I need help on where/who to go too. My Mom is in total denial that anything is wrong with her. She refuses to go to the Dr. to be screened

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When my mom had a stroke, she believed she could recover, even drive again, based on the story of the neuroscientist who wrote about her own stroke experience. The missing piece between Mom's case and the scientist's is the common symptom (can't remember the name) where initiation is lost. That scientist worked her tail off to recover. Mom waited a couple of years, saying "when I get better I'm going to do..." Well it's use it or lose it. During this time, getting her car back was a common topic of discussion. The first several months, I kept all copies of the key in my possesion (my hair dresser used to have to remove the rotor cap on his dad's truck). Things that seemed to help most:
1. Professionals, other than myself (daughter) asked her how she would feel if she hurt someone or a pet while driving. They also recommended that she take a driving test, when she was ready (keepin' hope alive!) so her insurance wouldn't drop her, and give her some piece of mind.

2. I explained that she was still very intelligent, but the "pot hole" was in a place in her brain that controls passage of time. By the time you look both ways (assuming she remembers to) and the time it takes to get pulled out into traffic, could be a few seconds or could be several minutes. Look how much longer other daily living things take. BTW, this happened to my grandfather. He pulled out of a parking lot and got "T-boned". Nobody hurt, thank goodness, but the lawsuit was a nightmare for them. This was when he still believed he should drive and the kids weren't sure it was time to pick a fight, yet. They quit going places after that and neither grandparent would ride with the other out of fear. Grandpa got a license renewal that said he could only drive on surface streets.
3. I used Mom's father as an example of how somebody can be unaware of their own driving abilities.
4. I made a point of agreeing that she was capable of driving the car, it's the other people on the road that are the problem. Her self-esteem is the blockade. I tried reasoning with her during our more lucid talks about too much information coming in and reaction time. She agreed at the moment, but when the thinking got befuddled (daily ups/downs), the emotions took over and she felt out of control of her own life. During those times, offer choices between two things, any topic, to redirect and return control.
4. Now she has her own private driver (me or staff). At first I tried to take her where she wanted to go. Then, simply being there was what she called a "production". If she has what she needs, she's less likely to want to go get it.

In our area, the local transit has Specialized bus service that take people door-to-door by reservation. It can be a good link to socialization. They have other pick-ups/drop-offs scheduled, so they can't promise an exact time. They offer a window of about 1.0 hour. The waiting and anticipation can fuel other worries. People who attend a routine appointment, such as the adult daycare, don't have as much inconsistency. Also, taking a cab once in a while may be less expensive than owning a car!!!
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Wow, that is interesting... Thank you!
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Look up online on the website for DMV for a form for unsafe drivers. You can report your mother anonymously. DMV will probably send your mother a form for her dr. to fill out and the dr. returns it to DMV. We recently did this with our mother, her license was revoked due to the review from her dr. Good luck!!
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You all have been very helpful and at the same time telling me things I guess I already knew. It will break my heart to tell her she cannot drive anymore. She is 74 and very outgoing and I know it will break her spirit. I know that if she was totally rational, she would not want to drive and get lost or possibly hurt someone else. However her mind is telling her otherwise. In her mind she is just fine and whatever isn't fine, God will take care of that.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and please pray that I will find the strength to do this.
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Sometimes we have to be the adult and make the right decision for our parent no matter how it upsets them. As your Mom how she would feel if she caused an accident and injured other people...then ask her for the keys and sell the car.

