Parents caring for the parent support thread (Part 2)

Can you check the car and see if something is “wrong” with it, that’s can’t be fixed? I know of adult children who have done things like that with their parents cars. Or is he savvy enough to realize the battery is disconnected etc?


The siblings present to do that do not think there’s any reason to be worried about him driving. I’m hoping Dad will try it once, decide it’s a bad idea, and stop – which leaves my mom doing it, which isn’t much better but at least she can see and hear.

@greenbutton I do understand. I find that with my in laws my husband and his brother have ideas of independence that I don’t share. It’s a little easier for me because they aren’t my parents. But my mil calls me with concerns that the “boys” don’t want to hear. :woman_shrugging:

Look up the state information on drivers/seniors - and if they have a way for review of driver ability. My mother’s state (WI) had a way to file complaints (could do it anonymously with a notary). Mom forfeited her license (long story) and took behind the wheel lessons from an off duty cop. Local agency was going to allow her to take a behind the wheel test until sister called agency (higher up in the state office) and someone reviewed the file. They did not allow mom to take a behind the wheel test, and her attorney got a letter from the state finalizing things (letter essentially saying she will never be allowed to obtain a driver’s license again) - mom had progressing dementia.

If you know where your dad wants to do the volunteer driving - call them directly. Maybe he just wants to volunteer and drive himself there.

Since local sibling is going along (my local brother did too - including getting mom a car after moms was wrecked) - the rest of us had to stir things up.

In the mean time, make sure your parents have an umbrella policy (my dad had it in place for years, and mom continued the insurance policies that were in place after she was widowed). Insurance policy paid out big time before they canceled her policy (no renewal).

MIL drove in her small town (age as later 80’s), but was having trouble with some vision and her hearing. She was nicking the side of the garage entry and once that was pointed out with her being ‘unsafe’ she forfeited driving.

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I thought the same way about my dad at one point and was a bit frantic but my sister (local) totally disagreed with me. She actually would ride with him as driver and I finally did see when I was in person that I was over reacting in some ways. He really wasn’t as bad as I feared. Later on as he deteriorated we got on the same page and he quit driving. YMMV.

Our state requires the doctor to ask to have the license reviewed (no automatic review based on age) and doing so pulls the license until a review is done. I cannot imagine the fallout if I initiated it against everyone else’s opinion.

They live in a tiny town, so I understand she has no choice but to drive. She is scared to drive anywhere new, and does let local/preferred sibs drive them to doctor appointments outside the area. Dad would be driving back and forth to his volunteer site (he is the CEO). They haven’t driven after dark except in emergencies in a decade.

No real solution , just angst. How is everyone else doing?

My mom would not accept limitations and that lead to a serious accident. You may have missed that mom voluntarily forfeited her license (DA threatened serious charges).

Once the lawyer told her no way to get license back, she took a taxi to the grocery store and wherever else she wanted to go if brother wasn’t available. The taxi company treated her like a queen, and she tipped well; had a routine and repeat driver. Her town is 10,000 people. Surely there is a local service (unless really tiny town). Once it was said and done, she ‘moved on’.

My mom’s doctor point blank told her she could kill someone if she kept driving. He even went a step further and said the person could be a child or her own grandchild to drive home his point. Thankfully she turned to me and dropped her keys in my hand. We sold the car the next day. We made it a point to make sure that we used caregivers who could drive her around and I took her with me whenever I could so she could be out of the house and have some independence.

That is not an easy transition!


My aunt had a restricted license that basically let her drive on some back roads with limited distance. Worked great. It let her get to the local grocery and church (very familiar routes) but not for highway or long distance driving. Kept her active a long time. Just depends on where you live.

My mother thought she was a good driver, I knew she was not. She agreed to have a neutral expert assess her. There are many programs. Ours was at a local hospital, and done by occupational therapists.

Perhaps you could take this approach ("I am worried about Dad’s driving. I know you think it’s fine. How about if he gets assessed? If he’s fine, I will stop fussing ")

Another thought: as much as it will be difficult if you insist, imagine how you will feel if someone is killed – and you knew he shouldn’t be driving ahead of time. There’s a woman on the FB group I mentioned earlier who posts anytime someone asks about their parent driving. She always urges them to take the keys: her husband and 8 year old son were killed by an elderly driver.

My town’s population is 3,000, spread out over 40 square miles. So very rural with zero public transportation. There is a book ahead car service, and I’ve hired 2 companions who come for several hours 5 days a week that drive my mom wherever she wants to go. It can be figured out.

Btw, i also am the anger magnet. Great term!

