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Old 06-07-2012, 06:42 AM   #1
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Taking the car away, this weekend!

AS some of you know, My Mom's car was not working. My brother had it fixed but had the guy keep it at the place where it was fixed. We are telling my Mom that there are to many things to fix and it's not worth it. The car is 12 yrs old.
I'm so scare to tell her. I feel so bad. I know it needs to be done, I think she may get 10 times worst after we tell her. Three of us are going to tell her. I know she is going to say she will buy a new car, that's when we are going to have to tell her, 1. She can't afford one. 2. She's getting lost. 3. We don't want her to get hurt. I've been reading things about taking cars away. One thing someone said Is "to be sure it's time". So then I'm second guessing myself, I know it's time. They said it's one of the biggest things you do in this disease. They also said "just tell the person right out they are to forgetful" I disagree with being so honest if it's going to hurt the person and make them feel worst.
My Mom is getting worst, in the last two weeks. She keeps saying she needs things from the store and that she needs to go to the ATM for cash. I know she is getting cash out and forgetting where she is putting it. She also has her credit card and buys things with that. She spends money on things she doesn't need (we don't let her get carried away with that). My Mom never did that before,she would drive to a different store to buy things for less. She used to know all the sales and where they where. It's just so weird watching somebody you love change so much. My sister in law is watching Mom's banking.
So, that's my update.
Thank you again for all of your help! I love getting answer here.
Liz

 
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:19 AM   #2
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Good luck to you. It is never easy with the car!

Two things:

1- Keep in mind that in most states, you can report her to the DMV and have her listed for a retest. The catch here is that she will be informed who reported her. But since you are all on board with it that is probably not an issue for you. Of course after a certain point they will drive even without a license but it sounds like she is not at that point.

2 - Include in the conversation alternatives for her for getting around. Losing the car makes a person feel so powerless and cooped up. Sometimes it can be helpful to present the alternatives for them to be able to continue to get out and about, at the same time, and to present them in a good light

Has you Mom been diagnosed and if so what is her condition and stage of her condition?
Quote:
Originally Posted by baseball View Post
AS some of you know, My Mom's car was not working. My brother had it fixed but had the guy keep it at the place where it was fixed. We are telling my Mom that there are to many things to fix and it's not worth it. The car is 12 yrs old.
I'm so scare to tell her. I feel so bad. I know it needs to be done, I think she may get 10 times worst after we tell her. Three of us are going to tell her. I know she is going to say she will buy a new car, that's when we are going to have to tell her, 1. She can't afford one. 2. She's getting lost. 3. We don't want her to get hurt. I've been reading things about taking cars away. One thing someone said Is "to be sure it's time". So then I'm second guessing myself, I know it's time. They said it's one of the biggest things you do in this disease. They also said "just tell the person right out they are to forgetful" I disagree with being so honest if it's going to hurt the person and make them feel worst.
My Mom is getting worst, in the last two weeks. She keeps saying she needs things from the store and that she needs to go to the ATM for cash. I know she is getting cash out and forgetting where she is putting it. She also has her credit card and buys things with that. She spends money on things she doesn't need (we don't let her get carried away with that). My Mom never did that before,she would drive to a different store to buy things for less. She used to know all the sales and where they where. It's just so weird watching somebody you love change so much. My sister in law is watching Mom's banking.
So, that's my update.
Thank you again for all of your help! I love getting answer here.
Liz

 
Old 06-07-2012, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

No, it is not easy to do what you are about to do. Not easy for you or your Mom.... but you have already done it! The car is "broken"! Leave it there. Trying to get your Mom to understand the extend of the problem and that she is incapable of driving may backfire on you. At the point in the disease that she is in, she is not going to comprehend.... or remember. So just tell her that the car is still broken and and it will take a long time to fix it. If you tell her it can't be fixed then you take away her hope. Tell her you understand her frustration but the family will be there to take her where she needs to go.

When you take away something as important as their transportation which equals their independence and freedom, you have to be careful not to make it a hopeless situation for them and you have to validate their frustration over the situation.... without giving in and giving them what they want!

