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"Taking car keys from parents"

  • TheBestLife
    Posted: Feb 20, 2009 01:50 AM
    TheBestLife
    Richmond, VA
    Phil writes a blog for the U.S. News & World Report called The Best Life.

    My mom is in her 80s. Her driving seems worse every time I’m with her but she refuses to even think about giving up her car. Does anyone have ideas on what I should do?

Replies

  • #1
    Ticky
    Posted: Feb 25, 2009 08:15 AM
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    Ticky
    Westwood, NJ
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    Unfortunately, we had to do this with both parents and it was obvious that they required different approaches. Dad was easy to reason with and accepted that because he became ill he couldn't drive, but that when he got better he would be able to. We knew he was not going to get better, and he probably did too, but the hope made it easier for him to accept. He eventually stopped asking. Mom had signs of mental impairment that she did not recognize. It was easy for her to dismiss her daughters' concerns. We had to enlist the aid of doctors, her granddaughter and friends telling her she should give up the keys. We resorted to hiding the keys, hiring an aid and telling her how lucky she was to have help.

  • #2
    JoanK
    Posted: Feb 25, 2009 08:26 PM
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    JoanK
    Woodcliff Lake, NJ
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    Pre-plan this event. Make sure you know the transportation resources in the area your parent lives in. Then seize the first opportunity to discuss the no-driving issue while you are armed with alternatives. Remember to discuss the financial implications of not driving like no more car insurance or car maintenance costs. And how these savings can be applied to taking taxis, etc. And while you are at it think about where your parent lives- and maybe it is time to make the move to a more supportive living environment too.

  • #3
    joanie
    Posted: Feb 28, 2009 09:59 PM
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    joanie
    New Milford, NJ
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    Every situation is unique-the personalities, the living conditions, etc. I believe that advice from a loved one will usually not be sufficient. You need to ask your mother's doctor(s) to intervene as well as friends, if possible. My mother had home healthcare workers caring for her 24/7 and they did all the driving, telling her that they preferred to drive and could get in trouble if she drove. Eventually, my mother moved to an assisted living facility specializing in the care of the mentally impaired (where she is very happy) and this ended any discussion about driving. Perhaps you might initiate a discussion regarding a new living arrangement.

  • #4
    Susan G.
    Posted: Mar 02, 2009 12:51 PM
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    Susan G.
    Mesa, AZ
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    The most obvious aspect of this dilemma in my opinion, in asking a parent to give up driving, is another step in loss of independence and mobility. Many psychological issues are tied up with this life-altering event and I can't imagine that they see any positive outcomes. A very large part of their life-style will change once they are no longer driving and I think they know it! My heart goes out to her and to you. I think a large dose of sympathy and gentle persuasion is in order. Be gentle, be sympathetic, be firm.

  • #5
    Fisher-man
    Posted: Apr 22, 2009 01:13 PM
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    Fisher-man
    Manchester, VT
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    My mom's driving was driving me crazy. I was sure she was going to get in an accident and I was constantly worried she'd hurt herself or someone else. A friend told me about caring.com. This site has lots of suggestions to help this exact situation. They give tips on how to discuss the subject, where to go to find out about state laws related to older drivers, how to enlist family and authorities to help. They also have info on "last resort options", like getting the DMV involved - who can ask for a medical evaluation or a driving test. Scroll down to "Common Concerns" and click on "Older Drivers".

  • #6
    Joy Griffin
    Posted: Feb 04, 2010 05:28 PM
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    Joy Griffin
    Naperville, IL
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    4070talk.com has a free .pdf booklet for baby boomers that gives advice on how to talk to your parents about all sorts of issues we face as our parents are getting older:

    Topics covered:

    * When Health Changes Lifestyles

    * Did Dad Hit a Light Pole?

    * You're Going to Wear That?

    * When the House Is a Mess

    * A Senior Moment or Something More?

    * The Medication Quagmire

    * Sibling Communication

    * Mom's Not Safe at Home

    * The Money Talk

    * When Dad Starts to Date

  • #7
    R8tr1000
    Posted: Aug 23, 2010 05:25 PM
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    R8tr1000
    Traverse City, MI
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    Reply to #4 this sounds like the best approach ti me. this can be a very sensitive issue.

  • #8
    lisamkline
    Posted: Sep 25, 2010 05:32 PM
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    lisamkline
    Clarkston, MI
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    Michigan has a new program where if you contact the sec. of state office and fill out some paperwork they will send the senior a letter from the atate with no indication this was prompted from an outside source, stating they have to come in and be tested to have their license renewed. It takes the burden (anger from the parent) off the family. Check your states office to see if a simular program is available.

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