, etc. We children have taken the vehicle but he managed to reclaim it, doctors reported him to bureau of motor vehicles but all to no avail. What to do?

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Just curious. Does anyone ride with him?
There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of posts on this forum about this very subject.
Some take keys. Some scramble the wiring. Say there is a problem and have the car towed for “repairs”. Some take the car. Some take the license. Some have insurance cancelled.
He sounds resourceful. How long ago did he reclaim it?
Here is a link to some previous posts that might be helpful.

https://www.agingcare.com/search?term=Car
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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gdaughter Jan 3, 2020
Whoa...agree with you on keys and wiring/pulling an essential part, towing...and the OP should know that with dementia it is possible there will be some initial griping, etc...but the person is not likely to fight well for themselves, and will give it up or forget. Coworker had a grandma who would not stop eating because she couldn't remember she just did...so they put a lock on the fridge. Heard mumbling/cursing etc...which eventually stopped. My mother was locked out of the laundry room (using too much detergent gave dad hives and resulted in an ER visit). Beware though that taking the license will not stop someone, and cancelling the insurance until the car is unavailable is a very dangerous thing from a financial perspective.
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Disable the vehicle..if it is in both his name and your mothers, she can sell it. Re-repot him to the DMV, as many times as it takes.
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Reply to anonymous912123
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How does he manage to get it back? If YOU take the car away for "repairs" and put it in a location unknown to him he can't readily get it back unless he is getting inside help (especially if you disable it: remove battery, unplug wiring, etc). Who is the DPoA for him? This person should sell the car and cancel the insurance asap. If no one has DPoA for him, then have the doc give you or your mom (or whomever is his MPoA) a physical letter saying he has dementia and should not be driving. You can go into the DMV website for his state and make an anonymous report of his dangerous driving. They will send a letter calling him in for an eye or road test. No one should "help" him get to the DMV for this (including your mom...just in case he passes). I've done this for 4 seniors. It works. Your dad will be angry in general, but think about him endangering others or himself. My 96-yr old uncle killed his wife and dog in an accident he caused because no one wanted to be the "bad guy". We will all be at this point if we live long enough. A bad driver is a bad driver. It would be helpful to discretely arrange for family, friends and neighbors to take him places and to appointments. He will enjoy the company more than the loss of driving. Is your mom still driving? Is she the one getting the car back? If so, family needs to have a discussion with her. I totally understand that it's not easy nor pleasant, and also sad. I wish you good luck and peace in your heart knowing this is the right thing to do.
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DrBenshir Jan 5, 2020
One very nice elderly patient came to me for help getting his license back. He said he needed to drive his wife to doctors appointments because she has chronic pain from the accident. The accident that he caused when driving, that almost killed both of them and did kill someone else.

Not everyone can self regulate. Spouses are often enablers because they are also too old and frail to fight back. The only answer to someone who no longer is a safe driver is to stop them from driving.
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https://www.agingcare.com/search?term=car+dementia+driving

I entered the words "car dementia driving" into this website's search function and dozens of articles came up. Read them.

I do not believe that a 94 year old man with dementia is resourceful enough to "reclaim" a vehicle that has been taken away without help from someone!
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Kentuckywoman Dec 31, 2019
My cousin let me park the vehicle at his farm unbeknownst to my father. Somehow he found out where it was and cousin took it right back to dad. My cousin and other friends tell us 'I love your Dad so much I'd do anything for him.' I'm sick of hearing that. Dad had his license suspended due to doctors reporting him and the chief deputy sheriff of the county - a family friend - helped him get it back. My sister and I live several hours away so hard to deal with this. I am planning to give my mom an ultimatum.....either remove the vehicle or I'm calling the state police who will investigate. It's so sad....my dad was always the best of men....honorable, brave, a WWII warrior. He would never have done anything like this were it not for the dementia.
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How did he reclaim the car after it was taken? Why can’t it be taken again, and this time it be sold before he can find it?
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Motor vehicle should have sent him a letter telling him he had a certain amount of days to hand his license in.

How could he reclaim the car? Does anyone have POA. That person can sell the car. You need to find a way to disable it. Then like another post on the forum, have it towed to be fixed. Each time he asks for it, tell him its still at the garage.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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So what will your mother say to the family of the person he kills? Oh, I did not want to upset him?

