Mom has no reasoning skills and is so angry all the time that no one can talk to her about serious issues. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom has no reasoning skills and is so angry all the time that no one can talk to her about serious issues. Any advice?

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My brother and I are at wits end. Mom had 2 strokes after Dad died (13 yrs ago). She shows signs of dementia with **severe** delusions, but whatever non-sophisticated test her doc uses is not showing any problems.

I don't want to take her car away because she lives in a small community where she goes to the grocery store, doc, and hairdresser--and is self-sufficient. Recently, she followed me on a 2.5 hr drive (which took 4.5 hrs because she drives so slowly) and I witnessed how terrible her night vision is because she missed a turn THREE times even tho she could see my tail lights where she needed to turn. Two days later, she drove home by herself, making a 3-hr drive into (6) SIX HOURS!

Now she thinks she's ok to drive to a neighboring state (6-hr drive for normal folks) for Thanksgiving, which I'm afraid will mean 12 hrs for her. She's convinced since she drove 6 hrs that she can make the 6-hr drive to see her SIL. We cannot make her see that she's not thinking this through rationally. We're afraid that she will have to drive in the dark during some of that travel....and that's not acceptable for us.

She wants me to go with her, but that's HER dream....not mine. Oh--did I mention she's also narcissistic? I've had it with her trying to control me and destroy my holiday time with my own family. I am NOT going with her. My brother thinks he can talk her out of it, but if she doesn't have proper reasoning skills, how do you think he will do???

I've seen some really good advice on here and hope you can help me. Thanks.

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Your Mom has NO business driving - not just for her own safety but everyone else on the road. Take her car and keys away.

Who is caring for your Mother? She needs a caregiver.
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Oh, I'm so sorry. Your mother is far more a fighter than mine, but they can both be equally stubborn. I wish I knew someone in Houston, but I'm over here in Georgia, and in the same situation as you.
Your mother's also the same as mine regarding money, only mine has far more expensive tastes (long story). If there's any way you could be put in charge of her finances, letting her have some pin money, that might help. but that is just one more responsibility for you that you probably don't need.
I'm just sad and startled that your mother would attack you like that; and there probably isn't much authorities can do in family disputes. I hope you've kept your brothers and uncle up to date on this, they should help too.
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You have not yet answered whether or not your Mom has a caregiver? I venture to say she does not - yet. Well, honey, she needs one. You have to come up with a plan to hire a caregiver/companion who can spend time with her, care for her, and drive her here, there and everywhere. The next step after this will be the most demanding... where will she move? Into your home? Assisted living? It's beyond time for this planning. Hold on tight as you think it has been rather wild up to this point. It will get crazier before it gets better. That said, her days of living alone are closing in. Quickly.
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Is her doctor open to talking with you about her at all? I know you mentioned the test he performed shows no problems, but maybe if you wrote him a letter listing all your concerns including the driving he might do something? Are there any other doctors involved you could appeal to? Also it probably depends on the state laws where you are but you could call anonymously to the DMV to report an unsafe elderly driver and maybe they might do something.
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It's just a stop-gap, but is there any way your mother could take a train/bus/plane to visit her friends? Would they be willing to help you with this?
I fear in general you may need to talk to the DMV about this, if your mother's driving is that hazardous. How willing is she to taking a driving test?
I heard on Dear Abby an unusual solution: the mother sold her car and used the money to hire a taxi for so many hours each month. The money that would have gone to gas, insurance, etc, went to taxi fares, and actually worked out fairly well.Don't know if this would work in your case, but it's a thought.
I don't blame you for wanting to avoid a trip with a narcissist.
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It's so incredibly difficult at this stage (mid). We went through years of this and unfortunately it just gets worst (my mom is violent too) and we were exhausted trying to get help. Finally we cut back on rescuing her every time she got herself into a situation because we knew eventually we would need evidence of her declining mental abilities. Wish we would of done it sooner.
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You have to report her to the DMV for being an unfit driver. She could kill someone. You know that happens all the time.

