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What is the best and kindest way to take her car away? It’s her freedom and she’s super stubborn. Hide it, hide the keys, try to talk her into it (hasn’t worked yet)? We live out of town but have people checking in on her and giving her rides already. She can’t use a cell phone or anything with navigation.

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People would drive forever if they could. Who is to determine if a person is still capable of driving if they pass the competency test? If they have their marbles who says they can’t drive? I only say this because my mother is 96 and you bet she would still be driving if her car hadn’t died 4 years ago. She had money to buy another car. Thank goodness she isn’t driving and things happened the way they did. I would have the doctor say that someone can’t drive. Take the car away if you know they can’t drive. I meant to say my mom did NOT have any money to buy another car. Since your mother DOES have dementia it is imperative you stop her from driving. Get her doctor involved. Take the car away.
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I know some say pull or take away their license........that does not solve the problem............people drive everyday without a license or insurance.........take away the keys or disable the car
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Maybe explain first that its not safe for her to be driving anymore with all the "crazy" people out there not paying attention.  Put the fault on someone else. if that doesn't work, somehow disable the car so that it won't start or tell her you need to take it to get fixed, etc.  Then remove the car and have it placed somewhere she can't see it (sell it or whatever).  I would be scared to death if my parent was lost for 6 hours..........do you realize how far they can get in 6 hours if they got onto a highway........it is not safe for her or anyone else.  Please somehow either you go to her house and disable the car or have the people that are checking on her to get it disabled.  Better safe than sorry.  wishing you luck.
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Pull the keys, tell them that the car needs a checkup, the tires need to be rotated, the battery is not functioning well, the alternator, there is a gas leak, the brakes feel funny, the windshield wipers are not wiping right. the interior air filter needs to be looked at. The carburetor is too rich, the motor sounds funny, the horn is not working. The radio is not playing my favorite song. It needs gas; the engine is running too hot, don't want to blow a gasket. A brake light is out. The turn signals are not blinking. Anything, or all of these may be a good reason to park the car out of sight for a very long time. and then nicely offer to be their personal driver.
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Pull her license,, It is not worth it. How would it feel if she caused an accident? Or even if it was not her fault, the old person with dementia, caused it, because, they are old with dementia......... Tag that person caused it.
And insurance companies will ask... WHY IS THAT PERSON STILL DRIVING?
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set up an appointment with DMV. She must take a written and driving test.
My LO did that. couldn't find her car. I sent my sibling out, I wrote down directions from Point A to Point B. In route... she says.... There's my car.
Before she called me, the police were called out... took her around to look for her car.....
end of story, she lost her license, can't drive. donated the car.
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This is a sensitive place to be; I'm sorry for your discomfort.  When working with people with any form of dementia, it is best to always "meet them where their at" meaning- talk to her at her level of comprehension/ understanding.

It is the duty of her MD to evaluate whether or not she is save on the road for herself or others. If you take her to the MD, they contact the DMV and you explain that her MD does not feel she should drive.  It is better to have someone, such as her MD to do this, thus she is not sore at someone in the home.  If she is to the degree of getting lost for six hours, you may likely be able to simply say so&so is borrowing the car, when in fact you still have it, which could pacify her until she asks again b/c she forgot it was being borrowed.

Warm Regards
Dr. B
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My parents gave up driving on their own willingly. So we did not have any sort of struggle.

You have a terrible situation on your hands. She can hurt herself or others while driving if she no longer capable of safely driving. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this.

Can you have her doctor tell her that she can no longer drive. My parent’s doctor told them and they accepted it gracefully. Maybe your mom will understand it more fully if s medical professional explains it to her.

Who do you have looking out for her? Can they swipe her keys and continue to transport her to and from where she needs to go or is it possible that she is past that stage and needs more care overall, such as an in home caregiver?

