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She has gone to two eye doctors who have told her to stop driving. She is planning to take her driver’s test on her birthday, in March. She lives 1.5 hours from the nearest DMV.

Interesting this topic came up. Today an 87yr old man is dead after driving the wrong way on an Akron Oh highway, hitting an 18 wheeler head on
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I had the same problem with my husband ( 76 years, Frontotemporal dementia ) Like many of the cases here, he absolutely refused to stop driving, even though he came to the moment when did not know how to get to the local store., without me seating next to him and directing where to go. But he is great to excuse himself.and thought that there is nothing to worry about.. After he get lost a few times, and I was not able to locate him, and redirect him home.. I asked a friend to disable his car. ( untouched the battery cable, ) Now my husband thinks that his car does not work... and is constantly "planning " to find someone to repair it. Meanwhile I took the car key ( he thinks that he had lost them again ) and now he does not get angry at me any more. I hope he get used to be a passenger :-))
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So glad you have taken the car, Sunflower! Not easy, but you are definitely to be commended! Peace and courage to you, dear one!
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After removing mom's lifeline--the car--install and UBER app on her phone. Teach her, (good luck!) how to use it. Even my spacey mom could use one, although she never has and never will (she LOVES being ferried everywhere).

So--sadly, losing that "freedom" but offer her a secondary one.

Also, perhaps someone you can hire for just this purpose and perhaps some errand running along with it? I'd go with any agency, for safety's sake!! Set up some specific days. You can't just yank her keys and say "Sorry mom" and walk away (The way my brother handled it).

My mother's car had not a single quarter panel nor fender that wasn't 90% ruined from constant "bumping" things.

Thank goodness it was never a person.
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This issue comes up often on AC, and thankfully there are plenty of suggestions and support for family members who know the elder shouldn't be driving. These always remind me of an recent incident in my county.

An elder who was blind in one eye and had glaucoma (or cataract) in the other and couldn't see. She knew she shouldn't be driving and so did her family members. She finally agreed to stop driving after she killed a girl in a crosswalk. (She also went to jail for two years.)

I have no doubt it's hard for family members to force the issue, and I'm sorry for the struggle. There's just too much as stake to hesitate. Good luck.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Hello! Thanks for your response! I just needed some advise since this is the first time I’ve been in this position! Actually, I went to visit my Mom and asked to “borrow” her car. Now, I have her car at my house (500 miles away!). She has been calling me non-stop to ask when I’m bringing it back. For now, it’s parked, safely, in my garage. She was planning on driving 2.5 hours to the DMV to get her license renewed having JUST had two doctors tell her her vision was to BAD to drive, anymore! :-( sometimes, tough love is all that works!
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Lots of good advice for one of the most difficult and most frequent caregiving issues.

As well as choosing one or methods to part her from her car, do give thought to how she's going to get about without one. Cabs, buses, helpful neighbours, Uber, family rota, unicycle? It's fear of being stuck for transport that makes many people keep driving when they really oughtn't to be behind the wheel.
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shad250 Feb 27, 2019
Which is why so many move to or near a major city while they are young.
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I have 2 grandmothers still living, with such different attitudes to driving. One, in her 90s, backed out of her spot in her condo parking garage and ever so slightly grazed her back bumper on a pillar. That's it, no more driving, she declared! Taxis from now on. She still has the same taxi driver she calls for everything, bridge games, visits, GP, etc., she's 103.
The other one: not so much. She hit so many parked cars while driving her usual catpaths around the shops (but there isn't usually a car parked there, it wasnt my fault) amd one time in her own driveway she got the gas and brakes mixed up and, for some reason turned a HARD LEFT in the straight driveway and gunned the gas pedal and drove so hard over a massive snowbank that all four wheels were in the air and the car was suspended on its middle! Fortunately she was able to get out. None of us could budge the car, we had to call a tow truck. She kept saying she couldn't think how it had happened. The car must have gone out of control! My uncle "borrowed" her car while his was in the shop after this, and just never gave it back.