The insurance will not be valid, so where will Mum live when she loses the house in the lawsuit to cover the damages when he has an accident?

It is easier for your family to not rock the boat. Easier to ignore the new dings in the car. Easier to not stand your grand and tell Dad, No, you cannot drive and that is that.

How on earth did Dad reclaim the vehicle?
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Reply to Tothill
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You’re in control of this one! Take away the car and hide keys to any other cars. Then he can’t drive. Done and done.
best wishes
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 1, 2020
That’s what I would do. Take the keys.
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The DMV is strict here in New York. If the doctors reported him,,the DMV should have sent him a letter to turn in his license. Take control and take the car away from him. Do whatever tricks you can. He could kill somebody out on the road driving. If he does, the family could sue you for damages. It happened to my uncle. He was in the beginning of dementia and killed his 2 best friends. He was driving. He lived. The family was trying to sue my uncles family for damages because my Aunt KNEW he had dementia and shouldn’t be driving. He killed his best friend and his wife and it didn’t even PHASE him because he was out of his mind!!!!
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Reply to elaine1962
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Does he actually have a valid license? If he does not, call the police next time he goes out in the car. Maybe that will scare him. He must be stopped. And if he kills someone, the family who enabled him is responsible. Take the keys. Do whatever you have to do but stop him
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Reply to dogparkmomma
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Cancelled insurance and a revoked license don’t stop people from driving. Do we all understand that? Not everyone will willingly turn their revoked license in to the DMV and refrain from driving. There’s literally tens of thousands of people who are driving on suspended or revoked licenses in this country.
I wouldn’t cancel the insurance until AFTER the car is completely gone and he has absolutely no access to any vehicle. Because if he has an accident while driving uninsured, who do you think will be financially responsible? What you need to do is figure out who is enabling him to continue driving and either get them to cut it out OR call the cops every time you know he is behind the wheel. As someone with a parent who has absolutely no business driving but refuses to stop and as someone who’s parent had their license taken away at one point & yet he continued to drive....my heart goes out to you because I know what a terrible situation this is and how hard it is to get them to stop driving! So much easier said than done.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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DrBenshir Jan 8, 2020
If insurance is cancelled and license revoked, you can call the police. They will impound the car and the driver, if caught driving, will spend a night in jail. There is no recourse since he can't legally buy another car.
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If you can't in effect "ground" him from driving then about all that may be left after all you have explained is to ground the car with certain temporary steps to disable it from running. Of course if others use it regularly this could be tiresome. The possible consequences of the continuance of his driving should require serious intervention.

I have been on both sides of lawsuits involving car accidents. They are long and tiresome. There was fault involved but not blatant errors that could have been prevented. I hope this is not in your family's future.
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Reply to Riverdale
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Kentuckywoman, please don't wait for his wife to do something.... obviously only the state police would (hopefully) be willing to stop this. What a good idea, actually; DMV seems to care less about stopping my FIL, who managed somehow to pass a drivers test, but who my husband, whom nothing about driving scares, will not drive with! Think I'll get in touch with them....
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Reply to mally1
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Take the keys away. Drive the car to an unknown location to him. What a nightmare!
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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He is already driving uninsured.

There's not a chance he won't have invalidated his policy anyway. He's been advised by medical professionals to stop driving, it's been formally reported to the DMV, he has not made his insurer aware of these developments - there's not a policy in the world that will cover him in these circumstances, any more than it would if he'd drunk fifteen bottles of whisky and then got behind the wheel.

Who are the other family members besides your mother who are enabling this?

What does your father use the car for, mainly?
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worriedinCali Jan 1, 2020
CM that may be true about insurance in the U.K. but it’s not true in the US. In this country, you can even have car insurance even if you are unlicensed. It varies by state though, it’s not available in all states.
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Get POA and sell the car so he can't "reclaim" it!
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worriedinCali Jan 1, 2020
POA can only be given if the OPs dad is willing to do AND is totally competent. It doesn’t allow her to control him either.
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I would send a certified letter to all the people that "love him so much that they would do anything in the world for him", outlining everything that they have done to put your dad and others at risk. Then I would clarify that they will be dealing with the lawsuits and the financial aspect of helping him to endanger lives. Do some research on what the average cost is to litigate a wrongful death suit, how losing the family bread winner affects the lives of the entire household and firmly place the responsibility of their actions on their heads.

