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My 86yo mom just had a major health issue landing in hospital & rehab. Now is home. Primary doc told her "no stairs, no driving--non negotiable". I have the keys, not in the house. She is insisting on me returning the keys before I go on a weekend of respite! Care Manager tells me absolutely not, which I tend to go with. Has anyone any success in HOW to say no????

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The doctor said NO - what part of NO do you and your mother not understand?
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When my Dad retired, both he and Mom where in and out of the house at least twice if not three times a day, on the road to one grocery store, then another, and another, or to the mall, pharmacies, appointments, to the movies, dining out, volunteer work, etc... they were always going somewhere, no wonder I had a hard time catching them on the phone.

Well, I am the opposite, once I get home from work I stay home... you couldn't get me out of my house unless it was on fire.... I am a homebody, except for volunteer work on Saturday. So when my Dad stopped driving they expected me to pick up where Dad left off with going to 2 or 3 different grocery stores, etc..... NOT.... well Dad couldn't understand because he thought all women loved to shop :P
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I agree with everyone else, tell her that her doctor refuses to let her drive. Call him and inform him of the situation so he'll know what to say the next time he sees her. Definitely do something to the car so it won't work, in case there are more keys, or simply put the car at your house. The big thing is to make sure shes able to get a ride whenever she calls you or other relatives, or you call her and tell her that your going to pick her up. Do this often, even if its just for a ride somewhere, she probably doesn't care so much about not driving as much, its losing the freedom of getting out of the house and going somewhere that scares her.
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My dad threatened to call the police on me when we took the car away. He'd driven it even though the MD said no driving, so just letting it sit was not an option, some how he came up with extra keys. It took about 6 months but he got over it. Just don't leave the car where your family member can see it every day.
It really does feel bad, but seeing them in an accident, or injuring someone else would feel worse.
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When my husband wasn't thrilled with idea that he couldn't/shouldn't drive anymore, I told him that if he had an accident and they found out that he wasn't supposed to driving, the insurance wouldn't cover him. Then the people could sue us and we could lose our house. He had dementia, but understood that. That was the last time he complained.
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Uber is both a taxi service, and a car sharing service. Cars are reserved by sending a text message or by using a mobile app. Prices are at a premium because of the reliability of said company. But make note that during holidays and bad weather, the prices are much higher. When you use a driver, the driver carries no cash, your credit card is billed.
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When Mom had a bad fall and broke her ankle in many places, we used that time in rehab to dispose of her car. (my brothers lease) By the time she came home we had explained that the DMV took her licence. That was 4 years ago. To this day any time she sees a policeman (we have a lot of cop friends in the family) She will ask them to please help her get her license back. It never truly ends.
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At least in NYC, UBER is a driving service.
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Uber and Lyft are car sharing services. If the MD says she can't drive, she can't drive, period.
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Have you looked into Uber? or Lyft?
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Thank you, as that is the first time I answered a question instead of asking one. So glad that I could help.
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fligirl58, that's a great idea about a physical injury as an excuse to give a parent not to drive :)

I will have to try that the next time Dad thinks he will be able to drive.... I will mention that he wouldn't be able to brake in time because of his bad knees.
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This is the first time that I have been through this. Mom was driving with just me and could not remember how to get where we were going. When she forgot how to get to the grocery store down the road, I think that is when I took the keys. It was rough in the beginning but I said your shoulder hurts so badly that you are unable to drive. It worked. Then we sold the car and it is a non issue. However she still once in a while says there is no reason that I cannot drive. I just say well you no longer own a car and that settles it. Good luck with that one.
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For $250-$600, an occupational therapist qualified in driver assessment can give you third-party objectivity that the elder might accept. American Occupational Therapy Association and Association For Driver Rehabilitation Specialists are the two resources. If the elder's doctor provides a referral to the specialist, the doctor will get the results of the evaluation -- which gets the doctor off the hook if the results suggest the elder shouldn't drive anymore. Gets the family off the hook, too. (And might prevent some serious and even fatal traffic accidents.) See also the Hartford Center For Mature Market Excellence, for resources on warning signs among elderly drivers, and how to have the difficult discussion about giving up the keys.
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Chris,
I had to take the car keys away several times from my Mother after her stroke. She had extra's stashed everywhere. OMG the woman may have dementia but when she wants to be sneaky she is stealth. She wouldn't have gotten any farther than sitting in the drivers seat since my brilliant husband disconnected the battery just in case;-) I stuck to my guns even though it hurt to see her so unhappy to loose that freedom. Actually the tantrums were epic and will forever be etched in my mind . I explained to her it was not only for her safety but every other driver on the roads. That it was the Dr. that revoked her driving officially. My final action was to take her to the DMV and have them take her license and replace it with a picture ID card. Being the self absorbed diva she is she was thrilled that the picture on the ID was better than her original license. LOL This was a hard one to deal with.
By the way I did find another key in her underwear drawer the other day. I have NO idea where it came from it's been 5 years since we went through this, and my sister has the car in another state. Like I said she can be stealth. Good luck!
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To chrisblair63: having gone through this very scenario myself, I offer this advise: no is no ...period! Doctors orders...period! My mom didn't like it too much when I said no, but saying doctors orders made a difference. Hopefully it will work for you too! I do not agree to not telling her the absolute truth as another reader suggested. My mother's drs...family dr, neurologist, hospice...all said to be kind, but always truthful. She may not understand, but you do. And if she does understand you will always know you told her the truth. Even if your mother really believes otherwise still tell the truth. If she has Alzheimer's she may really think she is seeing something or remembering something...which may or may not be a fact. Just remember her mind is not working correctly at times (maybe at all times) and for that very fact that it's not always working correctly the truth is very important because the truth will always be the same....no wavering this way or fudging the next time. It's not easy, I know that from personal experience, but this one little tip will make life just that much easier. May God bless and I will remember you and your mother in my prayers.
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No, you do not give back the keys.