Best wishes to you and your mom. I hope that you find a viable solution soon.
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Dear Daofdementia,
The very same thing happened to my mom; no one even knew she had left the house until we were notified that she ran out of gas over 200 miles from home in another state! That was the "event" for us that everyone with any knowledge of dementia told us would eventually take place. I took her to her doctor, refusing to take no for an answer, and he told her in no uncertain terms that she was no longer allowed to drive. My Mama is very stubborn, to say the least, and would not have given up her beloved car (and sense of freedom) if any of her family had tried to convince her it was for the best. (She even admitted to her granddaughter that if the car was at her house, she would have driven it anyway!)
Thankfully, as I was driving her car home, the brakes were making an awful noise so I took it to the auto repair shop and told them to keep it for as lonnnnng as possible!
We quickly consulted an elder care attorney who advised us not to sell her vehicle since we knew that she would eventually have to apply for Medicaid and it would count against her.
As someone else has pointed out, now that you know she's no longer capable of driving, you are responsible to keep her from behind the wheel to protect not only her but everyone in her path. It's certainly not a job we would have signed up for but it is what it is. More than anything else, your mom just needs to know that she's loved and valued during this very frightening time of change.
It's not an easy road but a lot of good can come out of it. For me, it's been a gift as I have a better relationship with my Mama than I had ever dreamed possible. The LORD works in mysterious ways!
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NobodyGetsIt Sep 2020
Dear "VickyGrace,"

Very scary for your family to have not known your mom had left the house but, I'm so glad your story had a great ending. It could have been disastrous on so many levels being found 200 miles away and in another state to boot.

And yes, the Lord does often work in mysterious ways!
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Kindness?? Nope, you have a crash liability driving a metal machine that can kill her + others.

If she were to crash into anyone you could be liable, for knowingly allowing her to drive.

Minimally you must DISCONNECT the battery, and disappear her car key. That's your reality. Of course you could also pull its starter, if she knows how to reconnect the battery. Cars are easy to disable, deflate a tire or 2 for visual affects,if needed.
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Your Mothers dementia could also create a Financial liability should she have a wreck. Also she could harm another person. You may remove her car from her.
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Let her doctor be the bad guy. Sell her car right away
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My Mother was i think 90, when she completely surprised me and told me that she wanted to give up driving. I could Not believe it! She scared me when she drove, with all the Jerking of the steering wheel...lol..but you know what i realized, is that...giving up driving is the Very Last thing that You Own, in your Independence. I think it hurt Me more than Her. But you know, she had her very beautiful white Buick sitting in the garage, and even until the time it wouldn't work anymore, i believe that having that car there for Her to Look at...kept her going. I'm 73 and getting up there, but i know how so important it is to me to be able to drive anywhere that i want to. Since i Am getting older, i have checked on places for help. I can go on the 'Lifestream', here in Delaware County in Indiana..and 'donate' $2.00 and go anywhere in Delaware Co. & be dropped off for appts or shopping or whatever...and they will pick me up. That will keep me independent...Just say'n...Independence is #1 in us older people's lives. However you can 'cushion' it, would be great
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I had to research the law here in SC as her doctor was reluctant to write the letter but when I made it clear I knew what the law said and I needed her to follow it, she agreed. Doctor will need to send detailed letter to state dmv. Dmv responded with a packet that needed to be completely by doctor with patient consent.( I think that is overkill), we had to tell my dad he was signing about medical forms being released even though I am his legal guardian.
My dad was sent letter and given an additional 30 days to drive(crazy) before they finally suspended it permanently unless his doctor completes another form verifying he is safe and he can pass drivers rehab program which he cannot!
It was hard on my dad but 2.5 years later it is not as big a deal. He has erroneously in his mind that he is going to court again and getting his license back from the VA(veterans affairs), he does not accept it was taken by DMV, he lost the appeal his ignorant brother put him up to.
I have learned to stop trying to dispute it and just say ok.
Have 2 neighbors visit or u and someone else, distract her, find the keys and either move the car or disable it.
Let her report it stolen but take cop aside and explain it is not.
U could simply have someone disable the battery but if she has enough skill she could call someone to check it.
Best quickest way is to hide the keys, deny deny deny knowing where they are and disable the car.
The only thing that keeps my dad from driving is he believes he is about to get his license back so he doesn't want to get a ticket that could block that.
🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
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Have her take a DMV driving test, let them decide.

Have you ever been lost? I understand your concern. Has she agreed to travel only nearby, and not on the freeways?

If you are sure she is past driving safely, and cannot improve, I suggest borrowing her car, saying anything to make your need urgent.

