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Mom has vascular dementia. She is convinced she is fine, the Dr. is crazy, and I'm a controlling witch who is doing all this to her on purpose. Her DL has been revoked. This has been explained a thousand times. Finally, we 'lost' the key. Currently, we are 'waiting' to get a replacement key. Somebody come up with my next excuse!!!!! I don't know what to tell her anymore.


She won't go to her Neurologist or the Geriatric Psychiatrist. Refuses to go. Does anybody know if you can alert the police that she is about to drive and have them stop her? Are there legal ramifications for me if she somehow manages to get behind the wheel of a vehicle? I wouldn't put it past her to steal my car....she has stolen my keys before.

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"The replacement key was lost in the mail due to Hurricane Florence. I am waiting for the Post Office to call me back regarding hopefully beginning the process of submitting our claim. . . ." "The replacement key guy called: his new apprentice accidentally messed up the key. Man, was he mad. . . ." "There is a shortage right now of the steel (?) needed for replacement keys due to this whole trade war thing with China. Unfortunately, they are saying there will be a delay affecting all replacement keys and key-related items in the tri-state area for the next 5-6 weeks. . . ."

I just made these new excuses up now -- I hope one of them could work for you! :)
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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bbooks5720 Oct 5, 2018
Brilliant!  Thanks!
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A friend and her husband exchanged the keys to the car in the drive with keys from another car. Her dad would go out to start the car, be unable to do so, come back in to find the right keys and forget what he was looking for then go on to something else. Saved arguments and hurt feelings.
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Reply to thompb54
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Vascular dementia is a very peculiar disease. My Dad would be totally oriented about a lot of things, but there was no reasoning with him about things he would get obsessed about. I think the dementia goes deeper than just a memory problem. It is executive functioning which is in a specific part of the brain.
In my experience, if we helped him through one thing, then another would take its place. Then he would be obsessing about that. It just goes on and on.
He has not been happy for several years. We cannot do anything that will “make” him happy.
We are so worn out that we don’t feel guilty anymore. He is on three psych meds, and in a nursing home. He is at least more content than he was when he was in control of all those day to day decisions.
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Reply to PrairieLake
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Been through that. The auto repair shop told me which fuse to pull for the fuel pump. It worked. Mom couldn't get it together to get it repaired.
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Reply to kallettla
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Thanks, everyone.  Wow.  This is hard.  I might try contacting her car insurance folks.  Apparently, they haven't gotten the word yet that the license has been revoked.  Mom really does quite well, she has a 'tiny home' right behind my house, she is still able to manage her own personal hygiene, and clean house, and cook a little.  It's just this key thing.  She really could still have quite a full and rewarding life, if she would just move on and concentrate on the things she CAN still do.  I'm upset that I can't make her happy (a thing I have been doing all my life) anymore.  Just wish it was different, but I guess all I can do is try to learn what not to do to my kids.  Thanks for your answers and support.  I truly appreciate it!
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Reply to bbooks5720
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rovana Oct 6, 2018
If she is driving without a license, then her insurance wouldn't cover her - insurance companies are not good Samaritans. Can you explain that if she was in an accident she would be blamed and it could be a financial catastrophe?
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My husband disconnected the battery in my mother’s car and left a note on top of the battery saying why it was disconnected. This way if she called AAA they would lift the hood and see the note. Her car is leased and there is no acceptable financial option to get out of the lease for another eight months.
Listen when your mother complains (for only a minute), say you understand but do not to explain why she can’t drive. Change the subject, if that doesn’t work walk away. She likely thinks that as long as she can keep you engaged in the conversation she has a chance to win. I told mine that her doctors have forbidden her to drive and I have no power over the DMV. It has been seven months now since her license was revoked, she still complains from time to time but as her memory worsens she switches her OCD behavior to other subjects.
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Reply to Veronica33
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My mother was the same way. One night she got in the car and set out for “the grocery store” and promptly drove right into the back of a parked truck, totaling both vehicles. It is a miracle no one was seriously injured or killed. She had to spend 3 months at rehab after that and it has been a downward spiral ever since, of course the car is long gone so she’s moved on to other things. If I had it to do over I’d have disabled the car or moved it or removed the keys from the house.
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Reply to LakeErie
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My aunt DID get the keys to the car - the first time she was missing for 24 hours. Showed up at a hairdressers 6 or 7 towns away the next day, and told them she didn't know how to get home (but the home she was trying to get to was her childhood home). They called the police and because there was a missing alert, they got her home.