The suggestion to take the plates off is very foolish. It won't matter if there are plates on the car or not when she hits someone, another car or worse a person. Really bad idea.

It looks like the respite was for this weekend. How could you have any peace of mind if you knew mom had the car keys.
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Pull the starter or disengage.
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I work in the insurance industr (not medical) and I handle claims. I was assigned a new claim involving a fatality: a 89 yr old driver crashed through a glass window of a storefront office killing herself and killing one/ seriously injuring another who happened to be in this business office at the time. We've seen many stories like this in the media & not all of the drivers are elderly but in this case it appears the driver didn't attempt to break at all. Common problem: going too fast, loosing control (suddenly on sidewalk!) panicking and hitting the gas pedal instead of the break. Our skills diminish as we age but the loss of driving skills can be fatal.
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Try replacing the keys with decoys that look the same. The car won't start and it is easier than disabling the car. If there is only one key to the car, buy a duplicate from a dealership and have a key maker "damage" the original so it will not work. You can make excuses for delaying the repair of the car that will not start.
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This is a good answer for the daughter. And strength building in her reply and reasoning but I think she is looking for a way to tell her no.
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Take the license plates off the car. That way if she goes out, the lack of plates will immediately draw the attention of the police. She may have an extra set of hidden keys. Mom had several.
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Chris, let's play this out. You give her the keys. She drives into a coffeeshop. Bear in mind she has driven with a suspended license, because MD said not to drive. The victims sue, not only her for the accident, but you too for letting her drive. Do you want to risk losing everything you own?
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Start out with I love you and pause.
Simple let her know that you thought for sure the keys were in the hutch where you put them but you can't find them right now. Maybe one night in a dream you got up and hid them. Since the doctors and other decision makers about her condition have said no, maybe the dream was a safety net for the both of you. Sit down when you do this and end with I love you. What can she do or say? She may get angry....but likely will anyway......Tell her how good she looks and ask her how she is feeling.
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Start out with I love you and pause.
Simple let her know that you thought for sure the keys were in the hutch where you put them but you can't find them right now. Maybe one night in a dream you got up and hid them. Since the doctors and other decision makers about her condition have said no, maybe the dream was a safety net for the both o
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ba8alou, yes, I know that fear has always been a factor for her. Mostly fear of ending up alone. I suspect she also is terrified of dying. Unfortunately, she's never been able to talk about these things....stiff upper lip. Saddens me to know this and I can't help. I keep trying to encourage her....the dementia that has increased with this latest health scare causes her to shut down and out....not just with me.
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It sounds like she's terribly frightened.
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freqflyer, you are exactly right...it does need replacement.....I began the discussion of my having the keys with....my husband and I will take you places you want/need to go and I'm rounding up family and others to be available when we can't. That was thrown back in my face. I keep trying, asking, etc. I appreciate all and any comments, suggestions! :o)
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Chrisblair, I've learned whenever you take something away from an elder, you need to replace it with something else. Thus, taking away the car, you need to make arrangements to have someone else available to drive your Mom, even if it is local cab company.

My parents [who are in their 90's] still have a car in their garage. They stopped driving 5 years ago, and I am now their driver.... thus, lucky me, I get to drive that huge cruise ship size of a car.

For some reason, elders feel more secure knowing there is a car in the garage or driveway, and they have access to the keys, even if they no longer drive.

I use to get angry at this, but now I chuckle, as in winter Dad [92] wants to shovel the driveway in case there is an emergency and he and Mom need to get the car out of garage. Emergency? Use their car? Seriously? Nope, any emergency I will be dialing 911 and let the EMT's bring their own vehicles and do the driving :)
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AFTER respite, you might consider consulting with a geriatric psychiatrist. The three geri psychs that my mom has seen (one during a hospitalization for a neuro problem, one in her IL place and the one in her NH how) have all been the MOST valuable service she's had. Each doc was able to explain to us what was going on in Mom's brain and mind, and how to handle her behavior. Also, what meds would (and would not) help. In my opinion, psychiatrists are very often the only MDs these days who see the "whole" person, not just an organ system.
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