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The only way to stop my mom from driving is to disable to the car. What's the best way to do this? My inclination is put a club wheel lock on it. I really don't want to mess around with the battery connections. The problem with the club is she will see it right off, which set up an immediate nuclear war. But she's in her 90s, just took a tumble down the stairs, is leaving rehab soon after recovering from multiple fractures, and seems more forgetful now. I have to act. How have you dealt with this?

Take possession of all of the keys and her driver's license. That's what I did while my mom was in the hospital. I have now told my mom the truth which is that her doctors have taken away her driving privileges. This keeps my mom safe and all others as well, that's what is important. Good luck, I know this is tough and I'm sorry you're in this position.
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Reply to sunset38
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Take away all sets of keys.  Have a mechanic, or someone who knows basic car mechanics, come over and shut it down.  Inform those she might call for help that they are not to come over and see what is causing it to not start.  Call your state department that deals with driver's licensure and explain the issue.  Call the insurance company and cancel the auto insurance policy on the car.  Trade the driver's license in for a photo I.D. that is NOT a driver's license.  Not fun, but effective.  You won't be very popular with her, but better than more issues down the road.
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Reply to debbiesdaz
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It's a horrible solution, but just get the rehab attending physician (or, after you do a follow up post-rehab with her normal primary care physician) to put it in writing that she is not allowed to drive. And, ask him to add stipulations: such as, she can drive again if.................

Then, explain to your mom that it's the doctor's professional medical decision based on her medical condition, and also explain that if she drives and has an accident, even a minor fender bender, then she could lose every single asset she has, every single penny, because anyone else who is hurt can sue her, and, also, her auto insurance company will not honor any claim by her.

Then, either take away all the car keys, or move the car to where you live, assuming that you do not live together.

Went through this with my mother. In her case, I didn't even ask; the discharge doctor at rehab just did it.....wrote down that she was not authorized to drive. And then, when she complained to her PCP, her PCP said she would have to take a special test, neurological and driving, at a well-known memory care testing facility in order to try to get permission to drive again.

She had me, and home health caregivers, to drive her car for her, so eventually she adjusted. But, it was not easy.
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Reply to anonymous903302
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What is the Blue Book value of her car? I would take that into consideration before making a decision. If it's substantial, I would sell the car and set aside the money for her care. Her care needs are only going to increase. Had my husband forced the sale of his dad's car before all the accidents, "ooopsies" and skyrocketing insurance rates, his dad would have gotten over 12 grand for it.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Use the advice below for disabling it and then tell her you're taking it to the shop for repair and sell it.  We all know how long it can take for a repair.  She'll eventually forget.  Good luck!
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Reply to Jessica40
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Disconnecting the battery really isn't that hard but you could just drain it too by leaving lights on or something. Would she know how and be able to call AAA for a jump or just give up and complain to you when the car wont start? The other thing you could do is have someone come over and disconnect some wires...
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Reply to Lymie61
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All good suggestions as far as disabling the car. My mom totalled hers on Christmas Eve driving to church. She hit 3 parked cars. Her car was towed away and her insurance company dropped her. My older sister didn't beat around the bush. She flat out told her "no more driving for you." She protested a bit but we moved her in with me, and my son and I drove her wherever she needed to go. She insisted on keeping her license current, however and, because of that, MY car insurance went up when she moved in. I handed her the bill for the difference. Whenever she griped, I calmly said, "surrender the license." She refused and paid the difference for the 5 years she lived with me until her license expired. By that time, she had no clue as to how to renew it.
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Reply to lablover64
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anonymous903302 May 2, 2019
I'm confused. Why did your car insurance premium increase? Just because your mother still had a valid driver's license? If your mother had no car of her own, then she did not need insurance, so I don't understand why your insurance increased.
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We actually had the doctor explain that my mother can no longer drive safely. At that point, we took her keys and sold the car. She asks over and over and over again, but we continue to tell her the doctor told her she can't drive and her car has been sold. I have also explained she no longer can get insurance because of her age. Hopefully these issues will help.
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Reply to jesuschik
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I locked the keys or put the keys in a place where my Husband could not find them.

The facilitator of one of the support groups I go to had a switch installed under the dash that would disable the car. When she pulled the car in she would flip the switch and the car would not start unless that switch was moved again. She had her mechanic install it.

If the car is in a garage can you remove the remote so the garage door does not open?
If the car is outside chocks could be placed by each wheel this would prevent the car from easily being moved even with the car running and in drive it takes a lot to move a vehicle if the wheels do not move easily.

If this is her car and she will not be driving again you could do:
remove it from the property, tell her it is in for repairs,
sell it if you legally can.
tell her that your car is in for repairs and you have to "borrow" hers.

