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Fact, Superstition, or Dementia?

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
When Dad passed in January, I took his keys to the house and cars, with Mum's consent A while ago, I must have also taken Mum's car keys by accident, when she left them laying about the kitchen. I was thinking of returning the keys, even though I don't want Mum driving. Yesterday, however, while we were shopping, she beat me to the subject by asking if I'd seen her car keys and if so, could she please have them back. I said, of course, but reminded her she shouldn't be driving. Then Mum said the most peculiar thing... She didn't want to drive -- she said she wanted the keys in case of a storm. She said Dad had always told her that, at the 1st sign of thunder, you must take your car out of the garage and leave it in the driveway until the storm passes.

I've never heard of this. In fact, my insurance company advises that we keep our cars garaged or under shelter during a storm -- in case of falling limbs or trees. I told Mum this, but she insisted the insurance co. is wrong. Now Mum says she's going to call my uncle about it, since she trusts his judgment over mine. I'm puzzled, because she's very worried, insisting that she would be in danger if the car stayed in the garage during a storm.

Has anyone heard of this? Is it for real, or is it some sort of superstition? Or maybe its just the dementia rearing its head again with another odd story?..
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
9,139
0
Bristol
There is a theory that sitting in a car during a lightning storm is safe. The idea is the metal conducts the electric charge and the tyres ground it, so as long as you are inside and not touching anything metal you are safe. I think it works like a faraday cage, but it's been a few years since I studied physics so may not be 100 % accurate. That may also be what your mum is thinking of.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
There is a theory that sitting in a car during a lightning storm is safe. The idea is the metal conducts the electric charge and the tyres ground it, so as long as you are inside and not touching anything metal you are safe. I think it works like a faraday cage, but it's been a few years since I studied physics so may not be 100 % accurate. That may also be what your mum is thinking of.
Maybe...It does sound as if she's confused about something. She said she wanted the keys in order to back her car into the driveway...then leave it sitting there unattended while she waits out the storm inside the house. Mum seems to think that a garaged car is a lightning hazard.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
A car does indeed work like a Faraday cage, so if you are sat in the car you are safe.
I expect this is what your mum is thinking of and the rest is muddled thinking due to the dementia. Its what is called "confabulation" where there is a kernel of truth but a whole load of other things too - old memories, stuff seen on TV, things people have said plus a large dollop of imagination - all stretched, taken out of context, repurposed, stirred up and mangled into some sort of cohesion that becomes a false memory which the person with dementia is absolutely convinced is true.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
A car does indeed work like a Faraday cage, so if you are sat in the car you are safe.
I expect this is what your mum is thinking of and the rest is muddled thinking due to the dementia. Its what is called "confabulation" where there is a kernel of truth but a whole load of other things too - old memories, stuff seen on TV, things people have said plus a large dollop of imagination - all stretched, taken out of context, repurposed, stirred up and mangled into some sort of cohesion that becomes a false memory which the person with dementia is absolutely convinced is true.
Yes, I think you are 100% right on this.

I do hope Mum doesn't take to backing her car into the driveway this summer in the midst of each thunderstorm only to drive it back in once the rain stops, with the neighbors watching. They will definitely know she's bats.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,833
0
Victoria, Australia
Yes, I think you are 100% right on this.

I do hope Mum doesn't take to backing her car into the driveway this summer in the midst of each thunderstorm only to drive it back in once the rain stops, with the neighbors watching. They will definitely know she's bats.
Do you get much hail during your thunderstorms? My sister had to write her car off after a storm hit while she was at work, There was so much damage done to the body of the car that it was going to cost more to fix than the car was worth.

Perhaps you could Google a few pics to show her what could happen if the car was left out in the storm.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Do you get much hail during your thunderstorms? My sister had to write her car off after a storm hit while she was at work, There was so much damage done to the body of the car that it was going to cost more to fix than the car was worth.

Perhaps you could Google a few pics to show her what could happen if the car was left out in the storm.
Yes, I could show storm pics if I could first get Mum to listen. I've told her what could happen to her car if left outside, but she remains convinced that the danger of leaving it in is greater. Plus, as she pointed out to me, in a power outage, she could not get the garage door open, if she's alone (she can't reach the release cord). This is true --however, power outages from t-storms around here are usually brief and she shouldn't be out driving anyway.

Doesn't matter. Whatever I say is wrong. That's dementia for you.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
6,309
0
Chester
If you don't want her to drive just keep forgetting the keys.

Dementia logic about needing to.open the door in a power cut sounds pretty standard.