1. hilary's daughter

    hilary's daughter New member

    Oct 14, 2018

    How do we manage the difficult conversation about stopping driving with my 81 year old mother with dementia? Her driving has caused concerns for my sister for years, but I haven't been too worried as she lives in an area of the States where the speed limit is about 20 mph. However, she recently ran into a parked car, my level headed 23 year old son no longer wants to get in a car with her and there are lots of scratches and dents that my mum can't explain. She re-took her driving test about 18 months ago and passed. But in the states they are particularly lenient, as my father was completely blind in one eye and partially blind in another aged 80 and he passed his re-test.

    I'd be grateful for any suggestions/ tips of how to handle this challenging situation.
  2. Fullticket

    Fullticket Registered User

    Apr 19, 2016
    Chard, Somerset
    I have to admit that it didn't work with my mum and we just had to take the keys from her and live through the fallout but could you approach the GP who might 'suggest' it's time to stop, or even tell her??
    In our case mum had a TIE and we took the keys and removed the car from the drive. We tried to impress on her that if she crashed and killed herself then so be it but if she hurt someone else could she live with herself? Evidently she could...
    She went ballistic at the time but a few months later had convinced herself that she voluntarily gave up driving. Obviously we had to pitch in with transport and help with shopping etc. but that actually worked well for us as we could at last see exactly what was going into her shopping basket and what she was eating.
  3. try again

    try again Registered User

    Jun 21, 2018
    Can't you "take the car in to be repaired" on an indefinite basis?
  4. farmgirl

    farmgirl Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    this was one of the most heart reaching thing i had to do with dad, think it upset me as much as it upset him.
  5. hilary's daughter

    hilary's daughter New member

    Oct 14, 2018
    My mum would notice immediately if the car disappeared as it's the usual way she gets around. But thanks for your thoughts.
  6. DeMartin

    DeMartin Registered User

    Jul 4, 2017
    I note you live in theStates, perhaps a USA member can advise.
  7. hilary's daughter

    hilary's daughter New member

    Oct 14, 2018
    I actually live in the UK, but my mum lives in the states, specifically Illinois. So it's my poor brother who lives down the road from her about 30 minutes away who has to manage all this, although I'm going for a visit later this week.
  8. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Perhaps, you as a visitor, could with collusion of your brother, bring this to a head.
    Look at the car, go for a short drive with her, be very frightened, absolutely insist the car goes. Get it removed before you leave.
    Take the blame back to the UK. Let brother deal with the fallout, by saying it's your fault! (But he doesn't replace the car.)
    By the time you go back to visit, she'll have forgotten the car. A rare up side of dementia, short memory, which can be used advantageously in the right circumstances.

  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im sure she would. So everytime she mentions it you remind her that "its in the garage being repaired" ;)
  10. try again

    try again Registered User

    Jun 21, 2018
    Do something to disable it so it needs to be fixed, then it's always due back next week because they are waiting on a part
  11. silkiest

    silkiest Registered User

    Feb 9, 2017
    My husbands grandfather would not stop driving, at 93 with dementia he was very unsafe. His sons bought wheel clamps and pretended an outside company had fitted them for illegal parking and then they had it towed away. A bit drastic but it worked.
  12. hilary's daughter

    hilary's daughter New member

    Oct 14, 2018
    Thanks very much to all of you for your helpful contributions. Lots to think about and discuss with my brother and sister. Much appreciated. BW
  13. scallywags

    scallywags New member

    Dec 29, 2018
    Im in this process with my mum now. Dementia getting worse Has had a crash but insists it was not her fault. Terrified of losing independence and not wanting to stop driving even though on some days she says she knows she should. Cant bring myself to just take the car off her, but worry she will hurt herself or someone else.
  14. Lady M

    Lady M Registered User

    Sep 15, 2018
    Been there with OH! But in your heart you know the time has come. You must stop her now.
    Someone has to be the ‘ baddie’ and take the flac afterwards but better that than the unthinkable!
    I know how hard it is but please please do it now!!!!!
    Thinking of you x
  15. hilary's daughter

    hilary's daughter New member

    Oct 14, 2018
    Hi. I'm the person who posted originally. If it's any help to you, stopping my mum from driving didn't end up being a very big deal at all.

