What about the car? What do I tell her?

cindyg1March 25, 2005

Hello..I'm new to this forum and a relatively new caregiver. Let me give you our history. I'm 46 years old and happily married to a wonderful man for almost 25 years. We have 2 great children, our 20 year old daughter is a college senior, attends a local college and lives at home. Our 18 year old son is away at college and is a freshman.

My Mother has lived with us for the past 12 years and having her with us has been a win win situation for us all. However, she is now early Alzheimers....:-( She is able to care for herself physically and I have her in an adult daycare three days a week and a caregiver who comes in two days a week.

The caregiver has been wonderful..she cleans house, cooks, does grocery shopping etc. A wonderful relief for me (I work) because...believe it or not, I have young onset Parkinson's Disease.

My biggest problem with Mom right now is her car. It is fairly new..a 2004 LeSabre.. I've told her she can't drive and my daughter drives her car. But, she doesn't want to sell it because she is hanging onto the idea that one day she will get off these 'memory pills' and she will be able to drive again. And periodically she threatens to take her car and go... I've spoken with her Dr and she advises me to sell the car. I have POA and can legally do that...but what do I tell her when I sell it?

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As long as you keep the keys safely away from her, and the car is being used by someone, must you sell it? It seems to me that it would be very upsetting to her. As her condition deteriorates, she may not remember even being able to drive a car so I'm thinking that selling it right now might cause her unnecessary angst.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 12:15PM
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If you don't want to sell it, can you park it with a friend for a while? It might be time to get used to lying to her. It's a talent that will come in handy with Alzheimers. If you do sell it, Tell her it's "in the shop, there was an accident and there was a lot of damage" Then, "they had to order parts" In a couple of months, she may have forgotten it. If you can't do that....then, hide the keys.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 1:58PM
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The other thing I'm going to do I think is to send the car back to school with my son. He's home for spring break. I'll have him leave his car for my daughter. I'm pretty sure that she won't drive any other car and her's will be gone for at least awhile.

It's all so hard...my Mother has always been a sweet wonderful lady and I hate some of the things I've had to tell her and make her do (like adult daycare).

She doesn't believe she really has a problem and thinks the family and the Dr has blown all this way out of proportion.........it's so sad.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 2:24PM
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Hi..welcome aboard. It is very sad...seeing them lose capabilities and having to be the one to continually dis-allow things because they cannot remember. It is sad enough when they decide for themselves. Your solution sounds perfect. Elder accidents are often fatal or have dire consequences, so you surely are moving in the right direction. It is a tremendous sacrifice, for her, nonetheless. Good that she has such a good home!. Derry

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 4:24PM
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I don't think selling the car is necessary. Just make sure they keys are taken away from her! I think telling her the car was in an accident would be a mistake; I understand "lying", but telling one that could really upset her unnecessarily seems unfair.

I also think sending the car to school with your son sounds like a pretty good idea. Mum gave up the desire to drive shortly after she moved in with us. She was terribly ill, and really didn't care much about going out. After she recovered a bit, she simply decided she was really getting too old to drive safely, especially in a "new" area. Whew!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 4:29PM
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Wow everyone...thanks for all your input..it's nice to find a group of people who have been there. I had a really difficult time with the lying to her, it's just not my nature. So much so that all my symptoms were aggravated and I ended up on medical leave myself last year. But, I've gotten used to doing what I think is right and telling her what I need to tell her to keep the entire house hold running as smoothly as possible with a "parkie" and an Alzheimers patient.

I'll send the car back to school with my son and at least not have to deal with this one until end of May.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 5:43PM
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Hello, Cindy! Just dropping a note to say that many of us, me included, have been or are in your situation. We care for my 91-year old Mother in our home, and telling 'little white lies' really does come with the territory. I've found that agreeing with her ideas, etc, is less tedious for her and certainly for me. Don't try to correct her, it'll just make her more anxious. My Mom has been seeing people in her room, hearing choirs outside and I said that was lovely...to fall asleep with music...;-)

Selling the car or saying it was in an accident may also be upsetting to her; exchanging it with your son's is brilliant. She'll soon forget all about it; if not, say your son needed it 'for a while'.

You're in for an interesting time...Blessings,...Linda

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 12:40PM
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Yes, teling *fibs* to your Mother really does go against what you've learned all your life. I had so much trouble with feeling bad, that I went to one of Mother's neighbors, a retured nun/school principal, and unburdened myself. Now isn't that a great turn around... remember how we all quaked at the thought of being sent to the principal's office? And to be discussing lying, no less!

Anyway, Sister made me feel a lot better, and we agreed that anything that would get my Mother upset (as many things do) was not in her best interests.

I felt like I had had a dispensation.

So, you may want to run this by someone you are comfortable with having some 'moral authority'. I am not trying to get religious here, because I certainly am not a observant person. But if you can talk to someone who knows you and knows your mother, a minister or doctor, and they will tell you that it's ok. You are doing the right thing.

But it's that curious netherworld that we inhabit when dealing with our aged parents. We can recall all the lessons of our childhood, and we have respect and love for our parents, but here we are treating them like they are 3 or 4 yr old children.

No one said this was easy.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 1:38PM
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Welcome to the forum Cindy!

The driving issue is huge for Alzheimer's patients, especially for men it seems. It is like taking their independence away from them. But it MUST be done! For their safety and the safety of others.

I belong to an AD support group and this issues comes up all the time. Not to betray any of their confidences, but one gentlemen was severly injured in a one car accident.

Some people have taken one set of keys and had them shaved down so the car doesn't start for the AD patient. Some people pull the coil wire.
Believe me there are all kinds of covert ways to keep them from driving or trying to get them off a topic or issue they become fixated on. Yes, it's a lot of work and tiring, but You must look at it protecting them, not exactly lying--just not telling the whole truth.

Best Wishes, katclaws

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 4:08PM
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Hi, Cindy. Sending the car with your son for now, no lie will have to be done. He needed transportation and her's is provided. The doctors say my mother has "oldheimers". Her long term memory is excellent but short term is a whole different world.
Momma did not want to sell her car but she didn't want to drive. We left the car there and it sits in the drive. It wouldn't start if she wanted to drive. It made her happy and we were so relieved. The Lord only knows where she might have ended up at.
Katclaws is absolutely right. You are protecting her. It's turn-a-round time. Just as she cared for you, you are caring for her. Perhaps this is not the way she planned or wanted it but LOVE comes in so many forms.
Take care and if something always makes you smile when you see it or remember it or hear it, keep it handy. It is very hard to see the person you have known all these years seemingly gone. Not really, close your eyes and let the memories flow.
Lynn in Alabama

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 8:57PM
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Hi Everyone.. My son drove the car back to school yesterday. Before he left though he told me that driving around campus with the windows down and his music blaring would just not be the same in a Buick LaSabre.... :-)!!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 7:18AM
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Cindy, Welcome...as you can see many of us have gone or going thur much of the same with this journey of ours. We had to take Moms keys away....just broke our hearts....she loved her car and to be independent....but....this was the beginning of her alz....she took a trip to the Dollar Store...well....Dad was starting to go look for her...gone for 2 hours....she had taken a trip out into the country and got lost....soon after that we decided and told her that I needed to drive the car to work...she never did like Dad's truck so the problem was solved....that was 6 or 7 years ago....I still use her keys and at times when I pull them out and see her keg chain...it makes me sad. Again...welcome....we are here to listen....as someone said.....this is not easy....but a journey we are taking...it is a blessing to come here and talk....God Bless, Nora

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 7:34AM
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