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I have strenuously objected to my Mom driving, and cited the whole gonna maim or kill some minivan of kids. I have objected to Dad driving the same way…but I am not there to drive them. Local sibling somehow just is MIA. Preferred sibling does what he can.

I have considered asking their pcp for his opinion, but everyone thinks I am overreacting. They do in fact live in a place where there is no taxi, no driver service. I had to fight tooth and nail to get my siblings to arrange to have someone snowplow
, and we had a terrible time finding someone to do it. Life in rural america, when you are elderly, is full of obstacles.

Sorry for this huge dilemma and the stress that inevitably accompanies it. Your role in the family seems to make it extra challenging. Lots of good advice here.

I am wondering if either the local Council on Aging or a nearby elder care facility could be of help in identifying how local, non-driving seniors get around. My parents’ AL director had a list (including some AL staff members) of known people who would drive seniors to medical appointments, shopping, etc for a fee. Perhaps you’d luck out and get a helpful person on the phone. Clergy may also know who has been helpful to their congregation in this way.

I feel for you; while there is a certain amount of ambiguity inherent in tending our seniors, yet the driving safety issue always seemed more clearcut due to the potential dangers. At the same time, it tweaks a lot of sensitive points for family members; becoming an ‘ostrich’ tempts many who can’t face the diminishing capabilities and/or the need to tweak the arrangements. I hope there are alternatives that could bring peace of mind. These transitions were some of the most difficult. All my best to you.


My mother put herself on her own restricted license. My sibs would have liked for her to stop driving entirely sooner than she did, but I didn’t push it. Why? Because then I would have had to become her chauffeur, because she simply refused to use the senior ride van, taxi, etc.

My next-door neighbor shouldn’t be living alone AND shouldn’t be driving. She is over 90 with mobility and other medical issues. Her children live hours away. Last year she had an accident where she ran into the house across the street and caused significant damage. We thought for sure that would be the end of her driving, but she eventually had her vehicle repaired and she’s driving again! After the accident, she said that she’d JUST gotten her license renewed. I imagine that her kids can’t do anything about her living situation because she’s so stubborn, and are just waiting for a crisis. At least she does go live with one or another of them often for several months at a time. She is with one of them now.

Hopefully, the visit is providing an opportunity for the family to re-assess things post-accident and develop arrangements that meet your neighbor’s needs while reducing risk to others. They have already had at least one crisis.

Lots of us face this complex equation with seniors and trouble driving safely; in many ways it is fueled by inadequate options. Until this is better addressed systemically, the buck has to stop somewhere when it is life and death. It can be a problem no one wants to own, including some professionals.

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We’d hoped that, too, but she’s been back and forth several times from visits with one or another of her children. We were stunned when her car appeared one day, ready to drive. It took quite a while to get fixed. We figured it was gone for good.

At least when she’s gone on the extended visits, she isn’t driving. But when she’s back here alone, she’s back driving. She’s done things over the years to alienate most of the neighbors, so other than one neighbor putting out and taking in her trash and recycling cans each week, no one does anything for her. (And that’s the neighbor whose house she crashed into.) She’s had helpers come in for a few hours a day, but she seems to have run them off. I don’t know what happens in the mornings, but when I get home from work, I used to see a car in her driveway and I don’t anymore.

Since presumably she’s mentally competent, I’m sure she’s refused the pleas of her children to stop living in an unsafe manner. it’s a 2-story house, with only a 1/2 bath downstairs. So, like so often happens with elders like this, her children have to wait for a crisis to force a change in her living situation.

Today I discovered that my dad’s partner, the one who’s essentially broken up with him and needs him gone for her mental health, was diagnosed yesterday with Covid. She’d been home sick for a week and never thought to check. She was on antibiotics for a UTI and figured she was just sick from that. No masks, shedding virus, for a week at close quarters with dad.

So we are 3 weeks away from takeoff & him moving here. This could make things much more complicated. I talked him through taking a rapid test, which came back negative, but I think I’ll try to talk him into getting a PCR test on Monday. I don’t know how this could affect his next infusion, on September 30, if at all.

@compmom sending energy to you and others in your situation. It is very hard.
@Gatormama , It is really maddening to have that extra worry, like you don’t have enough to do.

