How do I convince her that she should not be driving? She lives with me in a different city where she doesn't know the area.

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My dad lost his license due to medical problems in 2015 but studied the manual hard and earned it back. He was 89 at the time. By the time he was 91 he was in full blown dementia and his doctor pulled his license again but he continued to drive for 6 months. I even went so far as to stage an 'intervention' to get his car keys from him (Kept them in his pocket 24/7 so I had to physically remove them.) This was so traumatic for him and resulted in the police coming and putting him in handcuffs and doing a medical hold at the hospital for 5 days because he was combative. Actually those few days he was in the hospital turned out to be a nice break for me - they wouldn't let family members see him. After all of this, I found there were more keys I didn't know about! What finally got him out from behind the wheel was this: when they suspended his license and he went to DMV for an ID card, they did not make him surrender the hard copy of his license. In his mind, he still had a license because it was in his wallet even though it was suspended. I had gotten to know the local officer in his area by this time and he periodically drove by my dad's house to see if they could catch him behind the wheel (they won't do anything unless they physically see him driving) so one day he stopped and talked to him. He took the license from him and dad never drove again. Now the caregivers drive him everywhere in his cars. We have added them to the insurance and he seems satisfied with that. I am not allowed to sell them as part of the guardianship agreement.
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Have you checked to see if there is transportation through the local transit authority? In Tucson you get door to door service and it is priced according to income and level of disability.

A blind individual would pay 2.00 a trip and that includes a companion. Hopefully your area has something similar.

You can also send a form letter to your local DMV (go to their website and print it) and they will request she come in for testing, you can do this anonymously so she doesn't know what it is about, just that she needs to go in for a test.

Best of luck with this, it is the toughest issue.
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Oh, I so relate to your quandry. And believe me, I know its tough to try and rationalize to them why driving isn't safe.

My mother, at 66, can not drive. She had just purchased her car, paid in cash from a divorce settlement. Four days later, she drove 1/4 mile to the 99cent store where she parked. She fell asleep in the parking lot slumped over the wheel for THREE HOURS. As many as five people came (at different times) to her window and knocked on it and she woke up but she just went back to sleep. She told me she could not "will herself" to get out of the vehicle. When she initially told me this story I asked her why she went anywhere if she was feeling sleepy. She said she didn't feel sleepy at all. It just came over her. She told her doctor who informed the DMV and her license was suspended.

Her sole purpose in life now is to get her driving privileges back. She is now admitting to having visual hallucinations "for years" and said she didn't want to say anything now because it would be mean she'd never drive again. She intentionally is not telling me, or her doctors, vital information, because she just wants to drive again. She said it's not fair. She feels trapped in her apartment. She is angry with herself for telling her doctors.

I asked her if it would be fair to me to have to identify her body when she fell asleep behind the wheel and drifted into oncoming traffic and got hit by a semi. I know it sounds cruel but I had to appeal to her sense of self-preservation. Likewise, I asked her how fair it would be to someone else if she hallucinates a small child (her hallucinations frequently involve small children) in the roadway and swerves to avoid the child that is not there and causes a severe accident causing injury or death to others.

The chronic sleepiness issue I believe we have figured out was medication-related from a medication which has since then been reduced. Unfortunately, that medication controls her tremors for her RLS and PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disease). She is going to be evaluated now for Parkinsons given her hallucinations and other symptoms. So the more of the medication she takes her shaking is more controlled but the more she takes the more sleepy and confused it makes her. She is also on about 13 other medications.

The best that I could do was make it as easy for her as possible to get around without driving. GoGo Grandparent has been helpful. She sometimes has her friends drive her in her car to the store. To my knowledge she has not driven the vehicle. She has even gone so far as to suggest that she may have to sell it because she needs the money. However, like you, I'm trying to rationalize to an irrational person who has so completely minimized the risk in her mind that she feels she is perfectly fine. Now she tells people she just "took a nap" in her car.

I think you have a bit of a battle on your hands. Perhaps you can try to explain to her the risk of being killed if she falls asleep behind the wheel. She may be willing to willing to hear it. You know her cognitive abilities and personality better than any of us here. I certainly wish you good luck.
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Someone with heart problems, who falls asleep, and is on a lot of drugs should not be driving especially not at the age of 85 when reflexes and eyesight are diminishing.

