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My 83 year old dad has dementia and wants to have his car near him although he is not allowed to drive. I want to park the car outside his home so that he has the comfort of seeing his car and knowing it hasn't been stolen. But I cannot let him drive it; He doesn't have a license and is no longer insured of course. How can I disable the car to be sure it won't start but in a way that doesn't damage anything? The car is a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

Get four axle stands and take the wheels off. You then store the wheels in a cool garage or basement, lying flat. That way, if and when your father decides he might as well sell the car and have the money, you can just pop the wheels back on and the tyres will still be in good condition.

If you don't want him climbing in and starting the ignition, disconnect the battery leads.

There may come a point, you know, when he doesn't remember that he can't drive and he is enraged by his car not working. You'll need to look out for that and change tack if need be.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I think someone on site did disconnect the battery and some well meaning neighbor put the leads back on. Another the parent kept calling the garage. Our neighbor chose to leave her Moms car in the driveway but she kept asking why she couldn't drive. When told she was getting too old, she said she saw a lot of old ladys driving. She had ALZ. They can no longer understand. I am for out of site, out of mind.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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sweeneyn14 I don't think anyone who has posted is being judgmental, they're trying to give you some ideas on what to do with the car and still be able to appease your dad. The AL is nice to allow the car to sit there even though it is not being driven. In some places, after a certain time if a car has not been moved management would get on the owner to either move the car or they would have it towed off the premises then bill the owner. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
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Reply to shad250
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Sell it. Why have a decent running car sitting around being unused? It could be a good starter car for a new driver.
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Reply to shad250
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Thank you to Country Mouse and 97yroldMom and those who answered with compassion. I am surprised to have some people, who don't know me or my dad, tell me what is cruel. It's easy for you to say what you find comforting and what you don't you don't have all the answers for every situation so stop with the judgment. Dad's car sat in his parking spot for quite some time and he didn't drive it at all, although he could have at that time. We took the car away and told him he couldn't drive it, that it was in the shop anyway and needed to be sold, etc. When it was gone, he asked about it every single day and it was clear how painful that was for him. It's hard to lose everything and those with dementia are losing so much already. So Dad's car is now parked in the assisted living parking lot and they are aware that it is there and not going to help him start it. Having it there is a comfort to him, even if it wouldn't be to others. He is making no attempt to drive it but so happy not to have lost it. Just in case we have disabled it in several different ways: disconnected spark plugs, unplugged the fuse to the fuel pump, and also disconnected the battery. It would take a while for anyone to figure out what all needs to be done to get this running. Dad no longer knows how to use the phone anymore either so calling triple AAA won't happen. I do plan to have it go to the shop again for a while and next time it will be "too far gone to save", then I will tell him we sold it for a ton of money. When we have compassion, we get creative. I love my Dad.
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Reply to sweeneyn14
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Hi Sweeney, Welcome, it's nice to meet you.
When ppl respond to a question, they are giving you their personal experiences, and/or outlooks on a situation because of their experiences.

Eg...My Mom is living with me for the last two months and feels aweful about loosing everything, her apartment, furnishings, privacy, Independence. She's doing her best to accept it but it's so hard for her.

I live 2.5 hrs from her former home. If I lived closer and passed her old building everyday, I can assure you it'd be "torture" for her. Especially since she cries after talking to her friends who still live there.

So this is my experience. I didn't answer your question because everyone already covered all the bases. And if you noticed, the answers have your dad's feelings front and center. That's pretty awesome ha? 😊

Your hubs is a mechanic, so it seems you had the answer to your question all along.

This is a wonderful site, and you are definitely in the right place! I'm sure you have a lot of wisdom to share, while benefiting from others, too.

Snapping at the same ppl your asking to help you will only cause ppl to avoid you. You weren't judged. I haven't seen anything on this site but compassion, patience and honesty. What more could we ask for? 😉
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Reply to Pepsee
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Personally, I don't think he should see it or even possibly have access to drive it. Well-meaning friends/neighbors could possibly help him get the car running due to not knowing they shouldn't or can't say no because they feel sorry for him. I even heard of a man whose neighbor actually came over the lifted the guy's legs into the car for him so he could drive. How is a man who had to have legs lifted into the car going to be able to hit the brake in an emergency? All kinds of things could potentially happen.

My solution to your issue is that you could put the car in "storage" for him (for real or not - you decide) and tell him the car needs to be kept safe and he's saving a bundle on his insurance (even though he doesn't have any insurance) by not driving it right now.
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Reply to OverTheEdge17
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Yes, the car should go away. But the quickest and easiest way to disable a car is to pull the starter relay. It’s a small electronic cube in the fuse box under the hood. I did this for a few days until I got my dad into assisted living. Sold the car a month later.
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Reply to Windyridge
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Country Mouse answered the question you asked but it sounds so painful.

Sometimes it takes us a while as well to accept that our loved one isn’t going to drive again.

You will be able to tell after awhile if seeing the car is a comfort to him or a painful reminder. Cars represent so much more than transportation.
 
My aunt told me if the car was there she would drive it. We had at first thought she might like to go for a ride in it occasionally. She knew better and although she hasn’t driven for several years she will occasionally say she regrets stopping.

Someone told about their elder calling AAA and requesting a new battery so remember on a clear day what you choose to do to disable the car can be undone.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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I agree with Windyridge, disable then sell. I had dad’s car towed off the driveway and taken to be sold at the dealership. I had no clue where the pink slip or paperwork was. The dealer handled everything. Initially, I thought I solved the problem by taking away the car keys, but dad called a locksmith to make new keys so the car had to go.
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Reply to yogagirl
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