Mother with worsening dementia recently told not to drive so I took her keys for two months. Should I give them back? -

Mother with worsening dementia recently told not to drive so I took her keys for two months. Should I give them back?


I have been using her car to run errands and go on outings 4 to 5 times with her every week now for the last two months. She cannot get into my jeep since it is lifted too high for her. Even though I've been cleaning the car, paying her insurance, hoping she'd enjoy more time together by me driving instead, she's been demanding her keys back or she will report to the police that I stole her car. The doctor took her off limited day driving to no driving. I've given her a lot more time out and about so she won't feel the loss so badly, yet lately she's been demanding her keys back. I sent off a notice to DOR to report her unsafe driving, getting lost for 4 to 6 hours, and forgetting where she parks. I also asked my 5 siblings to help in some way, this has been so hard to keep her happy and safe. They all have jobs and I don't, so it's been me trying to deal with our mom's dementia issues and her car. Help me with advice please.

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Don't give the keys back. Don't argue with her about it. The incident that I think is alarming is her getting lost for 5 hours. No way she should be on the road. It's great that you take her out but it might be easier if you used another car instead of moms. Can you borrow one of your sibs?
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Taking car keys was difficult because my botfriends father was giving up his independence. The cardiologist office that put in his difibulator made him sign a form stating that he could and they would drop him as a patient if he did. Needdless to say, he "forgot" about the paper so i asked for a copy of it and showed him it whenever he wanted to drive. Is there any way you can get a similiar form from your doctor?
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Exactly what I was about to suggest, Babalou. Nothing to add, except that you're dealing well with a really thorny question, TJT - best of luck for a good outcome, and I hope your mother becomes reconciled very soon.
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I just want to second what Jeanne said. You might think about calling the Police Department yourself and explaining why you've taken her car and keys away.

You might pose this question to her. "Mom, we can sell your car, or we can keep it for you to be able to be driven by others. Those are thee two choices you have. "
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Should you give your mom her keys back and allow her to drive, in spite of your knowledge of the safety issues and her doctor's orders?

That depends. If instead of forgetting where she parks she forgets which pedal is the brake and runs into a young woman pushing a stroller, killing the mother and injuring the baby, how would you feel about allowing her to drive?

Giving up driving is one of the hardest things for impaired individuals. According to my husband it was the absolute worst aspect of having dementia. It is extremely sad to have to deprive anyone of this important aspect of their independence. My heart goes out to you and to your mother.

This is not a risk that applies to only your mother. It puts other lives and property at risk (as well as her own).

You are doing a great thing to take mom on outings.

Has the doctor notified the Department of Motor Vehicles? Has she received a letter revoking her license? That is the way it happened to my husband. If this has not happened, please request that her doctor make that notification. Once her license is revoked show that to the local police and explain her threat to report the car stolen.

Do not part the car at her place when you are not using it to squire her around.

This may be the toughest love you will ever have to show. Stay firm, for your mother's sake, and for the sake of people on the streets.
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