My 93-year-old father and mother live in the middle of nowhere. It is an hour ride to doctors, food shopping, and prescriptions, etc. They drive into the city of Binghamton at least 4 times a week, sometimes just to go for dinner. They are very proud of the fact that it takes the 2 of them to drive. Dad is losing his ability to find his way around town. My mother is navigator and has to tell Dad about stop signs, lights, yielding, and danger ahead. Dad just drives. My mother doesn't drive because of eye problems. When my mother had to go to the hospital, Dad could not find his way home. We have seen so many bad judgment calls by my Dad like driving 40 in fast lane on thruways that are 65 miles an hour. He never uses blinkers. They have 5 children, I being one of them. WE had a doctor sign a paper for the Pennsylvania department of motor vehicles to do a drivers test. My sister has it and doesn't want to mail it because if he looses his license he would be unable to drive to local church or Mom's hairdresser. Has anyone had an experience similar to this? How did you handle it?

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I just took away the keys.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to tacy022

Ditto what everyone else said. My father was the one who drove INTO the bank, luckily not killing anyone. (Every time I see the young boy he could have potentially killed, my skin crawls) We had been trying to get him to stop, with no success. It finally took refusal to help renew licence and a kind but firm deputy sheriff to get him to stop after he confiscated car for driving with expired licence, watching him ditch surf a few times. Any how, this is the hardest thing ever to do. Disable his car, steal the keys, batteries, lie about engine, whatever. Sounds like it is time to have a family intervention.
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Reply to Mincemeat

its a scary point when you reach the realization, your parents are no longer able to do for themselves. it can be overwhelming.

not just driving but in other ways too. and they will insist "all is good."

I don't mean to scare you. but you're saying he has bad judgment. it may even be worse than you know.

my parents were VERY GOOD at covering up. they both had bad judgment - so I cant explain how they were able to 'fake' being "ok"

my moms geriatric dr said once during a dr visit. That married couples often compensate for the other persons weaknesses.

also someone brought up the idea if an accident happened your dad could be sued.

this would be a horrible thing to have someone swoop in and claim damages against your parents, when they could say you knew the doctor said to stop.
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Reply to wally003

Sounds just like my mom and dad before the driving ended. They teamed up but still couldn’t find their way around.

Make the doc be the bad guy if he will cooperate. My folks doc would not so I had to disable the car. Told Dad they were waiting on parts etc.

Finally got them in assisted living and Dad spent every day for a month looking for his car.

This is tough stuff but you have to do it for all the obvious reasons.

Where I live an 89 year old guy rammed into a store yesterday, backed up and rammed it again. Amazingly, No one was hurt. It happens at least once per week in our small town. Imagine how his kids felt because they were afraid to kill the car or take the keys.
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Reply to Windyridge

Even though they are your parents, you love them and are used to obeying them, this is the time you need to be the parent. If they do not have cognitive decline, first try speaking frankly with them. On some level they surely understand that they are putting innocent people in danger. You and Sister would be devastated if something happened to them in an auto accident. Even more so if someone else was involved. “It’s a very litigious society, Dad and Mom, and you could lose everything if there was an accident and someone sued you.” Mother knows she can’t see and Father knows his reflexes are lacking. But they will nonetheless protest to the fullest extent.

Go the legal route, follow the rules and have the doctor write a letter. Then disable the car. Or even go so far as to sell it if you can. Lastly, set up weekly transport for your parents. Ask around their town and see if there’s a good soul through church or another organization who would take them out for their dinners. You can foot the bill and your parents can tip them if they wish.

Driving is one of the last forms of independence to go. It’s not an easy one. I was lucky. My mom gave up driving when she had a fender bender that wasn’t even her fault. But I had elderly aunts who were a nightmare on the roads.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

His doctor passed the buck. The doctor should have sent the Penn DMV a letter saying that in his professional opinion that you dad should not be driving.

I can't believe that your mother is a very good navigator for him since she's not driving because of her eye problems. Sounds like the blind leading the blind to me.

Your sister's reason for not mailing the letter in are puny. Their and others lives are at risk. Does she want that on her conscious? What if they have a deadly or terribly injurious accident on the way to church or the hairdresser or back? Why is it up to your sister to mail it in, can't your parents send their own mail? Sounds like your sister is deep in the river of de-nile and that is dangerous!
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Reply to cmagnum

"WE had a doctor sign a paper for Pennsylvania motor vehicle to do a drivers test; my sister has it and doesn't want to mail it because if he looses his license he would be unable to drive to local church or Mom's hairdresser."

Does your sister not want to mail it in because she is the who lives closest to them, and is perhaps afraid that she will become the transportation for your parents?
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Reply to CTTN55