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She is in AL. I have her car. She insists she is moving out and she says she needs her car in order to find a new place to live. I am at a loss as to what to say when she tells me she needs to know how to get to my house to get her car. I stupidly attempt to reason with her by letting her know that she needs to take a driving test with DMV, then get the battery charged, then finally get the car registered and insured. She says I can't do all that, can you help me? I let her know that people who drive have to be able to handle all of that themselves. The conversation just goes round and round. Suggestions for responses to her request? She is very difficult to distract and just keeps returning to her question of how do I get my car? I need to drive. I need to get out of here. Distraction or diverting the conversation is not second nature to me yet. Suggestions for what to say to her?

I have this same issue with my mom. When the topic of driving/moving comes up I agree with her and say “OK we will do that”. Of course she isn’t driving or moving anywhere. I just entertain her idea. She immediately relaxes and forgets about it for a few days. I learned that arguing and using logic always makes things worse. Agreeing with her and giving her a sense of control calms her down and then she forgets about it.
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AnnReid Jun 3, 2021
GOOD JOB!
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My mom still talks about driving again, but we gently point out to her than she can't see over the dashboard--she's hunched over from several botched back surgeries and cannot lift her head. She couldn't even GET in the car, much less drive.

YB 'inherited' the car, which is the one he drives her around in---and when he parks it, the parking brake is pulled to the limit, further keeping her from driving.

She hasn't driven for almost 10 years--so it really isn't an issue now, but she has enough friends her age whe ARE still driving that it makes her feel minimized.

It's a hard thing for most people to give up--esp if they are forced to do so.
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Do you use her car or are you just storing it? If its just sitting there, sell it if you have POA to do so. When my Mom was told she could no longer drive, I had her sell her car. Out of sight, out of mind.
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My mom was the same way. I had to have my brother disable the car. When she realized it would not start she called the mechanic. Luckily we were able to head the mechanic off about the situation. He told her that the parts had to be ordered and nothing could be done. She soon forgot about it after not driving for awhile.
This is a hard one especially because most of moms life she was a delivery driver. Give yourself a break.... distraction takes a long time to learn and it is really hard with your own mother....she raised you ,hard to fool her, my heart goes out to you.
The one thing that helped me get through this was knowing how bad my mom would feel if she hurt anyone or anything driving. That as our way of saving her from that.
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disgustedtoo Jun 4, 2021
You were lucky to get the mechanic on your side! When my YB gave mom the "talk" and took the key, I suggested disabling the car until we could get it out of her garage, as I was sure she had another key. Next day, who gets the nasty call about taking her key? ME! I brushed her off saying I never touched her key, which I didn't. Day 2, nastier call, demanding I get down there and fix whatever I did to her car. I could honestly say I didn't touch her car. We just had to get it out of there before she figured out how to call a mechanic! She didn't have a regular one. Matter of fact, we found the inspection was about 6 months overdue. An issue with the lights wasn't taken care of because she didn't drive at night. These plus white stripes on the fenders, back of the driver mirror missing (it was there last time I drove it, as if she checked that!), and a ruined tire and rim said get this off the road!!! She couldn't explain the tire/rim damage, insisted she didn't hit anything. Riiight.

Disabling it if it's still located where she can see it/get to it can work for some, but others either tinker with cars (mostly men) or can call help. It's best to really disable it (kill switch or the Club steering wheel lock) and then remove it, so out of sight, eventually out of mind!
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Let your last conversation on this be the last time you participate. Endless looping conversation frustrates everyone. Agree and change the subject. If it persists take a break and go for a walk (or a doughnut 🤗)
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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First you must realize that there is no reasoning with a person with Alzheimer's/dementia, as their brain is broken.
Have you tried just telling her that her Dr. won't let her drive any more and that we will have to talk to the Dr. before you can allow her to get her car back? That way it's the Dr.'s fault, and not yours. Or honestly just going along with whatever she is saying, is probably your best bet. If she says she's moving out and needs her car, just agree and tell her yes, you're right, we'll need to work on that----tomorrow. Wishing you the very best.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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disgustedtoo Jun 4, 2021
Tomorrow is often good, because as WE know, tomorrow never comes! If they feel they've "won" the battle and will get their way, it can make it easier to change topics or distract them with something else, a task, an activity, a snack or beverage, a walk, etc. Short term memory loss will likely result in this being forgotten, for the moment. It'll continue to come back around now and then, until eventually they forget the car and driving (or going home, etc) altogether.
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Does this facility have a "fake" bus stop? Identical in every way except for the purpose, these have proved very useful for prospective escapees - the resident takes a seat in anticipation of the impending 'bus to freedom' and enjoys the fresh air before forgetting why they are there or being encouraged to go in for lunch or cup of tea and return later.
Your mother has no interest in the car, but the mode of departure to meet her ends.
I would mention that she can no longer safely drive but can wait for the bus, and you could walk and sit with her if she is keen to action this immediately. If it is getting late, you might ask her to return tomorrow for the morning bus.
I guess it sounds a bit cruel, but in their mind they are being proactive in pursuing their objectives.
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MammaDrama Jun 4, 2021
Nothing wrong with dabbling in a little fantasy if it helps the dementia patient feel comforted and happy.
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From what you're saying here distraction does not work when your mother when your mother is in a dementia loop of repeating the same question over and over again about driving.
Don't answer her every time she asks. This might help with the repeating loop.
As for the moving out part. Tell her that is her home and that she isn't moving anywhere because she can't afford to. Then as a last resort if she gets in a repeating loop about moving, tell her that the next move will be to a nursing home. That her doctor wanted to try AL first before putting her in one. Even with moderate dementia, many times just the mention of a nursing home is enough to break a repeating loop.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Forget about any responses along those lines. From now on, whenever she brings it up, same response: The car is in the shop for a major overhaul. - and then change the conversation. (If you need to, you can always add that they're waiting for parts.) Anytime you bring her to your house, make sure the car is parked out of sight.

Of course, you'll reassure her that you'll drive her (always in your own car!) - And if you need to at that moment, take her for a drive, a simple sightseeing cruise or a stop for an ice cream. Talk about anything other than cars.
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Reply to DrLokvig
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Hi. If you click on Care Topics at the the top RHS of the screen, then D for Driving on the alphabet that comes up, you will find 30 articles on the subject, and nearly 1000 past questions with answers. Try that first, then ask us anything you need extra help on.
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