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My mother-in-law is 79 and lives with us. She is reasonably healthy and doesn't take meds other than cholesterol lowering drugs. She does have some hearing loss that has gotten worse recently (she repeats things at the dinner table that were just discussed, as though she never heard, and doesn't respond when you call her name if her back is turned). She refuses to be fitted for a hearing aid. She has had one cataract removed and will need to have another removed soon, so she does not drive at night. She has a lot of dings and scratches on her car, and a couple of spots in our garage have her car's paint on them from where she's struck them. She always says she has no idea how any of the scratches or dents got there. She is overweight and does no physical activity other than walking from her bedroom to the kitchen and back, and doing the occasional load of laundry, so she is slowing down very rapidly. My two older children flat out refuse to ride in the car with her--in fact, the eldest (16 & driving) is skipping an after-school function to take her younger sister (14) to an appointment so she doesn't have to be driven by her grandmother. She moved here from overseas 5 years ago and sometimes still gets confused about which side of the road she should be on. My mother (67) rode with her recently and said she came within inches of hitting a mother and child in a parking lot. However, she has not had any actual accidents and has basically said we may as well kill her if we take her keys away as her life will no longer be worth living--the only independence she has left is her car. I think she is beginning to catch on to the fact that I no longer ask her to take the kids anywhere and don't take her up on her offers to do so. I will miss work to take them somewhere rather than let her take them. Do we wait until she's had an actual accident, or she has obvious dementia, or something along those lines that is very obvious and extreme? Or do we start talking to her now about the fact that her driving days may be numbered, and try to plan for it? I know her reaction is going to be terrible and she may even move out of our home (although she can't really afford to) in order to try and escape our driving plan for her. Is it easier to pull the band-aid off slowly or rip it off all at once? She is in the process of applying for citizenship, so we can no longer use the 'we are financially responsible for you and your actions' plea. No doctor has told her she shouldn't be driving and she renewed her license a couple of years ago without a problem. I would just like some concrete examples of things that would signify that we should take away her keys, without waiting for her to hurt herself or someone else!

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My father has macular degeneration. I know how terrifying it is to be in a car driven by an 83 yr old who can't see and won't wear his hearing aid. It will be hard but please take the keys away. She will eventually hurt someone.
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I would disable the car. Removing the battery terminal is easy, and it doesn't sound like she'd be able to figure it out. Then contact her doctor and tell him the problem. let him inform the DMV. Make sure she doesn't have keys to any of your vehicles. This is a very scary situation.
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Turn the form into the DMV - you can download in from the internet. Takes a couple of weeks. If my child or grandchild was killed by an elderly driver because "they have a right to drive" - well - who really cares if it hurts her feelings. I went thru the same issue with my Mother and we got her license suspended. It has been hard because she blames me for not being able to drive and I have to drive her everywhere. I knew that I could not live with myself if she got behind the wheel of a machine and killed or maimed someone. We do not let 5 year olds drive - why do we let people with dementia and the judgement of a 5 year old? Because we are afraid of hurting their feelings?? At some point feelings are just not that important. Good luck,
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this is a serious issue, my dear Mother was never really a good driver and I was the one who got to keep her from driving. Shortly before my Dad passed away he said to me we need to get those keys away pretty soon! He had cancer bless his heart and just could not battle with her. My sister's car died and so we, my Mom and I took her my Mom's car and it just never came home again... To this day she blames my older sister who really had nothing to do with it, but I cannot be the bad guy cus she needs me. She is 86 and has dementia I take her wherever she wants to go Trust me everyone is safer. AARP has a good booklet entitled "We need to Talk", it is about seniors driving... It is important to help her understand that she could get hurt or hurt someone else.
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In the warm weather areas of the country, seniors driving into the front of stores, happens frequently. I sympathize with you, but you need to pick your battles and I think you should have your husband take the keys, immediately.
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The almost hitting mother and child should have been it! Why wait until that kind of actual incident happens...

