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We took the keys from Mom so she couldn't drive any more, after she started falling. Her strength and mobility are limited. She uses a walker all the time. We were afraid for the safety of herself and others. (She is 92.) She is angry about losing her independence, and still hopes that she will be able to drive again. We have hired caregivers in the morning and afternoon to take her to the places she wants to go, so she can get out of the house. (She lives alone.) She still brings up the subject almost every time I talk with her (we took the keys away six months ago). I think it's time to tell her that she is not going to drive again, and we need to sell the car. Any advice?

It’s more than just dementia and not just dementia! My Mom is weak and frail,slow response, range of motion issues. I took advantage of the quarantine time to let her car die, knowing that she would be very angry. We had many discussions about her driving. I finally had to insist that she stop driving. She finally succumbed to reasoning. It doesn’t feel good, I had no choice. All I could think of was her having a terrible accident. That would feel worse, much worse. I’m at the point in my life that I am her parent.
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Reply to Nncbb57
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My mother had bipolar disorder plus health problems and it took her doctors, DMV, me and family, finally, her expensive car decision for Mom to sell her car herself from 2008 to 2013 to resolve her issues without an accident!
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Reply to Patathome01
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How about taking off the license plates and turing them in and cancelling the insurance?

Old people are funny. A good driver knows when to give up driving. They were once a good driver. One of my neighbors who was 90ish was pulling out of his driveway one morning and lost control of his car which drove into his neighbors living room. Neighbor nearly had a heart attack as he was home. The driver had a stroke which caused him to loose control of the car. I visited him in the hospital. He was banged up and recovering from the stroke. He was lucky. His son came and took the car away. You just never know what can happen.
It isn't just about a person's right to drive. We have a responsiblity to keep each other safe. They, or someone else could be killed. It isn't about eyesight or hearing or dizzy spells or dementia. We are vunerable to sudden changes. I like to drive my self and hope I can do so for more years. I also hope I know when to give it up. I am grateful for Uber! I have used it myself when I wasn't well.
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Reply to Goody2shoes
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This is why I laugh at those who live in thos subdivisions away from the big city. They don't look to the future, when they may have to give up driving, and/or the home is too big to upkeep.
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Reply to shad250
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Sure tell her with the way many people drive today she is better off not driving at all.

True, story a young woman and her 6 month old baby were shot in a possible road rage incident, by a guy that had cut them off. (He has since been arrrested)

Add to that, the costs of ownership of a vehicle, then maybe she will drop the subject for good.
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Reply to shad250
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I had my mother's doctor explain to her why she is to longer drive, so far it works.
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Reply to grimgraham4
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However you actually sell it, if you can make it out to be someone you know of who is really in need of a car - that her letting go of it for all the other practical reasons cited here would ALSO help someone, individual or young family, out in a big way (even if it has to be a therapeutic fib), that might make it a bit smoother.
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Reply to mary4th
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Only thing I would worry about if she goes onto Medicare. They will go back five years of her assets including car. You have the keys so don’t worry about
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Reply to Anna123
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worriedinCali Jun 16, 2020
medicare doesn’t have a look back. Medicaid does. And selling a car now won’t affect the Medicaid lookback. The car would be an exempt asset. Medicaid recipients are allowed to own a car.
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My mom is 90, and about two years ago I had to tell her that she can't drive anymore. She is mentally sharp, but her vision isn't that good. Her reflexes are not that good, either. I am afraid of her getting into an accident, or not seeing a pedestrian in the road. She complained for about a year, to everyone in the family, but they agreed with me. She doesn't complain about it anymore, but I still keep the car in good condition and drive it about once a week. Whenever I take her somewhere, we go in her car. It makes her feel good that it is still running and she can still take a ride in it. I wouldn't sell the car until she passes away. It is part of her identity.
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Reply to carm0323
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This was a huge issue with my mom. She had no need to drive as my Aunt or I were there most of the time. She was only alone from Fri evening to noon on Sat and Sun evening to noon on Monday. If we took her anywhere she wanted us to use her car which was fine. I had to stop leaving mail to go out and stop leaving the local bills she like to pay in person. If I did she’s be up and out 1st thing Monday morning before my Aunt arrived and drive to the Post Office and Town Hall to pay things I had left for them to do together. No one could persuade her to stop driving so I talked sent a note to her MD before our next office visit and after a brief memory test and discussion about her driving and accidents she notified DMV. When the letter came she was livid, I told her the local police would have also been notified and they would be watching her. That finally did it. We kept the car but she finally gave my Aunt & I the keys to hold.
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Reply to EllensOnly
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Your posting and profile do not mention any kind of dementia. If she doesn't have dementia, then more than likely your POAs are not truly "active." You indicate you maintain her finances, so perhaps there are some concerns about dementia or she just didn't want the hassle? If no dementia, this is a tough issue for you. Unless your POA is very specific, more than likely you don't yet have authority to sell it (if she agrees, that's a different story!)