    In addition to the accident, she left the keys in the car with the engine running all night and so the car would no longer start. Initially, we talked with her about getting it fixed and having to put other things in place so she could get around. Then after she came to terms with not having a car temporarily (this took a few days), we discussed the advantages of not having it at all (e.g. no more worries about trying to remember where she parked it or remembering how to put in petrol or losing her way while driving). She accepted all that.

    We also set up some private carers, who were actually friends of hers from her church, to start coming in several times a week to take her out to run her errands. This has helped her feel a lot less lonely. In the end, stopping her from driving has actually improved the quality of her life. You might find that there are some silver linings in your situation too, once your mum stops driving.

    So what helped us was: 1) no more access to a working car, 2) talking initially about it being temporary, 3) putting other things in place so she could still get around.

    All the best with it. I know it's not easy.
  16. GinnyJan

    GinnyJan Registered User

    Jan 20, 2018
    My husband has just got his letter from DVLA saying that he has voluntarily given up his licence. For us it was easier because I told the Memory Clinic that he wasn't safe to drive (his anger didn't help his cause) and they must have told someone because we got a letter from a driver assessment centre asking for an appointment. It would have taken more or less a full day to get there, do the assessment and get back and that put OH off altogether.

    He didn't drive much anyway and I was always scared to death when he lost his temper with me and demanded his keys, got in his van and drove to the police station to report me for various things (being an unknown intruder etc). He had loads of little dings and dents in the paintwork so I know he'd bumped into various things over the last year. In the end, the thought of sitting with an assessor for up to 2 hours scared him into giving up.

    You might find it easier than you think but, whatever happens, you really should report her, she could kill an innocent child if she loses control of the car.....it doesn't bear thinking about!
  17. Lady M

    Lady M Registered User

    Sep 15, 2018
    Hi Hilary’s daughter,
    How lovely to read your response!
    I was on here to add perhaps set up a taxi account, rally friends and neighbours to drive etc, but all is now settled! How good to read!
    Hope your Mum enjoys her new lifestyle!
    Regards, Lady M
  18. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    My mum got lost driving from her's to mine (200 miles away and 60 miles off route) she kept repeating well at least I didn't go the wrong way down a dual carriageway so I'm convinced she nearly did.

    Once we got the car back to mine (we picked her up from a police station, the car wasn't insured) I removed the keys and didn't let anyone else in the house know where they were. She was very cross with me, but I couldn't take the risk. Daughter later (a couple of years) told me mum got quite nasty with her once when I wasn't in the house (dau was 13 and had got in from school as mum lived with me for a couple of months).

    I hadn't really understood or been aware of dementia until this point, with hindsight mum probably hadn't been safe to drive for a couple of years as her spacial awareness had gone. I had nightmares for months not about dealing with the crisis I had on my hands but the fact she had driven my young son (aged 8) about 4 months previously.

    For my mum the spacial awareness issues had clearly been an issue for a while with hindsight (she hadn't been able to judge kerbs when walking or small step into our house).

    My mum was very proud of her driving, and she didn't understand why she couldn't drive, and everywhere we looked at for her to live she checked out the car parking situation. She kept asking for a long time and I changed the subject, but she couldn't understand, had no idea she wasn't insured, and didn't understand this when I gave it as a reason. We discovered she was in the process of being prosecuted for no insurance, and we managed to write a suitable letter, saying she would never drive again and were pleased with the £100 fine.

    As an aside she was no longer insured because she had sent a cheque as she no longer understood her to write her card details on the form, couldn't use a phone and her cheque was returned as they no longer accepted a cheque. The year before she wrote her card details on the form.

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