You can do this!
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SAFEST is to take it away. If possible, disable it, and if she tries to drive, she'll report it doesn't run. Then make it go away and make excuses for the delay in repairs. Otherwise, just take it away when she isn't looking - you can use the same excuse, just add that you went to move it and it wasn't running. I promise you your nose will not grow... ;-)

There's really no "best" or "kind" way to do this. In their mind they are fine and you end up being blamed or yelled at in almost all situations. As noted in my comments to others, mom blamed me and was VERY nasty about it. I did NOT do the talk or take the key, but was there. The various suggestions usually don't work very well. Having them take a simulated test MAY work, but at least one person said there were excuses from mom! Docs won't always help, nor will the police or DMV (police would likely only get involved in the aftermath of an accident - which could be too late!)
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You didn't say that she is a bad driver, only that she gets lost. Put a tracer on her car and you will always know where she is.
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disgustedtoo Sep 2020
If she's getting lost AND has dementia, it's a matter of time before something bad happens. Like having a baby, leaving it on a bed to sleep, but you don't know WHEN that baby will learn to roll over and fall off... It's better (not nice or fun) to be proactive in this case.
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We had to disable my dads car and told him that it wasn’t fixable-family mechanic was in on the task
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I hid the keys from my Mom and told her the doctor said she wasn’t able to drive anymore. I made the commitment to her that I would take her anywhere she needed to go.

when she would say she still can drive I would remind her that the doctor said he doesn’t want her driving anymore.

and I would always reassure her that she wouldn’t be restricted in any way because I would take her anytime, anywhere.
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My husband lost his car keys once and I spent 3 hours searching for them & found them.. He already had Alzheimer's Dementia for a year. So they second time he lost them, again i searched but not very carefully. In fact I spent another 2 hours moving items on desk, dresser, clothes pockets, etc. What really happened was I touched them in a suit pocket but he was busy searching his garage. So, I told him I did not find them. He was upset, but he saw that I spent time looking. They were then permanently lost and he did the losing. Since I only touched them, not actually eye balled them, I did not lie when I said I did not see them. This was an easy way out for me, but it worked and he forget about them in a week. Maybe a situation like this will come around for you to take advantage of with the help of those who check on her. Besy wishes as things go along for you.
Elizabeth
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Not surprised to read '70 answers' -
Is easy. [well, okay, maybe not.]
Disconnect the battery.
Leave wrong / fake keys so she can't actually get in the car.
Get MD authorization.
Get POA authority so you can deal with DMV (or you might be able to anyway).
If she somehow drives, alert the local police. My client called the police on her son and caused all kinds of problems. Once the local police know what's going on, they can handle situations 'better.'
Talking likely won't work. They think they can drive just fine.
If you get rid of the car, say the engine stopped and the mechanic is working on it. Don't get into a long story. gena
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Is it really necessary to take her car or keys if you have people stepping in and taking her wherever she needs or wants to go? Maybe overkill would be the solution.
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disgustedtoo Sep 2020
The problem is all too often if the "temptation" is there, they often will fall for it and drive! I have found with my mother that out of sight is out of mind. Don't leave it sitting around tempting her!
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Write a letter to the DMV telling them about your mom. Tell them you want to be anonymous in the reporting so she won't know you did it. Have a policeman come to the home to give her a test run if he will. In other words get the govt involved.
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disgustedtoo Sep 2020
I don't think police will get into test driving - they have registry cops for that.

For what it's worth, if the car and keys are available, I don't think anyone is going to convince a person with dementia not to drive. They won't remember what they've been told anyway. MA DMV expects you to "self-report"!!! AHAHAHAHAHA, sure.

Doctors wouldn't get involved. One wrote her a note on scrap paper saying it isn't safe for her to drive. I made copies to give to her when she asked again, and she wasn't impressed. What does HE know?

