How do you know when to take the car keys from your loved one?

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My husband is in the early stages of Dementia. We live in a very small town, and at this point he is still driving. It is going to be very difficult to take his car keys away. He is not aware of how much his situation has deteriorated, and most of the time doesn't remember that he has dementia. He has gotten lost a few times in our little town, but it is so small and so many people know him and about his problem, he has always found someone to help him get home, or recognized where he was after a short time. He doesn't drive very well. He has trouble maintaining a constant speed and will drive very slowly at times, though he doesn't speed. I have asked his doctors and they have said they usually don't have a problem with driving until the patient scores 20 or lower on the MoCA or SLUMS or other memory test. He is currently scoring 21-25. Whenever we go somewhere together, I drive, unless I just want to ride with him to see how he's doing. Does anyone have any advice on when and how to keep your loved one from driving?

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I agree. When this question of driving starts occurring to you it's time to start the process of getting the keys away and from my experience, it is a process. I don't think anyone just hands over their keys willingly.

With my dad I brought it up to him one day. It was casual. Something about has he ever thought that he was at that point in life where he couldn't drive. I was trying to put out a feeler, to see how he'd respond. After several more discussions over a span of time we decided to let the Dr. decide if my dad could continue to drive. When I called to make the appointment I spoke to the nurse and told her that my dad wasn't safe behind the wheel and that I would like the Dr. to tell my dad that it was time to give up driving. I knew my dad would never listen to me but I figured he might listen to his Dr. And he did. The Dr. expressed concern over my dad's driving and my dad stopped driving that day.

I've always been in favor of making the Dr. the bad guy.
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It's time to stop the driving. Getting lost in a small town that he knows well is serious business. It's just a matter of time until he wanders into the next state or runs the car into the gas station.

And keep in mind, you will not be able to reason with him. Even if you convinced him today that the driving should end he will forget all about it tomorrow.

It's very hard but you have to get rid of the car. If you can divert him, dodge and weave, the car is in the shop etc. there's nothing wrong with a little fibbing to make this happen and keep him and the general public safe.
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Even though it's a small town, if he gets his gas and brake confused, he could really hurt someone, a friend, family member or child. If you have access to a professional who can assess his ability, then I might consider it, but keep in mind that his condition could decline the day after that assessment, so it would not be a guarantee of his ability the minute after it is concluded.

Most people who drive do not like to give it up, but it's the family's responsibility to intervene. I'm shocked the doctors aren't that concerned. If he's that close and showing obvious issues, then I don't get the hesitation to tell him it's time.

I was lucky in that my cousin got scared in her car when she forgot how to open the door to get out. She then said she wanted to sell her car. I took the keys (both sets) and she never drove again, although, later she would ask when her care would be repaired. She forgot about hanging up her keys. So, you may have to keep reminding him that the car is in the shop, he can't drive while on those meds, that .....whatever works.

If you are afraid of his reaction, have family members on hand when you tell him and perhaps ask the doctor for a couple of pills for anxiety to get through the day when you tell him. You might explain to the doctor what you are doing and ask them to back you up.
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When you ask this question it is time.
There are places that can assess a persons ability and make an "educated assessment" as to the ability.
But once the diagnosis has been made I think it is the responsibility of the family to take the keys away. You open yourself to liability should something happen. The person may hurt or kill themselves or heaven forbid someone else.
Do you feel safe as a passenger when this person is driving? If you answered no then take the keys away.

I did this to my husband. I told him with the medicine he was taking he could not drive and that once he was off the medicine he could drive.
I also told him the car was in the shop.
I told him it needed gas
I told him all sorts of things to keep his mind off "his" car.
I think not driving for a man is harder to take than it is for a woman (boy is that a sexist comment) but in the end it does mean a loss of freedom that we want and need.
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