Dad's Van disappeared because Mom nor Dad could safely drive. The AC was being fixed during the summer. He ask frequently at first and parts were being ordered. Yes Dad, I know they are being slow but this is the best place to get it fixed and they can't help that the part is back ordered. I know it frustrates you. When it turned to winter there was another problem. Yes, Dad and Mom still ask about the van. This is to be expected. But I never took away the hope that one day it would be back and I always empathized with their plight of not having independent transportation. Remember that they only know the here and now... so what you said last week is gone and their ability to know time is distorted. We kept up the ruse with Dad for YEARS!

My sister decided to take the high road and just tell Mom she could not drive any more. What we got for that was a complete and total melt down which lasted for a LONG time. It was what pushed her over the edge. It was her anger about having the car taken away that precipitated the assault on the care giver and landed Mom and Dad in AL.

Just tread carefully. Leave her some hope for the future. We all need that. And validate her frustration. We all need that as well If nothing else, tell her you will keep your eyes open for a car she can afford... of course that day will never come but only you know that

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 06-07-2012 at 09:17 AM.

 
Old 06-07-2012, 10:01 AM   #4
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

All I can say is do what you can. It is good that you got her car. Keep saying to her that the car is being fixed. As her memory gets worse, she would not know the logic that the car was fixed and how long it should be... Just tell her it is being fixed until she forgot about driving. Don't tell the truth that will make her mad, just tell her that the car is not there. Don't even mention the car unless she wants it! No need to update her - the power is in your hand and she has no clues. Why give her the clues to get into trouble?
Money is difficult. As I wrote before, we had a year of craziness when my FIL handled his own money. The final trick is to take away his credit cards and atm card. Gave him cash and fake credit card/debit card or outdated cards. We were still late on that because he still lost his new passport and cell phone in 2007/2008. We took away his blank checkbooks because he slept with them. First time I took away some from his pocket and he was unhappy at me. Then the second time, the caregiver took the rest away and it took him 3 days to be mad at the caregiver saying she stole them (but I took them.)
Don't worry about her being upset. Just try to do what you can and if she gets upset, let her be. Certainly we should not shock him badly but we had to do something so he got upset for sure.

Now we are going to move my FIL to the other wing in the same NH. He won't like it but we have to do it. Sometimes you do what she needs, not what she wants, as Deb said.

The other thing is you cannot be too honest with her because she would not understand anyway. So just tell her half-truth about the car. We donated my FIL's broken car and he never knew what happened when the guy came to the street at night to take it away.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 06-07-2012 at 10:18 AM.

 
Old 06-07-2012, 12:02 PM   #5
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

When we convinced my aunt to stop driving, she was in the mild stage and absolutely not fooled by something like the car is still broken or a new rule about mandatory retesting or anything like that.

When we talked to her, we emphasized not her mental state, but things like relfexes, side vision, ability to react, stiffness from arthritis, etc.

We told her that even tho she was still with it (lie, lie, lie), slowing down of relexes, etc., is natural at her age.

We also blamed the other, young drivers on the road who nowadays go way too fast, are not courteous, pull out at intersections too far, etc. and said they make it too hard for a courteous, cautious driver like herself, and if your reflexes are not fast, you could easily have an accident that gets blamed on you.

Even it is just because with arthritis it was hard to stop in time or you had to push the pedal a little too hard, it could still cause an accident.

We kind of just totally left out her getting lost, forgetting the rules of the road, etc.

Since my aunt was physically slowed down a bit, this seemed logical to her then somewhat still rational mind.

And I think since we did not allude to her not being with it enough to keep driving, her guard was down and she went for it.

That same day we offered her some options for getting around (a young lady available for driving chores, town senior bus, etc etc)

Also, with certain types of dementia, there can be pretty long periods of relative lucidity. In the early stages I was cautious of certain types of lies because as the POA, I did not want her to come to distrust me.

She is still not at the point where we can just agree with her or lie to her and offer her ice cream and she forgets all about it, especially not in her lucid times!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
No, it is not easy to do what you are about to do. Not easy for you or your Mom.... but you have already done it! The car is "broken"! Leave it there. Trying to get your Mom to understand the extend of the problem and that she is incapable of driving may backfire on you. At the point in the disease that she is in, she is not going to comprehend.... or remember. So just tell her that the car is still broken and and it will take a long time to fix it. If you tell her it can't be fixed then you take away her hope. Tell her you understand her frustration but the family will be there to take her where she needs to go.