I haven’t posted for a long time (I am back in the top of the thread somewhere with my mom’s issues; she died five years ago. I am STILL getting email requests from her estate). I didn’t have much new to add, other than worry about my lovely lovely dad who was living with my brother’s family. My SIL wanted him OUT for valid reasons and he never wanted to feel like a burden or a bother so he went without protest to a pretty good assisted living place. I was mad though at my brother and his family, for example my niece stopped by her old home every Sat with her 3 kids . Dad got to watch them grow once a week from infants to going to school. Once Dad moved she stopped to see him in the AL two or three times ( in 10 months, the time he lasted in AL) and she drove by the AL place three times a week on the way to school. The niece that lives farther ways stopped more often. I also didn’t visit much, but I ramped up calling from twice a week to every day. Just a little chat. People called him and once we changed phones from the small flip phone (that was supposed to be voice activated, but never worked for him) to a regular land line) he called people, too. Anyway, he got sick, I went to see him and called in hospice. My brother/family was off camping. My Dad was up and dressed and wearing his father’s day shirt for me on Wednesday. He was gone on Monday. I still am collecting things to tell him on the phone and then have that “missed a step” drop when I realize I can’t.
I know bro and SIL and all their family did the best they could; as did I for my mom who I would not have accepted into my house. I would have had Dad, but my husband is difficult about my family. (That is a different topic). My niece thinks I came and killed my dad with hospice instead of hospital . The thing is that Dad had a horror of hospitals and dying in one. This was the way he would want to have gone, quick and peacefully. I know I did the right thing, even though I expected hospice to just be more help in getting his strength back (Mom was on hospice for almost 18 months, she kept having a UTI about every 3 months when they did the evaluation, or maybe she always had it and they caught it during a better evaluation, so she “passed” for staying on. They were a big help.)
Do I have a little problem with my brother and SIL not finishing caring for him; yes. Do I have a problem with my husband not allowing me to care for him; yes. Do I think brother and SIL did a reasonable thing; mostly yes…Dad was sick for 2 weeks and brother didn’t stop since he was working out of town and he had to ask SIL to take Dad to the Dr. I think that was a little late. But RATIONALLY, I know they did a good job for 8 years. Dad was mentally still there and really no trouble, except he couldn’t see much. I have the same feelings that I was a little late in getting there to see Dad. I went to a friend’s 70th birthday instead of seeing Dad (400 miles away for the both of them, but not in the same direction. And AHA airlines cancelled my flight to see Dad). RATIONALLY, I know that made sense, but I guess it adds an extra layer of what-if sadness to the whole thing.
The thing is, having done the best we could with Mom (very difficult woman with lots of problems to untangle) and still grieving her; I know that we just wait for the waves of grief/blame/what-ifs to roll over and cling to the life raft of love that is really truly their best legacy. Difficult like Mom or super good like Dad; both of them left people loving them and knowing that we were loved lots.
Anyway, guess my point is (sorry about the aside and rambling!!) when you are doing it, if you think you are doing the best you can for the circumstances, THEN THAT IS GREAT. That is all you can do and probably more than you have to do. You don’t have to be perfect. And you have to let it go if you feel you weren’t perfect because you were doing the best you could.


Big hugs to you!

Yes, everyone does the best they can with the circumstances they are given. It won’t ever be perfect and that’s OK.


I know that part of the reason I get so upset with my H’s sister & BIL pushing him out of any role in helping his mom is because I was unable to do more for my own parents before they passed. I was still raising my kids, and they lived a plane trip + long drive away. My brothers and I did the best we could, and while I have no regrets, I learned things along the way. Now that H & I are retired, we could do more for his mom. The fact that we don’t get to do more really bothers me. H says that if his S wants to play martyr, let her. I look at it from a different point of view, which focuses on what my H could gain in terms of his relationship with his mom if he could be allowed into her life a bit more. But it’s his journey, and he has to learn his own lessons. Life is all about our growth from the lessons we learn, I suppose.

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My mother is causing a lot of problems for staff with emergency button and phone calls. She made a record setting 29 calls in 90 minutes to me on Sat.

I called pharmacy and hospice both Sat. and Sub. to decline the new 2pm (3rd dose) of gabapentin because it was too “activating” (hospice nurse’s words).

I have an invoked proxy and speak for her, make all decisions medically, sign for her etc. I was careful and checked and double checked with pharmacist and hospice triage nurse on both days.

The nursing director at the AL just ambushed me and told me I could not decline meds, that I had to have the doc cance. Well, it was a weekend, and I made the appropriate calls. I was under the impression the hospice nurse practitioner prescribed, not the PCP.

I am oddly upset. The nursing director made it clear that conversations had occurred between AL nurse, her and the executive director and she is going to ask “legal.” The ambush was sudden and unexpected. (I asked for a little kindness in my email!)

They are required to call me before any PRN meds and I mostly decline. For schedule meds, the pharmacy lets me decline or put on hold.

The AL has the paperwork with PCP invoking the proxy due to dementia. Anyone know more about this issue?