This Is Just. So. Hard.

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This Is Just. So. Hard.

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I was watching some Teepa Snow videos - thanks for the recommendation! - and others on youtube about dementia and driving. I liked Teepa Snow a lot, but after watching the clip, I just felt like I'd gotten it all wrong. Protect your relationship with the person, she said. But who else is there to be the "bad guy"? I don't want Mom to stop trusting her doctor. I don't want her to turn against my husband.

The sad thing is she really wasn't driving. She just had the option to drive. She acknowledged that she never minded handing me the keys when we went somewhere, but now that I've taken them, she cares and she wants them back. Maybe it wasn't necessary. Maybe the impulse to drive was already gone and I brought it back by taking the keys.

I don't doubt my judgement that she shouldn't drive, but I'm not sure I needed to take the keys to prevent it. So should I give them back and try to get us back to that happier place we were a week ago where I was doing all the driving in reality but she still had the freedom in her mind? And then introduce some creative barrier a little later on once the issue has died down? Or if I give back the keys now, would she just immediately feel a need to use them?

The thought of giving back the keys and removing this conflict from my life -- our life -- fills me with relief. But is it too big a risk? I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. The temptation is very strong.

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CatKBorn

I understand and feel for you. This is so hard! Driving is a source of independence for us, it is a symbol. \r\n\r\nMy mom stopped driving voluntarily in October after she fell and hurt too much to drive, so she stopped and hasn't even considered it since. She still has her keys but the car hasn't been started since October so dead battery. That thing is going nowhere. She got lost in the grocery store the other day and that scared her pretty good. \r\n\r\nWe've talked about donating her car to the local high school's auto program (there's so much wrong with it the kids could work on it for years) but she thinks she can take it back to the dealership and they will buy it. So that's our battle.\r\n\r\nI haven't tried to take her keys but that is next. Remember as the others have said the love you two have. The car is a symbol of her independence - something she knows she is losing a bit more of every day - but it is also a very dangerous thing if handled improperly. You could always sneak out and disconnect the battery or pull a spark plug or something so it would not start if she tried. \r\n\r\nHang in there!

Goldie

We went through this argument regarding my mom. My brothers kept insisting she wouldn't drive anyway, so what did it matter? As Denise said, if she forgets she can't drive and tries to drive, that's a huge risk. \r\n\r\nIt sounds like you're finding all sorts of ways to try and keep things positive with your mom. Maybe, since she's bound to have some anger with her dementia and all the changes in her life, maybe this can be the issue she can let loose on and yell a bit. \r\n\r\nMy dad and younger brother tiptoe around mom all the time. They have done this forever. So, whatever Mom wants, Mom got. They are still tiptoeing around her. At least she knows I won't! She even thanked me once for telling her the truth, even though she didn't want to hear it. This was, of course, in a moment of clear(er) thinking; she was just as angry with me a few hours later, but it helped to hear it.

Jean

This may be a horrible idea... Since she really hasn't been driving, what if you gave her similar looking keys... swap them out with ones that don't work... of course she might want to drive as soon as you gave them to her... gosh... don't know, this just popped into my head...

Denise

Your mom loves you, LM. The rough patch doesn't change the love. \r\n\r\nKeep moving forward. You're ensuring your mom remains safe. Maybe she'll never use the car keys if you give them back. And, maybe, as the disease progresses, she forgets she can't drive and tries to drive if she has the keys. No matter how small the risk, in my mind it's a risk you can't take. You were upfront with her and honest with her. That is huge. You love her so much you told her the truth. \r\n\r\nIt's hard today. And, you can keep moving forward. Your mom loves you. You love your mom. You haven't changed the love. You've just shown how much you love your mom by doing what's so hard, and so important, to do.