My elderly aunt almost hit my father twice in his own driveway by confusing brake and gas pedal. She said the same thing.. she would rather die than not have her car. Well keys were taken away and she did just fine for the next 3 years before passing... what's more, my father didn't die as a result of her negligence or for that matter my cousin's since she was ultimately responsible... Yes, police can hold you responsible for knowingly allowing her to drive in an unsafe manner... TAKE AWAY THE KEYS!!!
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How many times have you heard on the news that a senior driver hit the gas instead of the brake and killed someone? Shes been able to live her life, don't let her deprive others of thiers. Could you live with yourself if you allow her to kill someone elses children?
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Hearing is a good reason to take the keys away. If one cannot hear the sounds for sirens, how can one move over and avoid a crash? Hearing and dementia go hand in hand too. If she lives in your house, your rules. "Almost hitting", scratches on your garage, dents in her car, what more proof do you need? Take her back to MVD, have them test her, and let them revoke her license. I would also take keys away, disconnect the battery, let the air out of the tires, anything to avoid her driving. I don't want her coming at me driving on the wrong side of the road because she thinks she is back in her country. Being a U.S. citizen requires one to be responsible for their own behaviors. So what if she gets mad? Better her mad than dead! Also, if she is not getting any exercise except walking to and from the refrigerator, no wonder she is overweight and has hypercholesterolemia. Limit her access to the refrigerator and get her exercising! You may have a dead mother of heart disease before she kills herself driving. What kind of example are you setting for her grandchildren? Get everyone exercising and make it fun.
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You can work with the doctor and have them be the one to say she should not be driving. Also sometimes the police can help. Check out some resources like the AMA and some of their ideas .http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/public-health/promoting-healthy-lifestyles/geriatric-health/older-driver-safety.page
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If she will listen to a professional, consider a driver rehabilitation specialist who can run an assessment. The American Occupational Therapy Association (aota dot org) has excellent resources under their Practice section. Look for the Productive Aging link.
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My mother got lost in her own town. Luckily, a stranger, who happened to notice her, and apparently her symptoms, drove her home. Thank God for this woman. That was it. That was really when we realized something was wrong. She was 85. Her disease progressed very quickly after that.
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The last time I rode in the car with my mother, she drove into a ditch, ran a red light and drove thru a stop sign. I said "Enough!". She called me a liar when I confronted her. Okay, think what you want lady, I'm taking the keys and the car before you kill somebody. She was furious, but eventually got over it. The world is safer. You are not doing anybody a favor by allowing her to drive. If you need, take a ride with her, after that, in your heart you will know you MUST remove her keys.
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The insurance-rate-hike idea really works. My mother finally gave up her car when she realized she could save $89 a month on her limited income by selling the car and eliminating insurance premiums and maintenance. Sold the car to her grandson, which gave her a sense of control. It's time to revoke driving privileges when "safety" is an issue. In your MIL's case . . . the time is now. Good luck.
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It is easier to be the one who chooses not to drive then the one being told not to drive.I was able to pass my driving test easily but choose not to drive unless I absolutely have to. I know my vision is not as good as I need it to be, and night driving is next to impossible. My husband was forced in to not driving when I totaled our last car, he was fine but he had to rethink his driving skills and we have not bought another car. I guess you could tell her the little lie ," Your car is not running well enough to keep and we are suggesting you donate it. Tell he the insurance rate have gone up because of her age or something that is believable but not currently completely true. We ride the bus or walk in the area where we live and one of the grocery stores will pick us up and bring us back. Since she is not able to do much walking the bus might not be an option. Do you have available transportation for the elderly? and if so what do you need to do to get this available for your mother?
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I told my mom flat out that if she got behind the wheel of the car, I'd call the cops on her. Simple as that. I meant it, too.

You want examples of why the keys should be taken? Read your own post. There are your reasons.

Better SHE be miserable, than someone innocent be DEAD. The end.
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Do you trust what you own mom said, that she came within inches of hitting a mother and child? What more of a sign from Heaven/karma/whatever do you need? Where is her son in this situation. Your kids know it, you clearly don't want YOUR kids in the car with her...are the lives of my daughter and grandson, her theoretical next victims less valuable? Get her doctor to talk to her today, call the DMV and report her. Set up an account with a taxi service if you can, to allow her some independence.
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