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I have been struggling with this issue for awhile now, and wondered how others handle this very touchy situation. My mom has moderate dementia, is physically able to do most things, however, driving her car could be dangerous to herself and others..I am afraid I have been a chicken about approaching this, so in March, even though I knew her tags were expiring, I did nothing about it. In April, her drivers license expired but I did not tell her. Her car has been garaged here all winter and because it is a sports car, she has not even started it since September. The last time she drove she got lost 6 blocks from the house, and I had to go find her and have her follow me home. Now that it is spring, she wants to get her car out, and the other day, she tried to start it (I was not home) and the battery is dead. This is an old BMW Z3 that is in bad shape. She has tape around the rear view mirrors to hold them up, and tape on the rear right tail light! She thinks she is such a good driver and is proud of this car...wow....She wants me to try and get the battery out and have it replaced...I have talked to her doctor about this and he has not really been very helpful..The last thing I need is for her to drive and hurt herself, or worse..someone else. Can anyone help me figure out how I am going to approach this? I am the primary caregiver with no other siblings (my brother died 3 years ago) so I know it is up to me. She is going to really throw a huge fit over this, I know. She is seriously beyond reasoning this out....Help.....

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Wish I had an answer! My mother is 85 and rapidly losing her strength. Her car is awful, window button is gone, radio buttons gone, no a/c (in florida) never mind the cracked driver seat. Now she stopped traffic at the bridge because she puts the car in park waiting for the drawbridge and could not shift the gear. I wish I had the strength to talk to her mechanic and plead with him to tell her it is unfixable but know if it was found out she would hate me forever, literally, not kidding she holds a grudge like no one else.
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Sounds like my mom, who also had dementia. She would get lost driving or worse run red lights and had a wreck. I talked to her doctor which called DMV and had her license revolted. A letter was sent to her to turn in her drivers licenses. You may want to try that. Good luck, you have a long road in front of you.
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To be fair, I do have an interest in GoGoGrandparent, but it is still relevant. I made it for my grandma and it has changed her life. sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/apr/10/gogograndparent-uber-seniors-without-smartphones/
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Spam. Looks like jbooboo dug up several old posts having to do with transportation to advertise. Uggg! Shades of Bidetman!
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We gave my grandma an alternative! Check out GoGoGrandparent - it's an automated hotline that let's folks use Uber and Lyft without a smartphone. It worked pretty well for my grandma after she fell, she couldn't drive. And she's been using it ever since!
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How can I prevent or make my Father feel not so depressed from taking his driving from him? With Alzheimer's, He thinks their is nothing wrong, that the doctor's are wrong, that he is fine. He thinks nobody cares about him anymore. Please Help !
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You need to change doctors. If you think Mom is a threat and your willingly to deal with the fallout you can even go to DMV yourself and it can be anonymous. Only surround yourself with people that support your decisions- your the the one that spends the most time with her. Too many elderly are in dire situations because their loved ones cower down. Stick to your gut and do what you got to do - SHE WILL get over it. I have been there and my Mom is safe and sound and no one got hurt cause I couldn't stand my ground. She was your caregiver - now you be hers!!! I say this with great respect for what your facing.
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this is not an easy thing, however when you consider the potential for tragedy we need to do this sooner rather than later. My Mother God love her was never a good driver, she got lost easily and drove fast! My Father had been covering for her as it were for years and I did not realize the extent of her dementia till Dad passed away. Shortly before his death my Dad said hon you have to get those keys away from her. He was VERY ill and so he could not. I just approached her with the truth I felt it was not safe for her to drive, and we took her car to my sister. I take her wherever she wants to go... I would encourage you to be kind and respectful to your Mom, but also to consider the danger of doing nothing!
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It sounds like the car wouldn't pass inspection. It certainly wouldn't pass if "someone" (blame it on kids) got into the garage and removed the tail lights and driver's side mirror.
Depending on how you want to play it, you could report her anonymously to your state MV department and they'll send her a letter requiring she be checked out by a doctor within a certain time frame (be sure the doctor knows she got lost while driving close to home and that you're concerned about her being a danger to herself and others if she gets behind the wheel.) Or, you could insist that a new battery and all the other repairs will cost too much. If you know a friendly mechanic, you could get a fake estimate made up. Donating the car to one of the legitimate charities that accept cars and boats would be the best bet, so she won't obsess about getting it back on the road.
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Mom is a very healthy 88 year old who walks, plays bridge and reads. She is starting to become more and more forgetful by the day.
We anonymously turned Mom in to the DMV so that she had to take the written and drivers test. She ended up passing both after studying and practicing(she ran into a pole practicing parallel parking) She now has her license for 2 more years! She lives in a retirement-assisted living apartment where few can drive and they count on her to take them places all the time. She loves this because she feels special. I feel that it is a law suit waiting to happen and don't want her driving others around. She also has the beginnings of macular degeneration and shouldn't be driving at night but she says she only goes places she knows….What do we do now?
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Mom is a very healthy 88 year old who walks, plays bridge and reads. She is starting to become more and more forgetful by the day.