As others have suggested, perhaps her doctor(s) or some other trusted person can talk with her about not driving or find a way to have her driving skills tested. If someone else can convince her that driving is no longer an option, it will make the decision to sell easier - not necessarily a snap, but easier.

For our mother, it was a combination of reasons for taking the car away. She had some unexplained damage (a bit more than just dings) to the car (never mind the accidents prior!), the inspection sticker was out of date, she didn't drive at night, but there was a known issue with the lights (brother used when visiting and found this. No recall, but I was able to get the dealer to do a "courtesy" repair.) Her "circle of comfort" was growing ever smaller, which was a good thing, but clearly indicating some memory issues even then. When I finally realized she was having other issues related to dementia (knew almost nothing about dementia until my suspicions were aroused by some behaviors and did some research), I talked with YB and we made the decision to stop her from driving before she killed herself or someone else. Driving an 8cyl behemoth was asking for trouble! My thoughts at this point were driving is a privilege, NOT a right. If one can't maintain license, registration, maintenance, inspections, etc, never mind the inability to explain the damages, then one loses the privilege.

YB did ALL the talking and took the keys, I just stood behind him. Mom looked like a 5yo who had been caught in the cookie jar. On the way out, I asked him to disable the car, as I was sure she had another set of keys. Next day, who does she call, demanding her key back? Me. Thankfully I was able to say I didn't touch the key. She asked who did and my reply was if you are so smart, you figure it out. Day 2 - next call was nastier than the first one, accusing me of doing something to her car and demanding I get down there RIGHT NOW and fix it. Soooo, tootsie DID have another key! Not only that, she was able to find it!!! Again I was able to say I didn't touch the car (although it was my idea, I did nothing!!!) When she asked what's wrong with it, I did have to fib/flub and say I'm not a mechanic, I don't know what's wrong with it.

In the early days after taking it away, there was a bit of whining and begging and stating "But I don't go far." She would complain that the worst thing that happened to her was having her car taken away. After a while, that changed to it being the worst thing SHE did was to give up her "wheels"!

I did use the POA to sell the car, and had to include dad's death certificate because she NEVER registered the car in her name only!

Where is the car at the moment? Is it where she can see it and it reminds her to bug you about getting the keys back? Since she seems to be okay with being taken by aides to run her errands, etc, I would start with moving the car to where she won't see it. Out of sight, out of mind. While it sounds great to let the aides drive her around in it, I think having it there and using it is just a reminder. It also isn't good to let it sit. You mention caring from a distance, so are any of the "We" people local, that can move the car and run it from time to time? At some point mentioning the cost of upkeep, repairs, etc might help tip her over to agreeing for it to be sold. THEN you can sell it!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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When my friend, Jim, for whom I am his POA, needed to stop driving but wouldn't, I called Adult Protective Services for advice. When someone calls, they have to go check on them. I made sure I got there first so she would be let in. When she spoke with Jim, she could see he was confused about things. The Minnesota State department of Transportation had cancelled his license already, but he would not stop driving. He still had the license in his wallet and thought everything was still fine. Then she asked him about what he thought he should do with the car if he couldn't drive. He promptly said "Sell it and get some money out of it!" At that point he would give me the keys, which he had refused to do before. I took it to a friend's garage to clean it out and get it ready to sell and it sold very quickly.

