She is almost 86, diagnosed with Alz, Doctors have told her it is not safe for her to drive. She agreed to sell her car and now, several days later, she says she no longer wants to sell the car. What to do? What to say?

Not safe to drive. That is the most important statement. Get a note from the doctor and send it to the MVA. Have them revoke her license. Once she has no license she can't drive. Unless her dementia is advanced, she will understand that. Then donate the car on her behalf, unless it is a late model and Mom needs the funds from selling it.
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Reply to DrBenshir

How much is the car worth? What's the Blue Book value? Undriven cars lose value really fast.

Depending on how much the car is worth, you could buy the car from your mother and have her sign over the title to the car. Then you can turn around and sell it. The used car market is hot.

Maybe a therapeutic fib like "Mom, I need to buy a new car and have always admired your car. Will you sell me your car?"
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

Don't bother with convincing. Sell the car, expect some anger on her part. Better that than her getting killed or her killing someone else.
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Reply to LoopyLoo

The answer is ...sell it. She no longer has the ability to make safe
decisions for herself or others. I learned long ago, do not ask "yes or no" questions. The loved one will always answer NO unless there is ice cream involved.
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Reply to janny02

I continually am amazed by the similarities between my 2 year old grandson’s developing brain, and my mother’s dying brain.

My grandson would LOVE to drive my car. It is, hands down, his FAVORITE place to play. He would stay out there with all day with me, happily enjoying himself.

Of course, I keep the car OFF. I do not let him know the secret to depressing the brake, while pushing the ignition button. If I did, he ABSOLUTELY could make it go. For his safety, for mine, and for others on the road, I do not.

In the same way, when my mother still owned her car, I substituted “Mom” for “grandson”, in the above description.

All of the same people are at risk.

If we try to take the parent-child dynamic out of the equation for our decisions, we can think about the logic of allowing a loved one with dementia to make decisions involving safety.
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Reply to cxmoody

Disable the car and put a note under the hood for any well meaning mechanic that the car should not be fixed because of her health and dr order. They can tell her they will see about getting parts. Hiding the keys is not a good idea, in my opinion, because then the person will do what the rest of us would do - drive our brain crazy trying to remember what we did with the key. Don't put anyone through that.

She agreed to sell it at one point, so probably remembers dr told her not to drive. Let it at that. Let her see that her car is still in the driveway. Pretty hard part of losing independence is the car issue.
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Reply to my2cents

If you’re not her POA, you just can’t. She has to agree to it. You know your mom best as to what to say. If you haven’t swayed her yet, it’s not likely any words we tell you to say will do anything but frustrate your mother, as well as you.

Maybe broach it again in a couple of months, and if she agrees, have the papers and a pen handy…
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Reply to Lizbitty
MargaretMcKen Aug 12, 2021
Liz, there's "can't" legally and "can't" in practice. Many many posters have come up with multiple schemes for stopping mother or father driving, and killing themselves or someone else, after the doctor has told them not to drive. In the short term, it doesn't matter if the car is actually sold, so long as it and the keys are not there for her to drive.

My mother hit a lamp post full on, after someone else tail-gated her and she got flustered. Yes, she was still able to drive safely, but the other dingbat wasn't. She survived. That was the end of her driving.
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If you have no POA to act on her behalf disable the car or "lose" her keys. I literally badgered my dad into not driving - not knowing at the time his doc had already advised him to give up driving. Mom in no way was tackling that thorny issue and living with dad - so I took on the issue. I worried about him causing or being a victim of an auto accident - OR - he would be one of those oldsters who drive to the corner market but end up several hundred miles from home.

Once he finally agreed to no longer drive I moved fast to donate the car. Of course dad complained that I MADE him stop driving. He even complained to the doc that I made him stop driving to which she responded "Richard, we talked about your driving."

Check with your DMV and see what documents they need to revoke her license.
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Reply to cweissp

Stop discussing it with her, sadly she’s no longer able to make sound, reliable decisions. This is the time she depends on you to act on what’s best for her. Assuming you have financial POA, sell the car away from her and keep it as quiet as possible
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Reply to Daughterof1930

Do you have the legal authority to sell the car?
Are you her POA?

If so, then sell it and tell her that She sold it and you are very proud of her for doing so. It was the safe and smart thing to do etc. But only tell her if she asks. Never bring up the car to her yourself Iin case you are doing that).
It only causes stress.

If she becomes upset, don’t tell her that she sold it the next time she asks. Just go back to the car is in the shop etc.

If you don’t have the authority then just keep it out of sight.
I might try to get her to sign the title if she really needed the money and you can’t continue to store it. Not sure what your state laws are on transferring the car ownership.

Let us know how you handle it. We learn from one another.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to 97yroldmom

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