My mother is 78 and although not officially diagnosed, I believe she is in the early stages of dementia. Her primary care recently prescribed Aricept but I have not noticed any difference in her memory or recall. She suffers from carpal tunnel and has a hard time using her right hand. In addition to all of this she has been having dizzy spells. She will not tell me the truth about how she is feeling because she knows I will tell her she can not drive. I have already restricted her driving to 2 major streets near our home that she can get to most everything she needs. Otherwise she gets lost. But I no longer feel that these 2 streets are safe with her on them. Up until recently I would have her drive my mother-in-law to the Council on Aging for exercise class on Monday morning (they both live with me) but no longer allow that because if they both got hurt in an accident I think I would lose my mind. I am pretty sure if she took a driving test she would pass because she would focus only on driving for that short period of time, but otherwise she is a very distracted driver. She has had many dings and scrapes on her car and has spent lots of money to repair them because in her mind if she can't see them they never happened. I have tried going through her primary care and he just offers up the driving test. Any thoughts??

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It's a sad thing when a person who has driven all their life has to give up the freedom of just getting in the car and going, but it's gonna happen to ALL of us sooner or later I suppose. Your mom would feel awful if she had and accident causing injury to a mom driving with her little kids right? I guess I would ask her if she has noticed that she doesn't drive as well as she used to. Ask her to be honest with you and herself about that, and how would she feel if she caused an accident where someone got hurt. Her insurance could possibly drop her, then she'd be unable to drive anyway. There are people that you/she can hire to just take her from point A to point B whenever she wants you know. ♥
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This is tough. Get the driving test and see how it goes. If she is competent and your MIL is competent then you don't have the right to restrict their driving (or riding) on that basis.
Has your mom gotten lost? Has she gotten tickets?
Not to say that you couldn't have your own rules about the circumstances under which you will allow either of them to live in your home. You could require that they not own a car, that they not drive or ride with dangerous drivers as a condition of living in your home or you being their caretaker.
Obviously your mom listens to you or she wouldn't restrict herself to the two streets (or does she?).
It's an important issue. I'm not trying to make light of it but if the prevailing authorities find her competent then you might have to accept that for now.
If you feel a passenger is distracting and it well may be, then begin by finding an alternate transportation mode for MIL and asking your mom to drive alone. Make time to take your mom on her regular trips or find a driver that can help out.
There are many threads on this site on seniors driving. Use the search and you can read about others experiences and solutions.
It's very depressing for a senior when they have to stop driving. Failing the test might be upsetting but at least it would be from a recognizable authority and easier to accept than from a daughter.
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About the only thing I can think of is to report her to the DMV and they will have her come in for a test. Tell them about her problems. Perhaps she won't pass. You can always hope! Otherwise, if her doctor won't be helpful, there isn't much you can do. Some people end up just taking the keys away and telling the person he or she can't drive any more.
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