We anonymously turned Mom in to the DMV so that she had to take the written and drivers test. She ended up passing both after studying and practicing(she ran into a pole practicing parallel parking) She now has her license for 2 more years! She lives in a retirement-assisted living apartment where few can drive and they count on her to take them places all the time. She loves this because she feels special. I feel that it is a law suit waiting to happen and don't want her driving others around. She also has the beginnings of macular degeneration and shouldn't be driving at night but she says she only goes places she knows….What do we do now?
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jakew...you are one of the very few lucky ones. My husband was an on-the-road salesman for over 30 years...to him driving is "second nature". He forgets there's more to it than pushing a pedal and steering. Impaired judgement is the issue, but he will not acknowledge that his impaired.
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When my husband started having problems, we sat down together and I told him until we got these issues straightened out, it wasn't safe for him to drive anymore. At that point we didn't know what the problem was and he was going to doctors to find out. (It turned out to be early onset dementia)
My husband was always the one who did most of the driving in our house, but thankfully, he agreed with me and handed over the car keys.
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This is not hard to accomplish if you are willing to deal with her anger. In March 2012, my Mom got in her car to drive to a doctor appointment. It was 6am and her appointment was at 2pm! I drove her to the ER instead. It took the local police to talk her into getting out of the car, but she finally went in (while cussing me up and down about it -- even to this day). I told them what was happening and my fear of her driving. They told her they wanted her to see a psychiatrist and neurologist. I took all her keys and hid them. After she saw the neurologist (actually 3), they notified DMV. She was going to fight it, but she couldn't remember the answers (and her caregiver would be here twice a week and spend 90 minutes going over it). She finally gave in. But when I took her to the DMV to get an ID card, she freaked out, got in my face & started screaming at me. Some AH called Adult Protective Services saying we were physically fighting outside the DMV (which never happened). I have a locking file cabinet, and she no longer has access to the car (which I lock, even in the garage), or mail (because she has a "spend, spend, spend mentality now). She is surly, difficult, outright hateful sometimes, but she is my Mom. And I will do everything I can to make sure she is safe and not taken advantage of. No matter how much it pisses her off. LOL.
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Hi ,
I have been here and done that. You have a few things in your favor. If the car is dead it should be pronounced unfixable. Someone can look at it and just say it is a gonner. If her license is expired than DMV can help by requiring an MD exam and an OK to drive via a driving test. You can actually call them and give them that heads up. We were lucky -my Mom went to the pharmacy one morning got a little lost and actually pulled over to ask a police officer how to get home. He suspected that something wasn't right and called me (I had my number in her glove box) and I asked him to pull her license. She refused to go for the exam etc and she hasn't driven since. She still asks about driving but we just tell her the police took her license. She will be angry but some of what your going to have to do will make her angry. They do forget about it pretty quick. Its not easy but its better than someone getting hurt or worse. Good luck-know your not alone.
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Take the keys, take the keys, take the keys. She will never totally "accept" that she can't drive anymore. My mom's doc and her neurologist told her no. I drive her daily (yes, daily) for the past 3 years. She still can't get over it but fusses much less now. You have to do what you have to do and try to have several others with you when you tell her calmly that she just is not safe to drive anymore.
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I had the same problem with my Dad. As long as he saw his car in the driveway, he wanted to drive. We did two things. Contact his doctor who told him to stop driving AND we took the car away (told him my brother needed to borrow it and just never returned it). My Dad had Alzheimer's and had an accident just after his initial diagnosis. That was a scary time. He could have really hurt someone. It is not worth taking the risk. NOW, I am trying to convince my mother-in-law who is diabetic with macular degeneration (blind in one eye) to stop driving. She believes that as long as she drive locally and during the day she will be fine. That is an accident waiting to happen. I wish you well.
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I have the same problem but it is with my mom and my dad. My dad does all the driving and shouldn't be on the road. He has dementia and glacoma. My mom complains all the time that he would get lost if she wasn't there with him. In the same breath, she says that "he is going to kill me in that car". BUT she loves to go, go, go so she is very happy to suggest they "take a drive" and doesn't want him to not be able to drive them. I need to get the keys away from my dad, but my mother,would never go along with it because that would be the end of her getting out of the house. I am battling both mom and dad. I've been wondering when he does stop driving, how will they get where they need to go? My sister is 2 hours away but I am 15 hours away. How will they get to the dr, the grocery store, church, etc.
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Kerrikans, not sure what state you live in, but my folks are in Michigan. When Dad's dementia got to the point that, while he may have been able to drive physically, mentally it would have been too dangerous, as he wasn't quite sure where he was a lot of the time. He was extremely resistant to this news. He was told at the end of a short stay in a rehab center. He insisted that we were wrong. So we talked to his doctor who ALSO told him. He argued with the doc, but was more accepting when it came from the doc. The doc told us that in Michigan they have centers where they will test formerly impaired or elderly drivers using a simulator. He told Dad that if his medical condition improved (which we all know it won't) that he could go to the testing center in their area and have the full battery of tests - written, simulator and road tests. If the STATE passed him on all of these and gave him a license, then OK. The doc also gave us a letter to give to the state, just in case Dad decided he wanted to go that route. The letter said that no way should Dad be driving because of his impaired reflexes and dementia. But that way the STATE could say no.

