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Aging parent should no longer drive
Old 05-30-2019, 03:19 AM
  #1

Help! Have you had to take the keys/car away from an aging parent??

My mom is 92 and up until very recently has been fine to drive around her small town area. She's quite independent and goes to the library, grocery shopping and hair salon. But we're noticing changes in her judgment (she got turned around in town and drove the opposite way from home and was gone for over an hour...) And she has started to have memory lapses, forgot to pay some bills, for example.

We took her car in for repairs this week and almost decided not take it back to her. But she told me "you are NOT taking my car from me"

My husband and I are the only relatives near her. So this kind of decision making goes mostly to me. She can be kind of difficult


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Doctor's Appointment
Old 05-30-2019, 03:27 AM
  #2

Please contact your mom's doctor and make an appointment. Explain what is happening to the doctor before going to the appointment with her. The doctor will help determine whether or not she can keep her keys.

If your community, county, or state has a senior help-line or senior center, there may be someone there with whom you can speak to get info on how to approach and broach the car key subject.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:36 AM
  #3

My dad had the same problems. He was 91. My sister tried talking to his Dr. but it was if the Dr. didn’t want to get in the middle of the situation. The police department at a neighboring town called my sister one night at midnight. They found my dad sitting in his car in the church parking lot, where he did attend, waiting for church to start. He was confused. Wrong day and wrong time. When my sister picked him up he said, “I messed up didn’t I?” He let us sell his car and we drove him to appointments etc. as needed. Scary as to what could have happened.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:20 AM
  #4

My parents asked my grandfather how he would feel if he hurt someone while driving. That did it. He agreed to not drive anymore. He was seriously a hazard on the road though.

He should have stopped driving well before he did and they were able to give solid examples of times he could have including a time his granddaughters were in the car ( we seriously thought we were going to die).
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Car
Old 05-30-2019, 04:24 AM
  #5

I finally had to take the keys.
When we would do errands we would take “moms car”.
It was hard but easier than an accident or worse.


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Old 05-30-2019, 04:29 AM
  #6

Problem with going the doctor route, unless mom has serious memory issues (everyone can see this person should not be on the rode), many doctors won't report it to the DMV. My MIL should not be driving. She has horrible night vision, and her daytime vision is garbage due to macular degeneration. Somehow she passes the eye exam at the DMV. I personally think the person just waves her on because MIL doesn't seem confused.

Taking a car is the kiss of death in almost all of the US. Our mass transit is crap. Adults are used to going when they want and where they want. That's why scheduled senior transport is such a buzz kill.

Is your town big enough and mom with it enough to try Uber or Lyft? That comes the closest to using your own car. You can prepay into an account, and mom is good to go wherever she wants.

Cabs where I live have to be scheduled. Same with senior ready rides. This is why my MIL refuses to use either of them. It harshes her mellow.

Mom is thinking, car gets taken, and next is a nursing home. It's a huge control issue. If there is anyway she can still keep a little autonomy, you'll win 80% of this battle.

We are trying to get my ILs to use Uber or Lyft because they live in a semi rural area with little senior support. Everything else has to be schedule at least a week in advance, if the service comes out that far. Their area is not rural rural, like nothing but farms. It's a tourist destination, with a limit yearly population. It's awful, because to get anywhere you need to drive the freeway with people booming past them at 90 mph. Surface streets are little, winding and so easy to get lost. They both got lost trying to go to the grocery store on the surface streets.

Unlike you, all of their kids have buried their heads in the sand, since their parents are aggressive PITAs.

I was lucky. My mother never drove, and my dad stopped driving at 65. His daily entertainment was walking (2 miles) to the store or taking the bus. Metro Detroit public transport is a joke. There is time and then there is bus time. Dad was extroverted and enjoyed being out.

My father had a stroke (minor) and did long haul trucking for a living. He quit driving because he was done dealing with "stupid people". I know I got off easy.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:48 AM
  #7

When it came time for mom to quit driving I 'borrowed' her car because mine was in the shop. She knew it was an older car and when I told her it was a big repair and could I keep her car 'a bit longer' she agreed. She was in senior housing, living where she could get to the hair dressers, library, store, church, bank, by walking or on the electric scooter.
When it was time to register, she transferred the title to me for $1.00. I tried to be really good about taking her out to eat, doctors or just out for fun.
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Self driving cars
Old 05-30-2019, 05:04 AM
  #8

This is exactly why I am a big proponent about the future of self driving cars. They aren’t ready for prime time now but they will be in the future What a godsend this will be for our aging population. I am hopeful that this mode of transportation will be available someday when I need it and want to stay independent.
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Good Luck
Old 05-30-2019, 06:07 AM
  #9

My dad was having black out episodes and the doctor still refused to help out by demanding he stop driving. Doctor said my dad would know when to stop. (Not if he has Alzheimer’s !!)