YB had the "chat" and took the key. On the way out, I suggested disabling it as I was sure she had another key. Next day, who does she call? Not the person who took the key! NASTY as all hell too! Day after, nastier call demanding I come fix whatever I did to her car. I never touched the key nor did I say a word while he talked, yet it was ME she blamed. Clearly she HAD another key and found it. We had to get it out of there or she would have found a way to get it working (he only removed the battery cable.) Took a while, but she eventually gave up and didn't ask about it anymore. OUT of sight, OUT of mind, eventually...
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Get Doctor's statement that she no longer has the ability to drive safely. Notify auto insurance and have her name removed from insurance policy. Notify Department of Motor Vehicles that her drivers license should be canceled. Politely but firmly tell her that her Doctor's have determined she no longer has the reaction skills to drive safely.
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DILKimba Sep 2020
And what if they don’t care about those things and want to drive anyway?
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She won't "understand". Taking the car keys away..... trying to reason with them will not work. I work in home health care for almost 30 years and you have to do what you have to do. I have never yet seen anyone in these 30 years willing to give up driving. Pretend the car does not run? Undo the cables to the battery.. pretend it needs a new battery? Does she remember from one moment to the next? If you tell her that, will she not remember in the next moment what you just said.... so you can keep repeating it..... hopefully? Does she have a doctor's appointment? Let her doctor give her a test and let him/her tell your mom she can no longer drive. When your doctor says that, she will have to go to the driver's testing and take a test and they can determine whether or NOT she can drive.
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Isthisrealyreal Sep 2020
I have a dear friend that gave up driving, willingly for her 90th birthday. She had never had any accidents and wanted it to remain that way. So there are people that willingly give up driving.
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Start asking her if she needs anything and offer to take her. Explain to her it’s not safe for her to drive. There is no kind way. You will get push back but she will be safe. The hardest stage I had to deal with was wandering. Good luck.
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“On the afternoon of July 16, 2003, George Weller, then age 86, drove his 1992 Buick LeSabre westbound down Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica, California toward the city's popular Third Street Promenade. The last few blocks of the street, before it ends at the ocean, had been closed to vehicle traffic for the biweekly farmers' market.

Weller's car struck a 2003 Mercedes-Benz S430 sedan that had stopped to allow pedestrians through a crosswalk, then accelerated around a road closure sign, crashed through wooden sawhorses, and plowed through the busy marketplace crowd, traveling nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) at speeds between 40 and 60 mph (60 and 100 km/h). The entire sequence of collisions took at least 10 seconds.

By the time the car came to a halt, Weller had killed ten people and injured 70. Weller told investigators he had accidentally placed his foot on the accelerator pedal instead of the brake, then tried to brake but could not stop. Weller had a lack of remorse which was a central issue for the families of the victims.”

My father continued to drive after his diagnosis. They were driving home from our Thanksgiving gathering. He went through a red light and the car was T-boned. He was unhurt, but emergency workers had to cut my mother out of the car. She broke her arm and all of her ribs on the right side.

Last week she was diagnosed. She scored 13 points on the MoCA, at the very bottom of the moderate category. The doctor told her she could no longer drive. When she challenged the doctor, saying she had never in her life been in an accident or received a ticket. Funny, the woman who never had an accident is on kissing terms with her body and fender man.

The doctor said she was required by law to report her diagnosis to the DMV and they would revoke her license. Legislation that was created after the case above.

Note: My mother’s driving was my top concern and why I pushed for her doctor to see her in person. She not a driver who putts along, frustrating the folks behind her. She’s a speed demon.

I am an only child and live in a different state and COVID has complicated this situation. I feel so bad for her because after taking care of my father for so many years, she intimately knows what dementia does. She lives alone. Through the last several years of my father’s life she’d say after your father is gone I’ll sell the house and move to Rossmoor. THEN, I’ll be happy.

Shortly after I got her moved, COVID hit. She’s alone with her increasingly paranoid thoughts. I guess I was in denial. Blaming her many altercations with neighbors and institutions on poor hearing. She has a new hearing aid and it hasn’t helped.

I haven’t yet recovered from the trauma of my father’s dementia. When I visited I had to barricade my bedroom door at night so he wouldn’t try to have sex with me. If I got too close he would reach for my breasts or make the Donald Trump move. If his breakfast wasn’t perfectly prepared he would throw it at me. He called my mother The General and would tell me all twisted tortures he had planned for her and would administer “until she is dead.” One day she called me and said “your father just said something so vile I can’t repeat it.” I told her he constantly said vile things, she just wasn’t able to hear them. The next day she put him into memory care. The third day he broke his hip and a few months later he passed.
His last words to me I will edit because they are shocking offensive but he asked me to sit on his face and after he finished....to suffocate him with my disgusting fat thighs.