I needed the help of Adult Protective Services to get this to happen and it worked perfectly. Perhaps an "outside voice" like that would help you, too.
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Reply to JohnnyJ
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People with mobility issues (think disabled, amputees, little people and handicapped) do operate motor vehicles, BUT they generally are not 92 years of age, on a walker and someone who falls routinely. YOUR deciding factor is to make invalid her DL. In addition, your question about selling her auto - Yes, you, no doubt, should sell it to eliminate her having a visual on the auto and then asking and asking and asking ....
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Why are you in a hurry to sell it? We kept my dads car until he died at the age of 99. He couldn’t drive but we’d go out in the driveway with him and start it so he’d see the battery hadn’t died. Honestly, if we’d have sold it, he would have been asking about it a hundred times a day. Keeping it was easier on us all.
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worriedinCali Jun 15, 2020
Shes probably in a hurry to sell the car because it’s not safe for her mom to drive it. Many people think taking away the keys solves the problem but it doesn’t. Same with disconnecting the battery. Doesn’t solve the problem. Plus if the car isn’t being driven then paying for insurance is a waste of $.
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My Mom’s car is just sitting in front of her home and while we tried to keep it running for her, we couldn’t figure out a good solution but to just let it sit. She doesn’t drive anymore. She also couldn’t locate her registration and we can’t get it inspected unless we take it on financially. When I bring it up to her, she goes silent. Now we’re back to street cleaning and it needs a jump to start it. I basically told her to just let it sit and pay the tickets (approx. $30 p/mo. for 6 months) or get the registration so that we can get it inspected, drive and/or move it twice a month to help her save this expense. She seemed more comfortable with just letting it sit and pay the tickets. I have my car and do all the running in my car and take her to doctor appointments so she doesn’t need her car. It has low miles and is in good shape. Once she volunteers to make a decision, I’ll honor it. The last thing I want is her to say or think is that I took her car from her when I nor my husband need it. I want her to feel comfortable about these next steps without worrying or getting stressed. I hate that she continues to age and not so gracefully, but love her so much to stand down in this situation. God Bless you all.
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Reply to BLTMom33
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So she can see for herself, take her to a huge mall parking lot and tell her you have to see how well she drives and if she can get the walker in/out of her car on her own. It might help her make her own decision if she sees how difficult it is. You can always tell her to keep exercising and you'll try a test drive again later on. If she simply cannot steer, gas/brake anymore...just reply with it's just not safe for you or others on the road anymore, but we have so-and-so to take you wherever you need to go. They'll help you in/out, bring in your packages, make sure that someone is w/you if you should fall again. And you might toss in: Wouldn't you feel terrible if you didn't hit the brake fast enough and someone got hurt?

I wouldn't sell the car. An empty driveway will drive home the fact that she lost the ability to drive. You have the keys, so leave it at that. It might suffice for her to think she may get stronger and be able to drive again
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Reply to my2cents
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I'm not being intentionally obtuse, but what about her strength, mobility and being 92 disqualifies your mother from driving? Is there something else going on, such as impaired vision, loss of mental abilities, TIAs?

If your mother is suffering from dementia and you have power of attorney for her, then you do have the right to make the decision to sell the car and use the money for her needs.

If she is not mentally impaired, you have no business depriving her of her property. You can certainly refuse to help her access her car or find her keys, you can certainly give your opinion freely that she ought not to be driving, you can report any incidents or medical advice that might disqualify her to the appropriate authorities; but respect her rights. Unless there is other relevant information you haven't mentioned yet, her driving or not driving is *her* decision and not yours.