When you take away something as important as their transportation which equals their independence and freedom, you have to be careful not to make it a hopeless situation for them and you have to validate their frustration over the situation.... without giving in and giving them what they want!

Dad's Van disappeared because Mom nor Dad could safely drive. The AC was being fixed during the summer. He ask frequently at first and parts were being ordered. Yes Dad, I know they are being slow but this is the best place to get it fixed and they can't help that the part is back ordered. I know it frustrates you. When it turned to winter there was another problem. Yes, Dad and Mom still ask about the van. This is to be expected. But I never took away the hope that one day it would be back and I always empathized with their plight of not having independent transportation. Remember that they only know the here and now... so what you said last week is gone and their ability to know time is distorted. We kept up the ruse with Dad for YEARS!

My sister decided to take the high road and just tell Mom she could not drive any more. What we got for that was a complete and total melt down which lasted for a LONG time. It was what pushed her over the edge. It was her anger about having the car taken away that precipitated the assault on the care giver and landed Mom and Dad in AL.

Just tread carefully. Leave her some hope for the future. We all need that. And validate her frustration. We all need that as well If nothing else, tell her you will keep your eyes open for a car she can afford... of course that day will never come but only you know that

Love, deb

 
Old 06-07-2012, 02:58 PM   #6
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Thank you very much again! I don't know what stage My Mom's in, she shows some signs of stage 5. Not all of stage 5. I don't think she'd fall for the car being broken, I know what you guys are saying But I think my Mom falls more under what Deb is saying. Very good points from everyone. I'll talk to my brothers about using RA and her bad foot for the reason. We'll try not to bring up the car being gone forever. As I'm writing this I'm thinking she will just keep asking about buying a new car and I feel like I'm giving her false hope.
Her doctors DX is early dementia, that was months ago. The doctor said to me "I agree with you it's Alzheimer's"
she said that over the phone. I guess I'll have to call her and ask what my Mom DX is.

I have a lot to think about. Thanks
Liz

 
Old 06-07-2012, 03:21 PM   #7
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Liz, Can you tell her that she would need to take a driving test in order to drive again? (or do you think she could pass that?) Maybe she'd back down knowing she couldn't pass. Just thinking of alternatives since it's hard to fool someone that is still somewhat with it. I do like Suzy's method of not talking about her mental incapacitation but her physical limitations, etc. Just don't give in. this is difficult and some wait till it's too late to do what needs to be done. I hope you find the solution that works for you.

 
Old 06-07-2012, 10:34 PM   #8
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Baseball, Dad never stopped asking about the van I have said this before... I heard about the van so many times that I actually put the keys in his pocket in his casket. No way was I sending him to heaven without them!! Eventually he got to the point that he was usually happy with the keys in his pocket even though he didn't have the van. It was comforting to him to have them.... even though the van was actually sold.

So expect the questions over and over. It is NOT going to just go away because you have a single conversation.

You know your Mom better than anybody. You know how she has reacted to information in the recent past. Does she remember the conversations? Does she bring up the same questions over and over and over? Does she understand and remember other explanations? The answers to these questions will lead you in the right direction.

You might want to call the Alzheimer's Association and see if they do have a senior driving test facility near you. They not only test the physical driving ability but also the cognitive driving ability. Yes, some give up because they fear they will not pass the test. But if she does go for testing and fails, then you have a letter that says she is unsafe (then you can blame it on all that other stuff). That is a visual reason to blame somebody other than you!

There are lots of options... and you have to pick the best for her. As for "false hope".... this is a truly hopeless disease. There is no cure and no effective treatment. She is not going to get better. But that is not what we need to tell them. We have to give them some hope... even if it is "false hope".... as long as they have any cognition left You do not want to leave her hopeless....