This is why I am so reluctant to go through this again. My mother has always been a cruel person, putting others down in order to make herself feel better, and now she’s losing her filter. Sometimes during our phone calls I tally how many times she calls someone an idiot. She wants my husband and I to live with her. I am considering a geriatric care manager.

Sorry, I got carried away there. Feeling distressed.
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earlybird Sep 2020
ThisIsntFun, I am so sorry for what you have gone through with your father. I do not know how I would handle that if I was in your place, how sad. I am so happy my parents gave up their driving without a fight. I feel for the caregivers that have this difficulty. My mother recently said to me, she did not want me to care for her, and told her granddaughter/ caregiver, she was no good. That hurt a lot and we both started to cry, but quickly realized she did not mean it. My mother never said a bad word to me in my life, or to anyone for that matter. She cried and apologized to both of us for those cruel remarks. Come here and vent anytime. Hugs to you.
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I took it to be serviced, locked it in my garage and never took it back to her. I have several cab companies in her phone. They have her CC on file. SHe also has the senior bus she can take.
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Sorry to hear this, it will affect her self-esteem, which is not fun nor funny as most seniors suffer from depression anyways. If you take her to the doctor to be approved for driver license revoking, could one first find for her a way to get around otherwise. Is there a service for seniors that ushers them in some kind of a mini-bus or some such thing to events, is there a day program she might want to join regularly to get her out of the house so that the freedom of driving, is less so a loss. I know of a daughter who's mother lost her license, and her daughter was put on the vehicle insurance before her mom was "revoked" so that her daughter would be under "secondary driver" of the car. This means that the car will remain on the road, and be used by a family member for errands, if that person doesn't have a car, it's a natural progression, but, this person will need to be a responsible person who does not get tickets etc. Will you or someone else in your family be available to drive her around? These are things that come to mind now that both my parents are gone, my mother, this year. It sounds cliche, but it is only after they are gone that we see better how we could have helped, and I hope my experience, helps. Cheers.
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I can tell you that the doctor will not want to get involved. And he was the one who diagnosed her with dementia! The DMV will be no hope. When we were going thru this it was the nightmare from hell. My mother was 88 when we “discussed” this. I tried everything. Had her tested at state facility that was recommended by OSHP. That didn’t work. If he would have told her to go to a certain street, rather than “ turn right at the next intersection”, she would not have been able to look for street name and drive safely. The entire test was like that. Step by step instructions, not her figuring it out on her own and driving. He passed her.
She went to the DMV and I thought, this will be it. She can’t see anything peripheral. The entire test took 3 minutes. My mother could not see the blinking lights on the screen. And I am thinking, this is it. No more fights about her driving. The clerk told my mother where to look at each step. She could not see the flashing light during the entire test. My father and I smiling at each other, knowing she couldn’t do the test, knowing they wouldn’t renew her license. Everything has now been completed. And the clerk says “sit over there, they need to take your picture for your new license!!!” I looked at the girl and said you are kidding, right?? She said NO!! I was so dumb founded I couldn’t speak. Not wanting to cause a scene we left. I went back the next day and asked for the manager. I asked him why in the world would you give my 88yr old mother, who couldn’t pass the test without having the clerk tell her the answers, Who couldn’t see, who has dementia, why on Gods green earth would you give her a license to go out and kill someone. Sit down for this one...... he told me it was not his place to fail people!
Mind you, this had been going on for months. She promised me she wouldn’t drive without me in the car. She snuck and my father on her. I then took her keys and I told her from now on I am doing the driving. And every day for the next 5 years I heard about it. She told everyone how horrible I was. My explanation to all was, I couldn’t live with myself if she had killed a child, or mother or father of little children. She couldn’t comprehend the consequences of her causing an accident. And there had been many close calls!!
This was the shortened version of all that we went thru. Maybe you could look up my postings to see the entire story if interested. It’s just way too long to go into again.
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