Do you need to sell the car, in fact? Why?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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worriedinCali Jun 15, 2020
I agree with you CM. The OP makes no mention of Alzheimer’s/dementia so you are spot on. The only justification I can see right now is perhaps moms mobility issues and slow reflexes may make it very unsafe for her to drive? But that doesn’t mean she can have her rights stripped. It is a difficult position for OP to be in. Reminds me of my dad. Shouldn’t be driving but at this point he has to voluntarily stop and he won’t.
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Be honest-- be truthful-- don't be manipulated-- do the right thing-- sell the car. Re-direct. Take her to see nice places she has always loved. Have peace knowing you are doing the right thing.
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Reply to DugganB
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DugganB Jun 15, 2020
Don't forget to cancel her car insurance and take her driver's license away-- and not in her face but sneaky. She'll never know. Get her an non-driving ID via the DMV. She'll prolly never use it.
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WE just tell my mom car is in the shop.
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Reply to FloridaDD
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She is adjusting to "another loss". You may need help in relating to her in a warm and carying approach. This enables you to "meet her where she is". Sounds like she is tolerating "getting help". Encourage her "independance" in what she is able to function safely. Enjoy your time together and stay out of her SCARY ZONE, unless she brings it up. Going places is very important to her being able to " hang onto." She does not want to LOSE that as well. She has loss (fears) of other things you may have the ability to talk to her about. She knows she cant drive again...do not "pick on that scab". If she brings it up...relate to her how you would feel in losing what you most would like. Take her for a drive where she wants to go in her car. She will, with time come up with "I do not need it" and "lets sell." Get out of your "mechanical mode". Greet her with a hug and "I love you mama" and keep your time around how you related when she did not have all these "fear of loss".
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Reply to DKelso34
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We took my mother in laws keys and sold her car when she 88 after two minor fender Enders that weren’t her fault. She was mad and depressed. Now at age 92 she bought another car from a dead friends son, took the drivers test 3 times before she passed, managed to get full coverage insurance and is back on the road again. She stays in her own small town, she takes a light weight walker with her. She gets her hair done every Thursday and is happy.
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Reply to Terrisue
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This is a serious problem so many seniors face. I have one mantra and it makes sense. No one, no matter who or why, should be allowed to take something away from someone that means so much UNLESS THEY ARE ABLE TO PROVIDE A COMPARABLE SUBSITUTE. By that I mean is this - you cannot just take a car away from someone. First you have to be able to assure them that there will be a way for them to accomplish what they would have done if they had their own car. Otherwise, It is hell for the patient and will be horrible for the ones who do the deed. In this case, she is angry, probably frustrated. She will keep bringing this up over and over again. Instead of letting her blame you, perhaps tell her when the doctor gives written permission she can drive, then she will. Don't tell her anything more - it will kill her. it would me.
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Reply to Lockett2166
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I had to sell a car for an elderly lady whose neurologist told her she could no longer drive. He even advised against getting tested and not to bother with it. She constantly said it was a set up and we must have told doc to say that (???). Anyway, we did sell the car without making much fuss about it since we didn't want to continue the same conversation. She kept asking about driving and when would we let her "try" to do it? Too many physical/mental ailments to list here, but trust me - doctor was right. Once it sunk in that car was sold, she saw an ad on TV for a new car she felt she could afford (she couldn't have afforded it even back when she was working) and asked about getting it so THEN she could drive again. She actually had warped the story such that the reason she could not drive was because her mean caregivers sold her car! The driving conversation never ends and you may see the "facts" change over time as I did. I'd say do what you know is right with the car and try not to let it bother you.
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Reply to Mysteryshopper
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My car is part of my identity and independence. I believe it may be the same for your mother. She should not drive. Keep her keys and disable it so it won't start. But keep it in a safe place where she can see it whenever she wants. It took my mother about nine months to volunteer that maybe 'she should sell her car'. In my view it needs to be her idea. She already knows it is the right thing to do. It is just hard to let go of that facet of her independence. From time to time you can bring it up but don't force it. How would you like to be treated? You will have many other big decisions coming. This is a small one in comparison.
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Reply to WVson1
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My Mom's Driving Mission: Back in 2008, my 89-year-old mother's health was gradually declining, so a Kaiser SSF, CA doctor filed a DMV Unsafe Driver Report to suspend her driver's license. My family had strongly advised that I take the car keys away from her. Unfortunately, my mother starting getting extremely angry and forced me to return her keys, or I would have to move out of our place to find my own..with nowhere else to go! One last extreme effort for her "attempted license renewal!" was to prove she why should no longer drive: Mom tried unsuccessfully to pass her drive test in late October 2011 before her license expired! Next, I tried to disable her car, but I couldn't do it. All this was done while I still worked downtown at my full-time job, until I lost it after 25 years of service in February 2012 due to the economy. Mom had then fallen several times at home and had to start using a walker. I managed to park and maintain her little red car where she had no access to it from February 2012 until January 2013! All this while my trying to seek new work, even to collect my unemployment, while I still took care of her. The final straw happened when I took her car in for its overdue service inspection. It required a $500 job to fix it for safe operation. When I asked Mom if she wanted to pay for the fixing work, her reply was, "No, I don't, I'll sell it!" And so, her car was sold. However, Mom did tell me many times she wanted to reinstate her license and buy another used car to no avail since she then had no more strength to even obtain professional driving assessment for a new learner's permit! I felt as if a very large brick of responsibility was lifted off my back!! By late 2013, Mom had more injuries in our home and had to be permanently removed from our place so then I may once again search much needed work.
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Reply to Patathome01
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My mom had Alzheimer's and it wasn't safe for her to drive. She was diagnosed at age 87. I emailed her doc and asked her to reinforce the no-driving issue. I took my mom anywhere she wanted to go, so she had a "chauffeur" at her beckon call. My mom said the doc and I were in "kahoots" with one another. She picked up on that, yet she had irrational delusions about people coming in and stealing her coffee! Luckily, my mom's car stopped working, and we told her that because it was an older car, some of the parts needed to fix it weren't made any more, and she bought it. (Otherwise, I'm afraid she would have bought another car.) I even wrote a book about our experiences taking care of her called, "My Mother Has Alzheimer's and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale," and the chapter about the car is entitled: "Car-Ma." When my mom was sane, and she heard about people not giving up the keys, she said she'd never do that, but when Alzheimer's took over, that reasonable attitude went out the window, (right along with the coffee thieves). Maybe try several tactics like others have mentioned: talking to the doc, saying car isn't working well, and see what happens. Good luck.
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Reply to rlynn123
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disgustedtoo Jun 15, 2020
"...she said she'd never do that, but when Alzheimer's took over, that reasonable attitude went out the window..."