Love, deb

 
Old 06-08-2012, 06:08 AM   #9
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

No, I or we won't leave her hopeless. With 5 other siblings there are a lot of opinions. One of the sister's said she talked to her counselor and the counselor told her to just tell my Mom she's forgetful and can't be driving. The counselor Mother also had Alzheimer's. I couldn't do that to my Mom. I'm going to tell my brothers that we need to say it's because of her foot and that the car can't be fixed. Then we will tell her that maybe when her foot is better she can get a new/used car.
She does remember some conversations or parts of them. Sometimes she has the conversation all wrong. I guess for the most part she doesn't remember conversations.
The other day when she was over at my house I gave her a book to read while I was busy doing something, she had read this book before a long time ago.I wanted to see how much she remember of it now. She said she didn't remember reading it at all. I could see her not remembering it. I want to see how much she remember as she's reading it again.
Something happen last week. My sister said Mom woke up around 4 am (not like her) and said someone was knocking at her bedroom door, she got up and no one was there so she looked around the house for who was knocking.
My brothers all think she had a dream. My sister's and i wonder if it was part of Alzheimer's. I thought people with Alzheimer's didn't do things like that until later in the disease. Any feed back on that would be great!
Thanks again everyone! Liz

 
Old 06-08-2012, 08:26 AM   #10
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Liz, vivid dreams (they do have a hard time distinguishing between what is a dream and what is real), something that happened on TV (the can not distinguish between what is real and what is on TV) are both common even in the mid stags. They also have delusions and hallucination... as well as twist information into something that it is not. Yes, she might have a dream and then go search for a resolution to that dream. Yes, it is part of the disease. So you are both right if that it the case Dad's dreams morphed into waking delusions which he acted on frequently during the night. Word of warning... that is when he wandered!

Your sister's counselor should know that the method you use for anything depends on the person, where they are in their disease, their emotional stability and temperament. My great aunt A actually made her own decision to stop driving... but she knew she had Alzheimer's, accepted that fact, and talked about it freely. Mom on the other hand had a hysterical melt down when she realized she was told she could no longer drive. She denied her Alzheimer's, never admitted it was a problem, and thought we were all crazy! Dad had more rational thought and we could manipulate his thinking but no short term memory so we had to do it over and over again. So each is different and you have to go back to what she has done in the recent past with other information to know where to go with it.... there is NOT a one size fits all answer.

......"She does remember some conversations or parts of them. Sometimes she has the conversation all wrong. I guess for the most part she doesn't remember conversations."..... This is classic of the mid stages. Some information will still get through and be filed in the memory but not all. In order to make sense of what they do receive their brain creates a logical sequence for them which is probably untrue. As this information is filtered back out of the brain it is twisted again with pieces missing. It's like the old whisper game where you start with one piece of information and by the time it comes around the circle it is completely different The more involved the piece of information is, the more likely they are to have difficulty retaining and remembering the correct information. So keep the information simple and repeat it over and over. Find your main points... Your car is broken and can't be fixed. We will check into something different when your foot is better. Two statements to drive home and don't wander off into a whole conversation on different points. Just drive those home!

Simplicity and routine are your friend!

Love, deb

 
Old 06-08-2012, 08:33 AM   #11
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Liz, if she has moderate stage of Alzheimer's like stage 5, then she will forget lots of things. She would lose her writing and reading ability. She won't even understand the conversations. So you have a chance her to tell her about the false hope. If she asks about the car, just mention that it is being fixed and see if she really remembers how long it has been fixed? If she does not remember the timing, you can keep saying that.
For my FIL, it helped to tell him he would get lost and so he stopped driving. Actually he chose it himself because he never liked to drive anyway (his late wife loved to drive.) But he forgot about that the next year. It is like they would decline every 6 months.

You can try to tell her she is forgetful and if she gets upset, stop it. Be creative and see how she reacts.

Once or twice, my FIL got up overnight asking for something. He thought there was a baby that needs his attention (he was a ER doctor in his home country). It is not dream. She is confused at night so when she woke up she thought she heard of a knock. Well sometimes there are noises everywhere (crickets and the fridg.) She is confused so she thought someone was at the door. If she does get up like that, you may want to sleep near her. e.g., if she sleeps downstairs, someone should sleep downstairs nearby to make sure you catch her. She is wandering at this point. It is not really a delusion. It is confusion and she would wander if she is confused about the noise. My FIL also got upset by CNN news. Once the Virginia killing got him so upset thinking the dead killer will come to kill him so the caregiver had to distract him and took him out to the park.

It may happen in stage 5 or 6 when she starts wandering.