Sorry I have no helpful advice! Just 2 funny stories.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Thank you for your “funny” stories! I’m glad, both, are OK! My Mom is proud that she has NEVER had an accident her entire life but we told her - let’s not have your FIRST by continuing to drive when you CAN’T SEE!! LOL If you read the comment above - I’ve taken care of my “problem”, temporarily! :-)
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I worry about this day in the future. My mum is only 72 and still can drive better than most. Its going to be one of the hardest things for her to give up. I hate being in the car with her....she drives like a bat out of hell!
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Hi! My Mom drove like a “bat out of hell”, too, and was a very good driver. Sad, her vision is gone! Thanks for your response! Helpful!! :-)
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All of the regulars here have heard my rant numerous times. My dad drove INTO a bank. The pregnant woman who sat at the desk he drove into may have been killed if she had not been away from her desk. He had also been told to stop driving by eye doctors. He refused to stop driving and it took a kind hearted deputy sheriff to pull him over and confiscate his car to make him finally stop driving. Now is the time to be mean, tough, and take no prisoners. You may save lives.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Thanks, Mincemeat! I’ve heard about those elderly that put the car in “drive” instead of “reverse” - very scary! Thanks for your response! It’s so helpful!!!
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Can you contact her primary care doctor's office? One option can be to have a driving contract that they could discuss with mom (hoping that her medical doctor carries more influence with mom than eye doctors do...) in that there is a time when it is no longer safe for her to drive... and that she may not be able to recognize when that time arrives... and they designate a person to tell her that it is no longer safe to drive. (mention the 2014 Alzheimer's Association recommendation on driving contracts with the Dr. office.)
Sometimes parents listen more to those they view to have 'authority' than to their children. Sometimes (like my mom would do...) they want to prove to themselves and others that they CAN still drive... without thought to their or other's safety.

Also yes... find a way to disable the car. It will be drama and stress with mom for a time... but better that than to be sorry. I know of someone who took 'one more little drive' and had an accident that killed his wife who was in the passenger seat. So sad.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Hi! If you read up above - YES, I have the car now and her other car keys are hidden (at her house). She has been calling me nonstop to get her car back! She almost called the police! We are trying to get her to see a doctor, now, for her cognitive problems. She needs a diagnosis! Thank you!!
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We had quite the discussion on this very topic on a couple other threads.

If 2 doctors have told her to STOP driving, you need to get them to write letters stating so, then take the letters to the DMV. That should get her license revoked.

If not, time to loose ALL sets of keys AND disable the car. Yes, it is HER property, but if she’s going against medical advice and is a danger to the public, she must be stopped. What if she killed your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter? You’d hate to say, “I should have” after it’s too late.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
So many people have supported my idea to disable the car, take the keys or something!! I have the car now and she is very upset but it’s for her own good! Thanks for your informative response! I appreciate it! :-)
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Sigh. We were beginning to think about having "The Talk" about driving with my MIL after her 90th birtday a couple of months ago, but didn't. She passed the eye exam and her license was renewed, for 4 years, I think. But we family members observed some cognitive decline that nibbled at our concern a little bit. Just a little. No major red flags, just ... more like yellow flashing lights that told us that day was coming, we'd need to have The Talk. Soon. Nothing we could really put our finger on, though.... just.... something.

And then she pulled out in front of a semi. The driver of the semi wasn't hurt, but our LO died an hour later. We thank God she didn't pull out in front of a school bus, or a car full of kids.

Please don't put this off. Go to your LO's MD, eye dr, case worker, attorney, the DMV, the Highway Patrol, Sheriff's Dept., anybody you can think of who may be able to help you get them out from behind the wheel of a car if you think they shouldn't be there. Trust your instincts. Try to be as diplomatic as possible. Yes, they may throw a fit anyway. Assure them you love them and want them to be safe. Tell them how much fun it will be for them to have their own personal driver (YOU!)! Do whatever it takes.

I only wish I had, before it was too late. My heart goes out to that poor truck driver who hit my MIL's car. She has to live with what happened the rest of her life. I prsy God's comfort and guidance on her.
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Tothill Feb 19, 2019
Desertgrl, what a sad story. My condolences to your family.

The story about your mother in law is one that so many of us fear. That our family member will die or kill someone because they are no longer safe to drive.
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Don't rely on the doctors or the DMV to take her license. My dad at 90 some years old and with glaucoma and macular degeneration managed to pass the eye test at the DMV. He is actually officially classified as legally blind for other services. The entire DMV experience was surreal and I was positive that he'd not pass but he ended up renewing his license for 10 years! He'd be over 100!

