During a recent discussion with the home caregiving service, Mom happily stated to the nurse that she has a car and drives. They were of course surprised to hear this– as was I.
Mom drove longer with her dementia than I think was advisable. Without realizing how quickly she was deteriorating, I moved her into a location that was extremely car dependent but not too far from me. She quickly showed signs of slower reactions and increasingly poor judgement. It was no longer safe.
I had to take action. And yet Mom was always so proud. How was I going to handle taking away that critical piece of inddependence? Luckily, Mom’s memory loss provided an easy solution. The second or third time Mom left her lights on overnight and her battery died, I did nothing to fix it.
Her car sat there, inoperable. And Mom accepted that. We would talk in generality about getting it fixed. And Mom just grew accustomed to not driving. Then finally, one day, she moved with me to the city and her car just went away…
And so, in Mom’s mind, apparently, she is a still a driver. She just happens to live with a daughter who really likes to drive in a place where we don’t need to do that much of it.
(And has absolutely no contact with any car keys. Ever.)
September 12, 2014 at 7:42 am
Giving up driving was devastating for my dad with macular degeneration. It is such a symbol of independence. I would like to get good at riding the bus before someone has to take my keys away…
September 12, 2014 at 7:52 am
It’s been three years since we took my mom’s keys from her (which is what ittook to stop her from driving). We blamed it on her vision and said we’d be fine once she made an appointment to get her eyes checked out, but of course that never happened. But, she still has her driver’s license and insists to others that she does indeed drive! Of course she also insists that she speaks Chinese, surfs and boxes….(things shes never done!)
September 12, 2014 at 7:56 am
What a perfect solution to the driving dilemma.
September 12, 2014 at 10:12 am
What a brilliant solution! I will definitely keep your idea in mind for when that time comes. If a person is not in the habit of leaving their lights on, it would be very simple for a caregiver to run a battery down, or even remove it completely for that matter. Thanks for the great solution to a thorny problem.