Simply taking away a drivers license will not prevent a person from driving. People drive without a license all the time.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Take out the PCM or ECM fuse, depends on the car. the fuse to the computer.
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Reply to smeshque
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I am so following. Not in your shoes op, but know a few who are. Thanks for posting this,REALLY.
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Reply to Segoline
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If you think it's difficult to get a driver's license revoked... you should try a concealed carry permit. PCP didn't want to write that letter; neither did geriatric psychiatrist _until_ I pointed out their _liability_ if anything happened (thank ACA patient privacy censorship). County sheriff worked with me as soon as he had the letters.
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Reply to TNtechie
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Lymie61 May 2, 2019
Oh my goodness, I hadn't even though about this but boy I can see the issues now that you mention it!
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Donate it.
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Reply to MAYDAY
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I agree but apparently there is a question of age discrimination. The DMV in my state tests every 2 years and then, after90, every year behind the wheel. But they can drive on muscle memory alone and still not have sound judgement. States need to use driving simulators so their reaction time, and judgement can be evaluated by a simulation of a kid stepping off the curb in front of their car.
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Reply to dogparkmomma
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DMV and insurances companies have to get together. Seniors past the age of 80, or so, should have to get tested by the DMV every two years. If diagnosed with Dementia then 1 yr. Insurance companies should not insure until they receive the results the person passed a test.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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worriedinCali Apr 8, 2019
I agree. Actually I may be the minority here but I think a dementia diagnosis should automatically result in the driver’s license being revoked. Doctors should have to report it to the DMV.
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Sometimes war is unavoidable. My FIL threw temper tantrums when we brought up the subject of getting rid of his car. It took a long time because my husband approached his dad softly-gently. Meanwhile, FIL got into fender-benders and one major accident. His insurance rates soared. When FIL moved to indy living he still refused to give up his status symbol. By the time the car was sold, FIL got hardly any money for it. If it had been sold in a timely manner, it would have paid for at least one month of indy living expenses.

Driving a car is not a right; it's a privilege. That's why they call them "driving privileges". More and more accidents involving old people are happening. If you do not feel comfortable getting in the car with your own mother behind the wheel then why are you subjecting others to her driving? Get her on an errand schedule that is convenient for you. Sell the car while it still has value. Put that money aside for her caregiving expenses, which are only going to increase.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Best way to disable a car is to move the driver in with you, tell her you're her driver now & sell it.
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Reply to Kelkel
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LoopyLoo Apr 8, 2019
Agreed. Sell it. She will still get mad maybe, but better to have that then deal with "why won't the car work? when will it be fixed?" daily barrage.
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Pull fuse or ignition relay. If an older car disconnect coil wire, worse comes to worse, drain battery so it " looks" fine but wont start. The best bet is to get keys and if room at your home, remove vehicle from her home. Have doc tell her no more. If she's like my MIL, usual attitude is eh, I can do it, what does ____ know. Good luck.
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Reply to Takincare
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I agree, the car needs to be gone; tell her something...it did not start and had to be towed and it is at the shop. Where are the keys? if she is in rehab, then find both sets of keys and take them too.
We took my mother's keys; and then told her she could not drive anymore and took the car. In my state, actually a doctor would have had to say that and we did eventually get her doctor to say it but we stopped her driving first.

I actually told her in front of the doctor during the discussion, that "If you promise to only kill yourself, I am okay with you driving. But I am afraid you will kill a young woman with 2 kids in the car.".

since she is at rehab, talk to the doctor without her present to make sure doctor is on board and get him to confirm she is not safe to drive. You still have to take the keys or she might try anyway.

I applaud your efforts, there are too many people driving past their physical and mental ability to do so. It is tough to act on this but necessary. I just got lucky with my FIL; with my prodding, he agreed to let us sell the car. He did not want to admit he could not drive anymore...he never did say that but he did give up the car.

Good luck
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Reply to dogparkmomma
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The car has to disappear.
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Reply to qmnpxl
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againx100 Apr 8, 2019
Yes, move it somewhere else. And hope she forgets about it. Out of sight, out of mind?
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If you disconnect the battery, what are the chances mom will call AAA/road club/tow truck because the car won’t start? If she’s able to do that, they will come out and reconnect the battery for her.

Why not use a therapeutic fib? “Lose” the keys. Maybe rehab could lose the keys? Otherwise the club wheel lock sounds like a good idea.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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We were at that point a couple of years ago trying to figure out how to have that conversation, and out of the blue, my mil got a bill from insurance and decided that it wasn't worth it to pay that much for a car she hardly drives any more. We had never thought to appeal to her cheap side. lol. She was also not wanting to go get her driver's license renewed. After a certain point they have to go in person every year or 2 years, so it's a huge pain. We disconnected the battery too though. Sometimes you have to be sneaky, and play dumb if they ask about it.
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Reply to JanieR
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JoAnn29 Apr 8, 2019
She should still have an ID.
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Why are you reluctant to remove the battery or at least disconnect the leads?

Other options are to remove the fuses. If it is an older car remove the distributor or remove the spark plugs.

Or call your mechanic and ask them to stop by and disable it for you.
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Reply to Tothill
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Disconnecting the battery really is the best bet. It's pretty simple to do, just disconnect your ground (black) cable first, then your positive (red) cable. Truthfully, you could just leave the positive on but I just feel more comfortable with having it completely disconnected.

I'm in custody of my grandma's car and she doesn't live with me but she has the idea that she may end up driving again. She can't even really get up herself anymore since her hip fracture and she has confusion spells due to blockages in her arteries. She's not driving that sucker again, I will not allow it. But it's good that you're being proactive because not only could your mom hurt herself, but she could hurt/kill someone else too.

If anything, you could try giving her the wrong keys so that it won't fit/turn in the ignition and chalk it up that the ignition must be broken and it needs repair.
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Reply to tbb279
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Battery would be the best. Don't you have a man around who can do it?
Are there carburetors anymore? Whatever you do, let Mom see that its broke then "take it to the shop". Which means take it somewhere else, out of sight out of mind. My neighbor had to take her Moms keys away. But they left the car at her house. So she saw it every day and wanted to know why she couldn't drive it. Finally they brought it to their house.
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