My mothers license has been suspended because of an accident she caused and she totaled her car.
And because I sent a form into DMV regarding her medical condition as per our Dr. and our doctor also sent in a form stating she should not be driving. She is very angry at both of us. Since she got the letter suspending her from driving she has become very irrational and is always yelling at me because its my fault. I was just trying to keep her safe and others on the road safe. Not sure if she is getting alittle dementia or if its because she doesn't drink enough water. And she wont take her antidepression, anxiety meds. I need help!

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Mom’s license was finally revoked after an ER visit. The hospital didn’t move on the paperwork after her mild cognitive decline diagnosis at that time. I pursued the paperwork with the state, through the pandemic. Mom has been angry at me since. I consider it a blessing to have had the state complete the paperwork which forces Mom to get three docs to say she has the ability (or not) to drive. She tried to get family doc to ‘sign off’ on it, but he declined.

Why isn’t she taking her meds? Mom did the same and it ended with her going to the ER.
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I would venture to guess your mother DOES have dementia going on b/c nobody in possession of her senses would WANT to continue driving after causing an accident and totaling her car! Not to mention getting a letter in the mail from the DMV telling her her license has been reality, her brain is not firing on all cylinders now which is not likely due to 'not drinking enough water.' This level of anger due to her own driving inabilities and refusal to take medications that are necessary to her wellbeing smacks of dementia to me, after having dealt with a parent with vascular dementia for quite a few years.

As a comparison, my father was 89 years old with no dementia when he had 3 little fender benders (involving no other vehicles) in 2011, back to back. He voluntarily gave up his license and gave my daughter his Toyota b/c he felt like it was only a matter of time before he DID cause a real accident where someone was killed or badly hurt. He was in possession of his senses to recognize the fact that he was a danger to himself & others on the road.

Dad never drank enough water, and neither did my mother b/c they hated 'having to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes.' That's most every elder's lament, and their #1 reason for getting dehydrated.

My mother with dementia was always angry at me too, and placing the blame for everything wrong in her life on me. As her dementia progressed, she too refused to take some of her meds, requiring her doctor to order the Memory Care AL to crush them and put them in applesauce. A couple were prescribed in liquid form which were easier to administer via syringe in her cheek (not a needle, but a quick squirt in her mouth). Dementia causes a lot of elders to become combative once they lose their ability to reason; they get so self centered that they can't see past the tip of their own nose. Logic leaves the scene and chaos takes its place.

I'm not sure how you can help a mother who is so angry and doesn't want help. Oftentimes, 'children' have to wait for their mother to fall in the house or have another crisis and get shipped off to the ER before they can help them effect a change. Then the hospital or rehab won't release the elder back home to live independently, which forces them into Assisted Living or to hiring in home help on a daily basis. This may be the situation you're facing with your mother now.

Learn all you can about dementia by reading this 33 page booklet (a free download) which has THE best information ever about managing dementia and what to expect with an elder who's been diagnosed with it.

Understanding the Dementia Experience, by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller

Jennifer is a nurse who worked for many years as an educator and counsellor for people with dementia and their families, as well as others in caring roles. She addresses the emotional and grief issues in the contexts in which they arise for families living with dementia.

The full copy of her book is available here:

There are some good tips in there along with a list of Do's & Don'ts about how to deal with an elder who has dementia. It may help you with your mom. So will a trip to her PCP for a full medical evaluation & cognition test.

Best of luck!
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Yes, turn it around on her. She has no license because she had a accident that was her fault. All you and the doctor did was send in the paperwork to have DMV make an evaluation and they found you should no longer me driving.

Let her be mad. Ignore it, she will eventually tire out. They get like small children and with a small child you walk away. Do not try to explain your motives just walk away.
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Point out that you weren't the one who caused the accident so if she needs to be mad at anyone it has to be herself.
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No one gets, or HAS, a “little” dementia. “Dementia” is like “pregnant”- you can be in the early stages of either and have certain indications.

The behaviors you describe are often indications of progressive brain deterioration. They may be exacerbated by dehydration or UTIs or other medical situations.

For now, if she lives independently, stay out of her way. If you must be in contact with her, cut off your visit or phone call with a quick hug, say “I love you” and hang up the phone or walk out the door.

Assume that NONE of what she says about you is valid or true. She is losing her ability to filter her thoughts, and that causes her to say things she would previously have rejected as unreasonable.

Tell her her doctor wants/needs to talk to her about her driver’s license and get her seen for a thorough physical. Keep a little notebook of her comments and unusual behavior to share with her health professionals.

IF this IS the beginning of early dementia, you will need to educate yourself, and it’s not easy. But be aware that you did EXACTLY what you should have done for exactly the RIGHT REASONS.
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Tell her some horror stories about elders who have had accidents on the road. Injured themselves, killed little children in the back seat of the car they hit, been prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving, gone through through an endless court procedure, been sent straight into NH care, sued for the damage and deaths, ruined themselves and wiped out any inheritance to leave, end up with State guardianship, no control over what happens to them. It’s all true (though not usually at once). Set out to scare the living daylights out of her. It may help.
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Sounds like dementia might be rearing it's ugly head. At 95, I'd be surprised if she didn't have some form and degree of it.

Does she live with you?

You can be prepared to give her vague answers and not engage in any arguing over it. "I know mom. I didn't want to do it but I had to. Being angry is not going to change things. Let's start focusing on something else. What do you want for breakfast (or what game would you like to play, etc)?"

Look up grey rocking.

I would go over the topic ONCE per visit and then simply say "Mom, we already discussed this. I am done talking about it. If you insist on yelling at me, I will be leaving for the day." And do it. Don't threaten. Just do it.
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Simply remind her that the DMV cancelled her licence - for safety. For hers & for children crossing the road.

Yes it is hard to give up driving. (I haven't but had LOs that have..)

Yes she can be sad &/or angry about that. About old age. Not for sissies remember?

Then kindly remind her not to take that out on you. You can listen. Empathise. But do not have to put up with rants directed at you. You will leave. Then do so when needed.

If you can, try to re-focus her on what she CAN still do. But you can still WALK! (or use a wheelchair 😶) can still TALK, feed yourself, play cards or whatever.

I saw a cartoon once with the 'wheels of life'..
Pram, tricycle, bicycle, skateboard, car, wheelie frame, wheelchair & finally, coffin wheeled out. 🙃
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Probably dementia, considering her age. Since you’re in communication with her doctor, ask for meds that could calm her down. That would give both of you relief.
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funkygrandma59 Sep 2022
Medications aren't always the answer. It's sad how many people just want to medicate the elderly just to basically shut them up. The OP said that her mom already doesn't take her antidepressants or anxiety medicines, so what makes you think she would take something else?
This OP's mom has every right to be upset that her license was revoked, but she must also come to understand the reasons why. I can only guess that come the time that I will have to give up my driving that I will not be very happy about it either, and would hope that instead of my children wanting to sedate me that they will be patient with me until I come to grips with it.
Eventually the OP's mom will get over it and life will move on. This is just another bump in the road in the life of the elderly.
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