How do we keep Mom from driving when she does not accept her physical and mental limitations?

Follow
Share

Difficult mother with Dementia. Are there any caregivers that have dealt with a parent that insists they can drive and threaten to call the police?

My 78-year-old mother has Dementia (1 1/2 years now), and also has a Narcissistic personality (pre-Dementia). She is combative and very difficult.

She can cook and bathe herself. She forgets her medications or refuses to take them. I am her full-time caregiver (I handle all of the bills) and moved in her home to care for her. My brother also is her caregiver although he has his own apartment; He handles her medical appointments and drives her to appointments and shopping.
All of her doctors informed her that she couldn’t drive for medical reasons. She refuses to accept or acknowledge this and has switched doctors several times after each doctor tells her she cannot drive.
Her drivers’ license expired over a year and a half ago when she was hospitalized and first diagnosed with Dementia.
My brother has taken the keys from her and has taken over her car as a result of her Dr's orders and to prevent her from driving. She is a danger to herself and others behind the wheel of a car.
We are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with her wanting to drive and her threatening to call the police to report her car stole if my brother drives.
We do not have POA. She is tough as nails and refuses any outside help from caregivers and does not understand why my brother and I are caring for her.
She is currently taking Aricept and Lexapro for her Dementia. We give her Seroquel at night when she get's combative. We have tried to give her medication that a neurologist prescribed to help with combativeness during the day, but she flushed it down the toilet. She also takes two blood pressure medications and a cholesterol medication.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
5

Answers

Show:
I have walked in your shoes. We took the car away. Let her go ahead and call the cops, they won't help her. We let her mismanage the meds and land herself in the hospital. She threatened to die. We told her that was her choice. She demanded that Jesus come get her. We told her that Jesus will come when HE decides to, not when she decides to. Do not tolerate any verbal abuse, excuse yourself and leave. Tell her to call you when she is feeling better. It works. If she calls and says she is in agony, tell her to call 911. Don't go to the ER, tell her to call when she gets to a room. I guess you call it tough love for the elderly. Dementia patients are still able to figure out that being nice gets attention, if you clearly expect niceness and reject meanness. She also knows that calling the cops could turn out badly for herself. Recently a man in his 70's took his kids to court over the car. The Judge not only upheld the removal of the vehicle, he appointed a Guardian for the old man. Go for it.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

jeannegibbs,
Thanks for your post. After today my brother and I are doing exactly what you said in your last sentence. We are caring for her (putting out her meds, making sure food is in fridge, etc.) but we are backing off. There is only so much we can do.
Of course we are doing are best to keep her safe, but this is hard when we are met with "I don't need anyone to take care of me, leave me alone, I don't need water" when we try to bring her a glass of water so she will stay hydrated and not develop another UTI or go into renal failure.
As far as the driving. We are standing strong on this issue and will deal with the police issue if/when she calls.
This evening, my brother came over and took the care and is keeping it at his place. After I told him she called the Toyota dealer trying to get them to come out and make a key, he said the car cannot be left where she has access to it, even though she does not have keys, Dementia patients can be very clever.
We would rather deal with the police then have to deal with her trying to get in the car and drive (even though her license expired in 2012) and hurt or kill someone or herself.
She did not take her PM medication last night and didn't take her AM meds until 5pm today. We cannot ask her or she will definitely not take them. We just put them out for her to take.
We are praying that she takes her evening medications and that she has forgotten about today, tomorrow. We are also praying that she doesn't wake up trying to get in the garage to find out if her car is there and that she does not call the police to report it stolen.
Thanks again for your replies and for your ear.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Let her call the police. Don't bother trying to reason with her. But don't let her drive! Stay strong!

I'm sorry you grew up with a narcissistic mother. I'm sorry you are dealing with that now.

What would happen if you and your brother both backed off, and no longer tried to care for her?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

jeannegibbs,
Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately our mother is tough as nails. She is EXTREMELY difficult. Reasoning with her pre-Dementia was NEVER possible. Now that she has Dementia things like talking to her about selling the car, asking her if she needs help with ANYTHING, and discussing her not being able to drive are out of the question.

We are caught between a rock and a hard place. We live in a big city and calling the police in advance does nothing. We have to wait until "something happens" or wait until if/when she calls the police.
We are her caregivers and have given up so much and put our lives on old to care for her. Her friends don't call her anymore because they grew tired of her saying negative things about me and my brother. Her friends tried to tell her she should be thankful that she has us to care for her. Our mother's reply to them "I don't need anyone to take care of me, I can take care of myself".
Also, my brother uses her car to take her on errand and to doctors appointments, etc. She used to insist that she would "start driving again". Now she is saying no one can drive her car.
Tonight we are praying she forgets. I have an important early Dr's appointment tomorrow at 8am and I hope my brother can drive me. We are praying she will be sleep when we leave and that she is still asleep when we return. I might just take a cab if I can get one to come.
I wonder if there are other caregivers that have had an extremely difficult parent like this. A doctor told us that because she is historically a narcissistic and difficult person that you can't reason with pre-Dementia; that her behavior will get more combative as the disease progresses.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I don't envy you in the least.

I would go to the local police station or sheriff's office (both of them if you and your brother are in different districts). Explain the situation and give them the car's license plate number. This is just to help simplify things if Mother does call.

The next time she threatens to call, offer to look the phone number up for her. Remind her that the police will ask to see her (expired) driver's license.

If she somehow gets the key and takes off in the car, call the police immediately, explain that she doesn't have a license and that she does have dementia.

Do whatever it takes to keep her off the roads. The life of an innocent bystander may depend upon it!

Ask her if she'd like to sell the car, and talk about what she would buy with the money, if this is practical. If Brother needs it to get her to her appointments, that probably isn't a good idea, and she may not like it in any case.

Giving up driving was the absolutely hardest part about having dementia for my husband. I'll bet he mourned his beloved special edition Miata for at least a year. But it had to be done.

Yes, it is difficult for the caregivers. Stay strong!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.