Then we had the issue of the car, because as long as the car was sitting in the garage, Dad kept wanting to drive. We took the keys, but we continued to get the arguments. Finally, after about a year when Dad calmed down and began to accept that he would not be driving anymore, we talked to him about how it was a bad idea financially to pay for insurance on a car that nobody drove. The battery was dead, so the car didn't run, but it was time to get rid of the car. It was a 20-year-old car and all beat up, so selling it wasn't going to be easy. Instead I asked at the Senior Resource Center and they told me about a local charity that accepts donated cars. They have mechanics who volunteer their time to fix the cars and then they are either sold to raise $$ for the charity, or else they are given to local people who are in need of transportation. Dad would get a small tax deduction for the donation, they came and towed the car for us, and we didn't have to worry about that anymore.

Almost a year has passed since the car left. Dad still gets ornery about not being able to drive, but at least we don't have to worry about him going out and taking the car without our knowledge. Taking away the keys is one of the hardest things the elderly have to deal with. Just like a teenager GETTING the keys for the first time, the car keys represent independence. Having them taken away represents a new phase of dependence. Dad hasn't been the same since.
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I had the same issue with my mom, also at age 83. She was getting lost, finding herself across town from where she had intended to go. She also had a couple of parking lot fender benders, which she swore were not her fault. I asked her doctor for help with this and he suggested that we get her a GPS! She was not able to operate an ATM machine or a DVD player, but he thought it was a good idea to distract her while she was driving with a GPS?? A couple of months later, a grandaughter needed a dependable car to drive to college so we appealed to Mom to help the grandaughter out by giving her a good deal on the car. She agreed, I think because she saw this as a good deed rather than giving up something.

I don't know much about cars, but if this one is kind of a classic, maybe you could find a family member, friend, or even a teen-age car buff who would like a project. This person could offer profuse thanks to mom and offer to take her for a ride after the car is restored. Since most of these projects take months or years to complete, she will probably forget about the car before it is finished.
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I had this issue with my Mother... and I know it is hard! Sadly my Mother was really NEVER a good driver and with age it got worse. She was damaging the car and also getting lost. My sister's car died and so we loaned Mother's car to her and it never came back... AARP offers a drivers safety class that is very good. Something to think about!
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So she throws a fit. Better a fit than for her to endanger herself and kill someone else. I just told my 87 to-be husband he was not driving anymore and he said, "good". (He got lost going to the VA, they called wondering where he was and he showed up 1 hr. later. I had called police too.) Make up excuses why you cannot buy another battery, just keep making up excuses and pretty soon she will forget about the car. Have it towed if it really becomes a problem, donate it, anything to get her mind off the car. Out of sight, out of mind. Since you are the caregiver, YOU make the rules. End of discussion.
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i am a person who works with familes who have decided to change the driving routine for a love one
there is alot of detail to formulate a plan so that your loved one does not become a shut-in
especially a loved one who is very active in the community
depriving a loved one of her community,family,friends because of her driving is not healthy for anyone involved
her diagnosis is a part of her life not her entire life
we each do the best we can and that seems to change with information,experience, education & support
bravo for asking for help!!!
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AARP offers a program called "We Need to Talk" for families who are concerned about their loved one's ability to drive safely. They offer it in person or, if there's no location close to you, online.
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some time ago my dad was on some meds, lithium to be exact, for depression, so he was coo coo at times...my mother periodically found him in the driver's seat of the car when she couldn't find him in the house. fortunately she removed all of the car keys from his key ring. having a key ring withe keys provided dad with comfort; removing the car keys provided mom with comfort
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if you can reason with them as WildRose did you are home free. Not all Dementia patients can be reasoned with and also, when they go in and out of lucidity they can do very strange unsafe things when they are "out."
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Take the car keys away. Be available to chauffer 24/7.
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A few years back, we were in a terrible auto crash caused by a 90 plus year old man with dementia. Battling his insurance company became impossible so we hired an attorney. I had to really stand on this attorney to back off from taking this man's home, his land, and anything else he had of value. All we wanted was the insurance money, medical bills paid, and the man's drivers license revoked. So when it came time to tell my Mom to stop driving, we explained how one accident could cause her to lose her home and everything else she had worked all her life to obtain. Maybe try this route and see if you can bring your mom along with the decision in full agreement. It worked with my Mom. She volunteered to stop driving.
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Millions of people charged with dui's who have their licenses revoked continue to drive anyway. refusing to renew her license will not stop her from driving it only serves as reinforcements. in addition to disabling the vehicle, change the keys on her key ring to ensure that she doesnt have any workable car keys it's so simple to keep the roads safe, not so simple to deal with the aftermath i know so bring in reinforcments, the swat team and anyone else you can think of...but that is what they are reinforcment....the weapon has to be gone and non functional now.
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if you are afraid as to how your LO will react imagine how afraid you are going to be when she gets sued or when someone has to bury their loved one because of driving negligence...
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