If she hasn't driven in a while then her auto insurance carrier can be the "bad guy". Discuss how much it would cost to insure your mother as a driver. It may very well be unaffordable, which is exactly what can help you lay out the business case against your mother driving again. Without insurance, she would be in a world of trouble if she got behind the wheel, damaged property with a "fender bender", or injured a person (or worse).
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Her ability to drive is one thing.
Her satisfaction living in your home with a grandchild and a demanding husband is another.
Why is she living with you?
You could have her tested at the DMV unless you are afraid she’ll pass. Does she have a valid DL? How long has it been since she’s driven?

Did you have your GD when she moved in? Sometimes elders don’t appreciate young children for an extended length of time. You have your hands full with a GB, husband and your unhappy mom.

Where does she want to go?
Would she try Uber? Maybe she wants a change of scenery? Is there a senior center she could go to nearby to have lunch, play games, get acquainted?

Does she have any other friends or family where she could go for a visit? Maybe it’s time she looked for alternate housing.

Does she own a car? Pay insurance?

What maladies does she take meds for?
If she is competent, has a valid license for your state and owns a car, I don’t know that she needs your permission.

Perhaps she is bored. If you have time, read the book “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.

Here is a link to a very interesting article about senior driving.

As you will see unless she has vision problems, mobility issues or lack of cognition she could possibly be just fine driving.

She needs social interaction and you sound very busy.

Perhaps you could print this pdf file out for her and the two of you discuss it as adults. Have all these health issues checked out and have an understanding that if and when they occur, she’ll need to stop driving if she does begin again.
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Is it time for license to be renewed? We went through this recently with my mom. She is 78 & hadn’t driven or walked in 4 years, couldn’t even get in her car but insisted she could drive! There wasn’t any danger of her getting behind the wheel, but oh the discussing/arguing over her license expiring! We knew the DMV wouldn’t renew it, but she would’ve Been humiliated by them telling her that in public. What I ended up telling her was the drugs she was on (fentanyl being the main one) would cause her to have a wreck & kill someone. Then she would go to jail. She knew enough that she didn’t want to kill anyone! After that she was sad to not drive anymore, but got a state issued ID so she still feels like she has “something”.

Eyerishlass’s idea of slipping the Dr. a note is a great idea.
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Your post said that your mom wants to start driving "again." Does that mean that she hasn't driven in a while? Under what circumstances did she stop driving before?

The driving issue is one of the most if not the most difficult situations for caregivers and their elderly parents. When I came to realize that my dad should not be driving anymore he wouldn't accept it and drove anyway. I'd notice dings and dents on his car and wonder what he was bumping into. We went around and around about the driving issue for a long time. Eventually he had an appointment with his cardiologist, a check-up. I suggested to my dad that we let the cardiologist make the decision as to whether my dad should keep driving or not. When we got to the doctor's office I slipped a note to the nurse to give to the doctor to read right before he came into the room. The note said that my dad wasn't safe behind the wheel and would not take my advice to stop driving. Would the doctor please advise him not to drive? I didn't know if the doctor actually would follow through but after my dad's checkup, as I was sitting in the room with my dad, the doctor began to discuss driving with my dad and ultimately suggested that it wasn't safe for him to drive anymore. My dad heeded his doctor's advice and never drove again.

If you feel that your mom is unsafe on the road and that she's risking the lives of others when she drives do what you have to do to get her off the road. Include family members if possible. Use a doctor as I did.

Like Ahmijoy said, once my dad stopped driving the onus of his activities fell on me. I took him everywhere he wanted to go. That's what we do.
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You know what you have to do, you just need to know how to do it. I’ve read on this site that you can have her doctor write a letter to the BMV stating that she is no longer able able to be safe behind the wheel of a car. They will not issue her a license. However, some elders are so infuriated, insulted and determined when they get this news that they’ll get behind the wheel of their car anyway.

You know Mother cannot drive. You have a few options. Her car “goes to the shop” and never comes back. You tell her the Therapeutic Fib. It needs a lot of work and will be very expensive. You need title and registration to sell it. This could be a little sticky to do without Mom’s knowledge, so renting a storage garage would probably be a better idea until it becomes part of her estate. Out of sight, out of mind. You can disable the car (ask a mechanic about how to do it) or hide the keys, but we’ve had posts here from people whose loved ones have found the keys and taken off. You may need to secure the keys to any other cars you have as well.

You know you need to do this. How would you live with yourself if, having this know,edge, you caved to Mom’s insistence that she drive and she injured herself or someone else, or worse. But, having said that, you must make transportation available to her. If she has regular “stops”, the beauty parlor, the Senior Center, the library, etc., you must make time to take her or investigate your regional transit authority. Don’t take away her independence and then refuse to ferry her around. It won’t be easy to do, but it’s something we kids need to do, for the safety of our parents and the general public.
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