I filled out a form from DMV. Doctor had to add data too. Eventually DMV had my Dad come in to take another driving test. He passed. Argh. He didn’t blackout. He knew the mechanics of how to drive.

Good luck with helping your mom through this transition.
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:28 AM
  #10

Since your mom lives in a small town, could you go to the police? Maybe they can keep an eye out for her and have a little talk with her. Good luck. This is a painful part of a parent getting older.


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Old 05-30-2019, 06:42 AM
  #11

When people get at that age, it's tough for them to face that they may not be capable to do things they used to.

Coincidentally, just yesterday, I saw this pretty elderly lady coming out of the bank. She was in a handicapped spot and had to hold on to walk and take a step off this curb. It almost seemed like she was about to fall on the hood of my car and I was just hoping she didn't! I question her driving skills.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:33 AM
  #12

Quote:
Coincidentally, just yesterday, I saw this pretty elderly lady coming out of the bank. She was in a handicapped spot and had to hold on to walk and take a step off this curb. It almost seemed like she was about to fall on the hood of my car and I was just hoping she didn't! I question her driving skills.

She may well have had modifications made to her car to be able to safely drive. Prior to being wheelchair-bound, people probably thought the same about me, but hand-controls and other modifications are readily available if you can afford it.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:02 AM
  #13

Linda/OH, I commend you for taking steps to make sure that your mom and people around her are safe.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/s...ver-153264.htm

While I understand the need for independence, I feel very strongly that the need for safety of others is more important. About 15 years ago a 92-year old woman a few blocks from my house got confused while driving, drove the wrong way, killed a young mother and seriously injured her child. At the time there was a lot of talk about preventing this type of tragedy, but more needs to be done.

There have been many accidents in my town with elderly drivers since that time. It seems we only hear about them when there are deaths involved. Two years ago nearby me an elderly woman killed a pedestrian because she put her car in drive instead of reverse, thereby plowing into several people on the sidewalk.

Three or four years ago I witnessed an elderly woman trying to park in a handicap spot but instead of pushing the brake pedal she pushed the accelerator. If it hadn't been for a metal pole on the curb she would have slammed into the terrace of a coffee shop and injured or killed people who were sitting there. She was so confused that she continued to push the accelerator. I was the first one there and opened her passenger door to pull her emergency brake. The police confiscated her car and drove her home. I'm glad she won't be driving again.

Two days after the above incident I arrived in the same shopping area right after an elderly man had smashed his car into an Aaron Bros store. Nobody was injured, but it really makes you wonder why doctors aren't more vigilant when it comes to their elderly patients.

Quote:
Doctor said my dad would know when to stop. (Not if he has Alzheimer’s !!)
knit1purl2:
Your doctor may be afraid of reporting your dad to the DMV, as there have been cases of people suing their doctors for doing exactly that (breach of confidentiality).

In California, however, it is now a requirement for doctors to report patients diagnosed with any condition marked by a lapse of consciousness, specifically Alzheimer's disease. It is now more risky for doctors in California NOT to report patients as there have been mega-lawsuits.

Uber or Lyft are a great solution for elderly who are still mobile enough to use them.
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Try this
Old 05-30-2019, 12:33 PM
  #14

I know this is a difficult situation to be in for you. I noticed someone recommended Uber or Lyft, but some rural areas might not have that as you said it was a small town. Some communities have a senior transit or a rural transit for senior folks. Maybe check at the local senior center as they can make some suggestions. If you don't have senior center check the one for the county as can point you in the right direction, maybe, hopefully! Feel for you.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:35 PM
  #15

Try contacting the DMV. My mom struggled with this with my grandpa for a long time. His driving was just fine, but he'd forget where he was going. He took medication on a schedule and when she'd show up to give it to him, he'd be gone and come back hours later with no explanation. The Dr. had told him no highway driving, but of course he didn't listen.

Mom had him go to the DMV to take a test to see if he could retain his license. She framed it as something he had to do if he wanted to try to keep driving- like a legal requirement, not just her idea. It was not an actual driving test- they had him do various things to test his reaction time and things like that. He didn't pass and then she didn't have to be the one just taking away his driving "for no reason." After that she convinced him to sell the car so he wouldn't go off on his own.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:51 PM
  #16

The hard part about this, of course, is the loss of independence. If finances permit, consider hiring someone to drive her one or two mornings a week or whatever works for her. If she’s hiring someone, and she’s telling them where to go and when, she’s more independent than if she has to call and ask you every time she needs something. It made a huge difference with my grandparents.
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Maybe this will help
Old 05-30-2019, 12:53 PM
  #17

https://seniordriving.aaa.com/resour...acts-research/
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