Actually for stage 6/7, it will be more physical issues like stop walking and talking. For stage 5/6, confusion and wandering is not uncommon.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 06-08-2012 at 09:01 AM.

 
Old 06-08-2012, 08:44 AM   #12
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Liz, the other thing is your doctor for Mom said it is early Alzheimers. Well it may really be in moderate stage.
For example, my FIL went for the verbal test in the office for 3 hours. He came out and failed the test so he ended up with early stage of Alzheimer's. But the home care nurse said he was way passed early stage!
What happened was he lied at the test. The tester asked him when he took the showers. Well, he didn't want to wash himself as he forgot how but he felt he would lose face so he lied and told him he took a shower at night. No, this is not confusion, he knew and lied because he has pride. He was still quite alert.
So be aware that the stage may be more advanced. It happens gradually. My FIL first started with not being able to understand the utility bill (he never paid for them because his late wife did all the time.) When he was in the hospital for 2 days, he thought he was in the cafeteria with his "girl" friend. His lady friend tried to date him but turned him down later as he got sicker. It is small things here and there. My FIl could not find his car after he left his lady friend's apt and she got upset for my FIL.
If your Mom does not like to clean herself or has trouble with the water, it is a sign. Once my FIL asked my husband why he had to wash his hands! He began to forget why and how but he could still try to analyze it... The paper he tried to write didn't make sense anymore as my husband pointed it out. He would forget what happened to his will and finances and began to make up stories about what to do with those things. He began to think he could work with my husband (my husband is not even in the same field) but he forced us to deal with this fantasy.

Hope your family will know what to do about Mom soon.

Take care,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 06-08-2012 at 08:52 AM.

 
Old 06-12-2012, 07:42 PM   #13
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Quote:
Originally Posted by baseball View Post
I've been reading things about taking cars away. One thing someone said Is "to be sure it's time". So then I'm second guessing myself, I know it's time. They said it's one of the biggest things you do in this disease. They also said "just tell the person right out they are to forgetful" I disagree with being so honest if it's going to hurt the person and make them feel worst.
Don't second guess yourself, Liz . If it has gotten to the point where it has been thought about for a while and an opportunity was being waited for, then the time is right.

I also disagree with telling them outright they cannot drive. It has been tried on my end, and while it may work once after some heavy explanation, it will come right back up the next day, and a thousand times after that. My uncles car was taken away after a minor accident. 3 doctors by then, including the ER doctor, said he cannot drive. He has been told that, but he laughs it right off.

He insists his car was stolen, and we are kind of playing along with that. It has been 6 months, and it is awkward and uncomfortable as it was the first day. He wants to buy a new car. So I play right along and say we will be, we just have to save up enough money for these extrememly expensive new cars ( I tell him they cost 50-60,000). He seems far more relaxed if we validate his frustration, and give him the carrot to work towards. It works for today and that is all that matters.

Best of luck .

 
Old 06-13-2012, 06:42 AM   #14
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Thank you, All of these posts help a lot. We didn't take it away yet. The one brother didn't call the other brother yet. I was going to say "I'll call him" but then I thought "No, I'm not jumping in and doing something again that someone else was going to do" So today it going to happen. We aren't going to say anything about Mom forgetting or getting lost. She has a bad foot, her car is broke and not worth getting fixed, and we just found out she has cataracts, one in each eye. The doctor said they are not affecting her sight yet. I hoping she didn't catch the doctor saying that. That is what we are saying. Will try to give her hope for driving again.

Thanks I'll update later
Liz

 
Old 06-13-2012, 10:03 AM   #15
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Re: Taking the car away, this weekend!

Again, don't make it a huge family meeting or a big thing. The car is broken and can stay that way. If she brings it up mention the foot and the eyes.... and she needs time to heal before she tries it again. If she bring up the car being fixed tell her it is not worth fixing and a new car will have to wait until you can find a used one in good condition. All three of you need to have your heads together... but don't make it a big deal. Each of you needs to answer her questions as they come up in a similar way. Again not in mass in a family meeting but as they come up. You don't want her to think you are all ganging up on her! You say it has not been done yet but it actually has. She doesn't have the car and you just need to keep it that way by answering her questions as they come up in a way as not to upset her any more than possible

Love, deb

 
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