She will probably not get the treatment/assistance she needs until she hurts herself or someone else, and is hospitalized. She will probably never "agree" to get help because she "doesn't need any help."

Try again with her doctor. Send him a long letter listing her behavior as calmly and matter-of-factly as possible. Give every example you can. Explain to him that he might be liable if she hurts someone and he chose to do nothing to prevent it.

Good luck!
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You are correct, you cannot reason with someone who cannot reason.
Is it feasible for her to fly? Can someone drop her off and pick her up at the airport?
I respect you have your holiday plans, but can she be driven to SILhouse the prior week and be picked up later? Can this be worked around your or another volunteer drivers schedule.

Have you reached out to the doctors to have her license revoked?

Honestly, you may not be able to stop her.
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Mom has become practically, though not formally declared legally, incompetent. It is as if you know of a secret atrocity and can't get anyone to believe you. Her current primary care physician has failed you because in vascular and fronto-temporal dementias, orientation and recent memoty are relatively spared and that is the main thing on an MMSE (mini mental status exam) which is probably all he or she did. I agree with PandaRosa that "I don't blame you for not wanting to drive with a narcissist" but I also agree that it is time for her to stop driving. Another option in addition to the ones already mentioned is a specialized OT driving evaluation. Most people post-stroke should have this before driving again. You could round up ALL the keys, disable the car in some other way, and tell Mom that if she goes for an evaluation and everything checks out just fine, you will return the keys and fix the car. The reality is that driving 50-55 mph in a 60-70 mph zone is a reasonable compensation for the deficits of old age, and may annoy others but is not wildly unsafe, but driving at half speed and missing all the turns is not. My son's car was hit by someone driving like your mother, and she did not even realize she had hit him and did not even stop. I just watched a near miss accident on our freeway with an older gentleman behind the wheel, solo, going about 45 mph and slowing down even more to change lanes and take an exit, swinging wide, and forcing a panic braking of the cars behind him, and absolutely oblivious to the whole situation he created. Ideally you could get this done as part of a comprehensive geriatric evaluation, which might confirm more deficits that will help in the next phase or Mom's life, which involves others taking over for her in the areas she can no longer manage for herself. There are resources for this at Baylor and UT that I found by Googling "houston tx geriatric evaluation". I found a Strowmatt Rehabilitation with a description of the driver evaluation that you need, at driverrehabservices.com/seniors.html.

You may get through the current issue but the greater issue is going to be unavoidable...this is not about her stealing your precious time with your family, this is about saving Mom from herself and averting any more tragedy than has already happened. This can be considered a crisis, an emergency...and time to have the family meeting, pool resources, gather documentation, and get an eldercare attorney involved. I am guessing from what you have written so far that there is no POA in place. The expense of getting that, getting it activated and/or guardianship proceedings may be substantial but the expense of not doing it could be catastrophic. Yes, she will be angry, but so is a toddler who is restrained from doing something they want to do but can't. You are on the right track even though so far the people who are supposed to help have let you down. It is unfortunately possible, because the system errs on the side of preserving peole's rights to choose, that you will not have relief until something worse happens but please don't hesitate to go further just because Mom will be upset. Her upset and anger and grief are unavoidable. They are not your fault. She will either adjust to new realities well or badly, but they are the realities. I wish this was easier to deal with, let alone easier to recognize and accept in your own parent...
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Arrange to have the car "stolen" Let her local police know what you are doing so they can tell her they are searching diligently. Disable the car. Enlist the help of the repair shop she usually uses so they can play along. tell her it will cost X hundred to fix and they have to have the money up front to buy the parts. Take her car key and replace it with an identical one that won't work and don't forget the spare set too. She is going to be angry whatever you do, she has to take her frustration out on someone so do the best you can. Unfortunately the DMV, Drs and police seem to be able to do very little. In our area the DMV says if they can read the eye chart they can drive
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