How to respond to mother with memory loss who has been previously told her car was sold and was distraught? - AgingCare.com

How to respond to mother with memory loss who has been previously told her car was sold and was distraught?

Follow
Share

Mother was deemed unfit to drive over a year ago as has memory loss and been in aged care for over a year. On nearly every visit I would get asked the same question, "can I have my car" I would answer her the same way, explaining to her why she was not allowed to drive etc. This was decided after testing before she left the hospital. I also had her GP do a comprehension test as she insisted she have hare car back, this was conclusive in so far as she was not fit to drive. After some time in the rest home she had made a friend and came up with a solution that this resident was going to drive her around. I found out that the other resident did have a car at the rest home but it is now being used by a family member. I do not know the reason why his car is no longer with him. I could not take the chance that my mother may just take the car and drive herself, so resisted the requests. I have now sold the car as it was depreciating in value and obviously having to renew registrations, warrants of fitness every six months seemed a waste of her money as the car was just sitting there not being used. I discussed with her the option of a elderly taxi service that was available (private company with caregivers as drivers) who would take her wherever she wanted to go, the money she received from the sale of her car could be used for this. She was not interested and was angry at this suggestion. I had not even sold the car yet, It took me another 4 months to decide I had to do it. I eventually sold it but had not told her, I didn't see what value it would have and knew it was not going to be an happy outcome. Just this week my brother came to visit from overseas and as I was going away at the same time he house sat for us. He visited our mother and bought her back to my house for lunch etc. while she was there she asked him where her car was, he then told her it had been sold. She became very distressed and distraught and asked him to take her back to the rest home immediately and that she did not want to see them also (sister in law) Again. He drove her back alone and stayed with her for an hour or so until he felt she was ok. He said to her he thought she knew it had been sold. She told him she knew nothing, which is correct because I had not told her, I did think I had explained this to my brother and his wife, obviously not. Anyway as I am the only sibling in the country I bear the brunt of all her frustrations over the car and everything else. I am now back from holiday and due to visit her, obviously with huge reservations as I feel very bad for her and I feel I have betrayed her, although every time I explain to her that she is not allowed to drive, the very next visit I get the same question. Her car was her source of freedom and she had recently said she would like it for the coming summer to get out of the rest home for drives etc. I feel that no matter how I explain it to her she will be forever angry and I will be forever feeling guilty, I know she is not well and I have to deal with this, I wonder if there is a right or wrong way to answer her questioning which I'm sure I'm going to get once I visit, either that or be ignored. She has in the past got quite upset and angry with me. Do I deal with this on my own or do I seek the help of the nurses at the home in the first instance. Any advice on the above would be welcome.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
3

Answers

Show:
How painful! You are working so hard to keep her safe and happy, and now you're caught in a manure storm.

Please try to let your brother off the hook for making that mistake and telling her. He did screw up, but he didn't do it on purpose. I think creating more love and forgiveness between you two will improve your life.

You need to start accepting that your mother is no longer a rational adult. She is an emotional child, with limited logic, and a good vocabulary and a good memory for how to push your buttons. She's not trying to be evil (I hope!), but trying to cope with all the negative changes in her life. Unlike a child, she will not grow wiser or more rational with time.

You will need to lie to her. Avoid the fact that her car is gone. Offer her outings in your car to do something she would enjoy. Arrange for a ride for her to a church or club or shopping trip without discussing the payment arrangements. Don't give her a chance to say no.

If it would work, maybe you could even take her car shopping! Choosing the new car (which will never be bought!) might distract her from the sale of the old one. Stalling is a good way to get around some issues. "We can get the new car after I sell those bonds. That will take a few weeks." Those few weeks can go on forever.

She is pretty much incapable of considering how you feel. You will be disappointed if you expect her to "understand" and accept why you sold the car. You will need to change the subject and offer substitutes instead. It's sad to see your mother like this, but that's reality right now. All too soon she might forget your name, so enjoy what you can with her today.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

No matter how you explain it, she will be angry. So quit explaining it. "It is in storage for the winter, Mom." "It is in the shop getting a complete maintenance workover." "I'll check with the administration here about where we can park it." Of course, what you can say depends on what she is likely to remember. Take full advantage of her memory lapses.

Also tell her these truths: You love her. You only want the best for her. You would like to see her happy.

Losing the ability to drive is sometimes the worst part of dementia or other disabilities, from the point of view of the person who has it. This can't be helped; there is no safe way they can drive. But it is small wonder that it is such a painful subject for them. Anything you can do to blunt the pain is a kindness.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Yes, I have advice. Her memory is shot. Tell her what she wants to hear. It will make her feel fine and the moment you go home she will forget it. Telling her the truth over an over is cruel. To her, the news is new and a fresh wound is opened over and over.

The elderly who have a loved one die. Telling them over and over that the person died is like them hearing the news for the first time over and over. That is tormenting. Lie for their sake. Tell them what they want to hear. They will forget and then tell them again the next time.

It is like getting an anesthetic for bad news. They do not deserve to feel that pain over and over.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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