One thing that you need to provide when taking someone's independence of driving away is an alternative for them to get out and about. Without that in place it is a loosing battle. Multiply resources is better, that way he decides to go and can get going fairly quickly. Not tomorrow.

I would also request the doctor report his driving again.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 1, 2020
Yes! Well said.
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Sounds like you have a lot of people who are stepping in to help your dad get his car back but don't want to step in to help him get where he needs to go without driving. My goodness. Take the car when you leave and sell it. Tell him it was stolen. Of course the chief deputy sheriff of the county may mess that up for you but I would have a SERIOUS conversation with him, and your cousin, and everyone else who thinks it's a good idea for someone with dementia to be driving and let them know you don't have to explain anything to anyone, this is your father and you are making the decision.
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Reply to PaniniSandwich
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My Mom also has dementia and we tried to get her to stop driving to no avail even though she frequently "got lost". The neurologist asked her if she was driving and she proudly told him yes. He ordered her to stop immediately and said if he heard she was driving he would make her take the "senior driving test" which he assured her she could not pass. She accepted that and quit driving immediately.
This past year her driver's license expired and she needed to get a State ID card. It costs the same as the license so she said "I'm going to get a driver's license since they cost the same."
I didn't want to argue with her so I said "You know you will have to take them for a drive this time. So you think you can do that today?" She immediately decided to just get the ID card.
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Reply to caretaker25
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You have to be the bad guy and take the vehicle away or disable it. Just imagine for a few minutes facing the family of someone he has killed and trying to explain why he was still driving! That should give you the courage to go take remove or disable the vehicle.
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Reply to MammaDrama
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It's helpful to get mother on board as she likely has more influence on father. She may be stuck in the middle trying to help him do what he wants or not realize he can't drive any longer ~ denial; or she may be not thinking clearly either.

It helps to have other transportation set up and easily available for all their needs/wants.  Get that in place if it isn't already. 

You have no choice: take the keys and car.  Get the title signed over to you, and buy or sell it, and give them the money.  You don't want it reported stolen so tell them you need the car right away or it broke, and can't be fixed so you're selling it for them.  Eventually, he'll stop asking about it as long as all their needs and wants are taken care of, and they don't feel stuck with no help to get some place or get something.
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Jannner Jan 3, 2020
Some, like my mother, of that age group still cling to the “men are better than women”philosophy. My mother refused to stop him driving since he was a man🙄🙄🙄. Never mind the little kids he endangered, never mind they could have been financially ruined , just don’t take his “man privilege “away
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Wth?? The “chief deputy sheriff helped your dad get the car or license back”?????
how will he feel when your dad kills innocent people? That deputy sheriff should be reprimanded for this! Sounds like a “good ol boy” system, if it were my parent, i would talk to the person(s) at the top of chain of command and get their help.....so sorry you are going thru this. Its so hard.
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shad250 Jan 1, 2020
Sounds like he lives in a country like area, I so other means of transportation are either non existent or infrequent in service.
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I’d take the keys from him ..period end of story. Get poa, contact police & DMV . Maybe call tow truck..You could even buy bar you put across steering wheel & lock it...He couldn’t be driving without help from some very dumb stupid people.
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Reply to CaregiverL
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Set up home so need to head out, or move him close to or in the nearest big city so everything he would need is a walk or public transit ride away .

Many big cities are making their downtowns to be convenient for me was many which has attracted both young and old
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disgustedtoo Jan 3, 2020
"Set up home so need to head out.." You already said this and were asked just HOW does one do that? There are various needs that require getting out AND the issue isn't really NEED, just that this man WANTS to drive. Different animal altogether.

"...move him close to or in the nearest big city..." Naive and unworkable answer. Despite having DPOA for our mother, when the need came to move her to a safe place vs living alone too far away for us to check on frequently and refusal to let aides in, she REFUSED to consider ANY scenario. Our EC attorney told us we CANNOT force her to move.

So, in this instance we don't even know if anyone has POA. Also, he isn't living alone, he lives with his wife, so you would consider forcing her to move as well?