A month later, she got the keys again and drove to the next state to visit a childhood girlfriend. Very late at night/early in the am. Hit a car that had stopped for a red light - thank God it was a very slow accident. She parked at a Wendy's and wandered into one of those storefront clinics that is open all night. Her airbag had gone off and she had hit the steering wheel (probably didn't have her seat belt on) and broke her nose - her face was swollen and bruising. She refused to let the clinic transport her to the hospital so they called the police for assistance.

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOUR MOM NOT DRIVE!!

While she was in the hospital we retrieved her car and "disappeared it". When she wanted to know where her car was we told her she had a bad accident and the car was totaled and taken away. We have had to tell her that over 999,000 times, but she seems to accept that explanation even if she can't remember it. If she still has her car, make it disappear (hopefully you have power of attorney to sell it; if not, find a relative where you can park it for now). If she lives with you and gets your keys, do two things. Hide your keys in a place where she can't get them. Buy a small safe for $30-$40 (a kids safe is fine) and keep your keys in it, or buy one of those stuffed animals where you can unzip their outer layer to wash it, or a pajama pal, so you can hide the keys in a place she is unlikely to look. Then put a dummy set of keys where yours usually are. If she finds them they won't work. If she asks you about why they won't work tell her you need to take the car to a place and have them fix the problem.

Hopefully that will be less like you are taking her car from her, and more like you both have run into a string of bad luck and are trying your best to fix things. Good luck!!
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Reply to iggyziggy
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We told my husband that his insurance wouldn't cover him if he drove since he has no license. That plus he would be deemed responsible in any accident even if it obviously was not his fault. The other party could sue and get everything he had worked and saved all his life. This was sufficient to scare him although he still thinks he can drive but hasn't attempted to do so. He always was cheap so losing money for him was the ultimate threat!
I did ask him what he would do if I were to fall and black out. He said he would pick me up, put me in the car and drive me to the hospital. Not the best idea! Working on changing that reaction and meanwhile staying safe.
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Reply to Wobblywalker
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Stuggling with that, myself... My Dad has macular degeneration, meaning he's almost legally blind, as well as having mild Alzheimer's. I got his doctor to write a note saying that he cannot legally drive (even though his license was actually renewed a few months ago... I won't go into how I feel about that! He actually passed the eye exam when they asked him to go back and read the 1st of the 4 numbers/letters). Of course, he never remembers what the note said... I am always here to drive him wherever he wants to go, but he is always worried about his own car needing to be driven and sometimes he wants to drive it himself. We tried the lost key idea, but he was obsessed with finding it. Finally, I went to his car dealership and asked for a dummy key. They sold me one that looks just like his, but it doesn't have the chip in it. It will unlock the door and start the engine, but then the engine immediately dies. He hasn't tried it yet. When he does, we'll have to get a mechanic to tell him it can't be fixed. I'm praying that he'll give it up at that point, realizing that i will take him wherever he wants to go. But as long as the key is on his ring, he's not too bothered. And as long as he lets me drive his car, we can still keep it in good working order.

I think you can alert the police, but I don't know if they can actually stop her without a valid reason. It's worth talking to them, though. I guess if her license has been revoked, that's reason enough. There are legal ramifications, from what I've heard. Even if her car is stopped at a stop sign and someone runs into her, apparently they could sue if they find out she has dementia. That's just what I've heard, I don't know how true it is.
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