Have someone "disable" the car so that it needs to be "repaired", then make certain that all her transportation needs are met without driving the car. Then make the financial case that the "repairs", plus the insurance, plus the gas, etc isn't worth the cost if there are other transportation options. We eventually sold the car (which is a whole other story) but the key issue really is the independence that driving provides. You or someone must be available on short notice to do the driving but it is well worth it not to worry that they will kill someone.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
This is SOOOO true! My father, at age “96” had his license renewed and he has Fuch’s dystrophy (which I have, too) I am only “64” and I am beginning to have vision problems! I can’t imagine how they passed him on his vision test! He also had slow reaction time, etc. and it would have been a matter of time before he would have been in an accident. (He passed away in November of last year).
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Hi Sunflower, you didn't specifically say whether Mom has dementia or not, but I saw this in the alzheimer's and dementia section.
This is tough, and you'll find that many state agencies tend to treat this as a "family issue", and, surprisingly, do not always get involved. If they do, it can take a while and a lot of back-and-forthing, which leads me to this:

Judging by what you said, it seems that what 2 docs already told her had little impact, as little as when my Dad's (who has AD) neurologist and PCP both told him the same. He got angry and blew up, said he'd never stop driving, why should he, he's fine, etc. Then of course he forgot that we'd even been to a doctor, or that both the PCP and neurologist said he couldn't drive anymore. We both knew this would happen, so the doctor wrote a "prescription" note telling him he couldn't drive. When I posted the note, he just tore it up, then forgot again. Everyone with dementia is different, and I don't know if your mom is as disconnected from reality as my Dad is, but I'm sure you know where I'm going with this.

You need to take action and stop her by any means necessary. Don't wait for an agency to tell her what she won't listen to anyway! It's touchy, because as another poster pointed out, nobody wants to give driving up, and the loss of this independence really upsets them, but innocent people dying at the hand (car) of someone who has no business driving is absolutely unacceptable and, the good news is, PREVENTABLE.

Time to "lose" the keys then sell the car. You know your Mom better than I do, certainly, so if she doesn't have dementia and can understand, remember, and reason, perhaps you can gently and sympathetically explain again why she can't drive anymore. If she has dementia, then it may be easier to just lie about it needing a part that's on order, or the like, then redirect.
It sounds harsh, and another poster let me know when this came up on another thread that this tactic would be hurtful to her mom, but I'm telling you from experience that you can't afford to pussyfoot around with this. Good luck, I know this is tough.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Thanks you for your response! I’m so glad that everyone feels I should lose the keys, etc. I felt guilty at first but then practicality got the best of me! I would hate for her to be killed or God forbid someone else! It’s for the best that she NOT have access to her keys, car, etc.
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Well, she's a stubborn one, isn't she? No one WANTS to give up driving, but it does become quite a safety issue at some point.

Do doctors report to DMV?

Is there transportation in her area to get where she wants to go without driving herself? Bus, uber, etc.? If so, maybe get her setup with some alternatives like that so she will be at least semi-independent re transportation.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Thanks for responding and YES, she is stubborn. She has been very independent and “in charge” for her entire life. Now her children are “in charge” Yikes!! I now have the car! All lies GOOD!
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I'm not sure this is the case everywhere, but where I live a simple vision test is part of the process. It's possible she won't pass that. Or she might not pass the driving test.

Can you ask the DMV about this too?

Can someone go with her to the testing location in case her license is not renewed?
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Yes, two eye docs have told her her vision is to bad to drive. She can’t see to even walk around the house! I’ve got the car, now - just TOOK it! She’s mad at me but that’s better than her getting in an accident! Thanks for your response! I appreciate the support!
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One of the doctors needs to report her to DMV. Maybe she can lose her keys. Did you get a letter from the doctors? Maybe you can take them to the DMV or mail them.
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Sunflower64 Feb 20, 2019
Hi JoAnn29! Yes, getting letters, soon. A tough time for her. She just lost my Dad in November and now her kids are taking her car away from her! In time, she’ll get over it! thanks for your support! :-)
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