These are not doable suggestions....
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First you and your sister need to talk to the well meaning friends and family who think they are helping him about the real situation. To them your dad is still the guy they have known for years who maybe isn't quite as self sufficient as he once was and needs a little help sometimes, don't we all and they may think you are being too cautious because you are so far away. In fact you are far more aware of his day to day issues and decline than they are. We all know how effective their show timing can be and when the fully competent person is who people want and expect to see I think it can be easy to overlook the signs. But beyond you knowing about his cognitive issues it was a doctor that determined he can not be driving anymore and they don't do that easily. When my mom had her stroke and was told not to drive we were told that knowing she had not been cleared by a doctor to drive again, if we let her get behind the wheel and she had an accident we would be liable. Tell your cousin and the Dep Sheriff you are documenting your efforts to follow doctors orders and prevent him from driving to protect yourself and if they enable him to drive they are on the hook if someone gets hurt. Then enlist them to help you take the car away, I like the disable it and then take it to be fixed never to return method if he simply can't give it up but you know what's best for your situation. I would take a similar tact with mom too since she can make or break how this goes and her reluctance to take her head out of the sand may have as much to do with her loss of freedom when dad can no longer drive as her not being able to say no to him. Anyway explain to her that since the doctor has put it in writing that dad should not be driving she as well as you and your sister could be sued should he get behind the wheel and have an accident. Enlist her help in making this easier for dad, what does she think the best way to take the car away would be and protecting you and your sister. Take the onus off of you, you didn't make the determination Dad can't drive his doctor did but you are the one who needs protection because you have a lot to loose should he continue to drive.
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rovana Jan 1, 2020
I agree! Maybe concentrate on the financial catastrophe aspect with mom. Is she aware that under these circumstances, insurance company may well refuse to honor claims.  It is possible she thinks insurance would take care of an accident claim. Insurance companies are NOT charitable institutions.
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I'm not sure what the law is in Kentucky, but you might encourage your family, especially your mother, to consider this.  If he has been diagnosed with dementia by doctors, then his insurance carrier almost certainly would refuse to cover any claims if he has an accident and that could financially wipe out your mother. Wipeout.
For real.  Any plaintiff's lawyer would jump on this so fast and there is a risk that he would be judged at fault in any accident. Does your family understand this? Can you ask his doctors to follow up their reports of dementia? Can you consult a lawyer to determine if there would be any liability falling on the family, particularly his wife, if she ignored the danger?
I'm in CA and the laws may well be different than in KY, but a close friend of mine went through this and basically pestered the DMV, the police dept., doctors, friends, etc.  And finally got it done.
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worriedinCali Jan 1, 2020
It’s actually not true that an insurance company will refuse to cover an accident if the driver has dementia. A dementia diagnosis doesn’t make people in this country uninsurable and it doesn’t give insurance companies free pass to deny coverage in the event of an accident. The OPs fathers doctor needs to certify that it’s unsafe for him to drive. Because as long as that HASN’T happened, most insurance companies WILL cover any accident he has.
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I had the same problem with my mom. If the car can't start it can't be driven. Its amazing the things that can be done to a car ;) some things can permanently disable a car. Just sayin.
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Reply to SoVeryExhausted
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We had the same problem with my mom; 94 and wouldn't stop driving. We hired people to come in and help during the day and told her they would drive her wherever she wanted to go. She still would drive if they weren't there. Then one day she forgot how to drive. Sat in the driveway unable to remember how to put the car in gear. That finally seemed to convince her to stop. But we were lucky she didn't kill anyone in the meantime. I think the idea of disabling the car (remove spark plugs, etc...) is genius. Have it towed, never to return.
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worriedinCali Jan 2, 2020
The idea Of disabling the car isn’t really genius at all. As long as the person can remember how to drive and still has access to the car, the car is a danger. Some people are still with it enough to call a tow truck or mechanic when their car won’t start. They might mention something in passing to the right person about their car not starting and that person helps them getting it running again. See what I mean?
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Cali, I agree. My friend’s mom called AAA and had the car fixed.
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worriedinCali Jan 2, 2020
My dad would just call AAA too. Most tow truck drivers who come out will easily see that the battery has been disconnected and reconnect it. The company I worked for, the drivers always went the extra mile to get the car started so they would poke around. My coworkers reconnected many disconnected batteries!

If something else has been disabled and the car won’t jumpstart, my dad would just have the car taken to the mechanic. That’s why I say, you gotta get rid of the car completely.
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Please call the police and see if they can do anything: this is a tragedy just waiting to happen. If he causes injury or death, YOU will be stuck dealing with it! Don’t wait!
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