All too often, and not just related to cars and giving up driving. Multiple times my mother said she need to clean up her place (mainly clear out/get rid of stuff), in case she "ever had to get outta here." When asked what she meant, she said if she goes to AL. Enter dementia...

I can only hope I never go down that nasty path.
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Do what you need to do with the car, whatever you tell her she won’t remember ten minutes later anyway. Just say the car had to be fixed, it had a flat tire, it is getting washed and cleaned etc etc etc.
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Reply to LakeErie
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I would show her on paper what the costs are to keep the car, even when not being used, such as insurance & license tags. Be sure to include what deteration happens to all the parts and what that costs. Rather then spend all that money show her what she could do with that. Also if it is sold now what the amount could be versus how much less it would be over time. Then for those places she needs to go to, you would be taking her.
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Reply to Marylepete
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Mom was a reluctant to quit driving until she fell asleep in the church parking lot and the priest told her she should not drive anymore. I kept her car in her name and took her for rides in it.
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Reply to Momsablessing
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We were only able to get my dad to quit driving (this was after he already had his license taken away but continued to drive) when we hired caregivers to take him places in his car. When he moved to AL, caregivers were there 3 days a week and the car went along so they could drive it. Now he is in skilled nursing for a bit and there haven't been caregivers there since March because of covid, so the car hasn't been driven. I tried to start it the other day and it won't start. He will not be returning to AL so we are shopping for memory care. I will have the car taken to his house (yes, still owns that and won't let me sell it) and I will put the car in the garage for now. He has always been totally obsessed about the car and would walk outside multiple times a day at the AL to check on it. It was finally time for me to take control of this and having him in skilled nursing for now has allowed me to do that, as he would not let me touch his car if he was there for fear it would not return. Maybe I'm more patient than others would be but with his anxiety and agitation the way it is, I pick and choose my battles.
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