Sounds rough but the consequences of letting her drive is a lot to live with!
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Dear Glendagbrown, you are in a tough position, but not an impossible one. Her safety is at risk by her choices but so is the safety of innocent people who are not involved her choice to continue to drive. You could call the Dr, make an appointment for her and ask them to call her to request a follow-up as if they are initiating it. Of course you can already have discussed your concerns specific to her driving, maybe even make a paid face to face or phone appointment with her Dr for just you to talk with Dr about concerns you have.
About the driving, I am not trying to scare you but this really happened - I was first on scene at an accident that could have been prevented if the elderly driver wasn't still driving past acceptable time. It involved 4 very young children, a mother and father in a van and the elderly couple in their car. His reaction time was too slow and his wife didn't survive. I was driving behind them and he had tons of room and braking time to avoid this accident. I went to the funeral at his request and I saw something that forever changed my thoughts of how involved we adult children should be: every one of his adult children were consumed with their guilt not only for the avoidable death of their mother and guilt their father would have to endure-they also carried guilt about the involved young family and the trauma caused. They were vocal about not stepping in to have the license removed when they first had "the feeling" that parents shouldn't be driving. I spoke to my own mom (who was in her 60's) after that to ask her opinion, after all she would be on the other side of the equation one day. She clearly said that if my brothers or I had a concern in the future then we should address it with her/her physician and let physician make professional decision. WELL HOW EASY IS THAT? Takes pressure off of care-giver entirely.
About the difficulty getting her to Dr - try this: I got so fed up with my FIL refusing to see Dr that I said to him that he needs a physical so he can assure the rest of the family that he is ok, well when I said it like that he was on board 100%, in his mind he could use Dr findings as ammunition to get people off his back! Then the Dr makes decision about frequency of visits, testing, etc.
Good luck with this, follow your gut as it is usually right.
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Well, didn't want to discourage you - but you and I are in same boat. My mom went to dr, neurologist, then cancelled follow ups and removed my "allowed info from dr."....I worry about the driving to. So far she just drives within a 5 mi radius max. She too worries they won't renew her license (Jan 2013) and without outside help; she won't be able to get groceries, etc. There is no one to help (no family, neighbors, friends) who look in on her. VDOT doesn't seem to do much as far as I can tell to get seniors properly assessed. In my mind; any senior 75 or older should have to take written, visual and driving test no matter what -- but thats not always the case. My mom is 89 and I'm certain would fail written or driving test. In my opinion she will not go to renew and will just continue to drive on expired license. She insists she is safe driver and never been cited for any violations. ALL SENIORS in my experience are in denial when it comes to recognizing their shortcomings, mental and physical decline. Most are very distrustful of any outside help or intervention from their children. This is only worsening with aging population. We are stuck watching it happen with little legal recourse. Used to be, our parents just either took care of their parents or stuck them in NH. With working, living long distance, etc.; taking care of them is not longer an option. Legally, you can't force them into care without a legal or doctor intervention which is tricky and difficult from what I gather.

Research your local DOT and License bureau and see what their policy is. Maybe you can have her license restricted to a local radius or revoked. If you go this route, stop talking to her about it (for awhile) or she will know you made the call.
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Thank you for your advise. I did the same thing when I took her to the Dr. for a Post-Opp appt. Slipped a note to the Dr. about my concerns and she did a test right there in the office and recommended Mom see a Neurologist for further testing, and when that appt date arrived, she refused to go and said that she was fine, there was nothing wrong with her and that God will heal whatever does come up. I am most concerned with her driving at this point. And don't know how to stop her from driving without upsetting her. The last trip she took should have been 4.5 hes and ended up being 14 hrs. Her excuse was she was just taking her time and driving slow.... Totally denied that she was lost.
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I had same experience with my mom. I waited for her "annual physical" and then did it then. I offered to take her and then have lunch date. In advance of the appt. I wrote her physician (and requested confidential and not to be shared with my mother that I had written) detailing all the observations I and others had made on her physical and mental well being going back several months. I also listed my concerns and the help I was seeking from the doctor.

The internist (had been my mothers physician for quite some time). I called him in advance of the appt to make sure they had received letter. Mom had her appt and doctor was able to then give a longer exam including appropriate testing for baselining.

Following his screening, he sent her for neurological workup with someone specialing with elders. Then a follow up appt with her to go over findings and recommendations.

So in essence:
Physician - family physician if she has one. If not; then set an appt with a physician who deals with mature/senior adults -- this is extremely important otherwise you will be spinning your wheels in my opinion.
Neuraligist - recommendation coming thru your 1st physician visit
Psychiatrist - Senior speciality one. -- this will be up to neurologist or physician. You too have the option to encourage her to see a senior psychiatrist -- but you can't force her.

Other:
Senior Services for your county or city. Contact them and talk with them confidentially about your concerns and ask their advice on next steps.
Elder Care attorney - specializing in eldercare. You can always have consult with attorney to make sure everything is in order or what you should be aware of.
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