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Ma's driving

(54 Posts)
Lisalou Sun 10-Jun-18 18:33:12

Dear Gns,

I could use your help. My mother is now in her early eighties and still living independently, she is in good health overall, with the odd ache and pain, but capable of doing pretty much everything for herself. My only problem is her driving - she used to be a good driver and, to my knowledge, no accidents; I went for a drive with her recently and was terrified. She is hesitant, drives far too slowly and she tends to hug the shoulder. She says she will probably give up driving when she is around 85 unless the car (very old) gives out first.
I dont know how to tell her that her driving is appalling, I suspect her eyesight (which she tells me is perfect, and is clearly not) should take some of the blame, but whatever the reason, she should no longer be driving. I wouldn't hurt her feelings for the world, but I would like her to be around for a good bit longer. I am afraid she will have an accident and get herself and/or others killed.

I could tell her, or I could "kill" the car (I use it quite regularly)

How would you wise ladies deal with this?

pensionpat Sun 10-Jun-18 18:50:04

Kill that car! Asap!

Marmight Sun 10-Jun-18 19:06:32

Just tell her! Have a gentle discussion. Explain that taking a taxi even 5 times a week is far less expensive than running a car. We did this with my Aunt, at the age of 95 shock, and she agreed and, what's more, handed the keys + car to one of my daughters. Win win situation!

BlueBelle Sun 10-Jun-18 19:08:30

I think you need to weigh up how you could live with yourself if she was to have an accident ( which sounds likely) and may be kill or harm a child or a family
I think there should be just as strict rules in later life driving as in young life driving and I also think like 17 is the start age there should be a cut off age I know a man with dementia still driving and an elderly lady who is extremely unwell she has one kidney a very very bad heart, blood clots and can barely manage to get around the house My friend who is 81 very wisely gave herself a cut off of 75 she didn’t feel she was as sharp as she used to be and with free bus passes didnt want to take any chances

Cherrytree59 Sun 10-Jun-18 19:12:15

Tell her before there is an accident!
I would
make sure the
car conks out!

Luckygirl Sun 10-Jun-18 19:44:48

We had to tell my Dad this and it was difficult, but he was a reasonable man and took it on the chin. Ironically the "wheelie" that he did on the mobility scooter with which he replaced his car ultimately led to his death. He finished up with a fractured pelvis with the scooter on top of him; then fell and fractured his femur in hospital.....and so it continued to its ultimate conclusion.

sodapop Sun 10-Jun-18 19:48:06

I think you need to be honest with her, neither of you would forgive yourselves if someone else was hurt due to your Mum' deteriorating sight.

cornergran Sun 10-Jun-18 19:57:05

Best to be honest if you can, but kindly. If that doesn’t seem possible then yes, ‘kill’ the car. Not a situation any driver relishes but the day comes.

Jalima1108 Sun 10-Jun-18 19:58:56

You have to have 'that difficult conversation' with your DM.

Sadly, two of my relatives have had to give up driving recently, one on the advice of the GP, the other because she knew she was too nervous of the busier road conditions to carry on driving.
Both miss their cars and the freedom they gave, but both know it was the right decision.

Grandma70s Sun 10-Jun-18 20:40:39

We had to have that difficult conversation with my father when he was 80-something. He had driven all his adult life, so it wasn’t easy for him to lose his independence like that. When he started driving in the 1930s there was hardly any traffic. He was quite a good driver, but as he got older he was too slow and tended to drive in the middle of the road.

Luckily he did realise we were right.

Luckygirl Sun 10-Jun-18 20:53:36

I had the difficult conversation when Dad drove up to see us (about 120 miles) and said something (in a puzzled voice) about everyone hooting at him on a particularly complex motorway junction; and during that stay he mistook a driveway for a bend in the road, drove up it, realised his mistake, and swerved into a wall!!!!

LynneB59 Sun 10-Jun-18 21:02:10

Tell her about your concerns. Make an eye test appointment ASAP, and in the meantime, take her keys!

As a carer of over 20 years, I've seen this all too often. One man I knew couldn't walk - his wife used to WHEEL him from their house to the car, then she helped him out of his wheelchair and into the driving seat, put the wheelchair in the boot, and off they went.... at 15 mph. He was a danger to himself and everyone else - until I told the son (he was unaware of it happening) and he sold the car.

Deedaa Sun 10-Jun-18 21:18:14

One of my neighbours was in his eighties when his doctor told him to stop driving (he was very slow) He started using his bicycle instead and a few months later he was killed in a road accident. It was very sad but at least no one else was injured.

Belgravian Sun 10-Jun-18 21:22:38

Belgravian Sun 10-Jun-18 21:23:17

Good article here

Cold Sun 10-Jun-18 23:30:15

Such a difficult problem. We were relieved when my mother had to go into hospital and my brother "looked after" the car keys and then kept them locked up forgot to bring them back.

I remember that TV programme where older people went out for a driving session with a qualified driving instructor who gave them an honest assessment at the end regarding whether they should still be driving - would that be possible for your mother? Would she take it better from a professional rather than family?

NfkDumpling Mon 11-Jun-18 07:14:48

Tell her!

The downside is helping her over the loss of freedom she’ll have not being able to drive. Hopefully she can still gets to where she wants without a car.

OldMeg Mon 11-Jun-18 07:28:47

Anyone can tell the DVLA if they think someone is not fit to drive – regardless of the driver's age. The DVLA will then ask its Drivers Medical Group to carry out an investigation, contacting the driver's GP if necessary. Unlike visits to the optician, if you ignore its letter you will have your licence revoked immediately for non-compliance.

If you’re concerned I would contact the DVLA about your mother and let them take it from there

Lisalou Mon 11-Jun-18 07:42:43

Thank you all for your kind advice. It helps me greatly to see that I am not the first person to encounter this problem. I will have to sit down with her and talk about it. As it happens, I do want to contact her GP to get her to have an eye test - I have this feeling she cannot see as well as she should and that she might be aware of this. She is fiercely independent and I suspect she is worried about losing her independence.
Fortunately, she lives a 10 minute walk from our house, and either my husband or I are happy to drive her wherever she wants to go, the only thing is, she will have to adapt to when we can do it, as we both work. She will lose the ability to leap (or totter) into the car whenever she wants, but it is a small price to pay.

NfkDumpling Mon 11-Jun-18 07:54:14

Its not that she won’t be able to get out, its that she won’t be able to get out when she wants. Even though this may not be very often. She will feel trapped and the loss of independence will hit hard. Would she be averse to using taxis?

PamelaJ1 Mon 11-Jun-18 08:33:58

I have found that, although people say they will be happy taking taxis inevitably they aren’t.
Where I live it’s only £5 to the town one way but in some of the villages round here it could be £15. £30 on top of their weekly shop is too much for them.
They do it once and then become experts in how to manipulate friends and relatives into running them all over the place.

Auntieflo Mon 11-Jun-18 08:56:50

Lisalou, has your mum got a Keep Mobile service nearby, that she could use?

Lisalou Mon 11-Jun-18 09:14:24

Unfortunately we live abroad, and no, no such service exists. As for taxis, yes, she might use one if she had to, but I suspect she would rather wait for one of us to be available. I am worried about her losing her freedom to do things when she wants, rather than when I can help. I am also really worried about upsetting her. She is such a lovely confident and active woman
and I don't want to knock that confidence sideways, if you see what I mean.

Pittcity Mon 11-Jun-18 09:26:32

I have never driven and worked out the cost of using taxis for all my normal journeys vs. buying, insuring, maintaining, fuelling a car and I was surprised how much cheaper it was. I walk or use buses/trains too. Grocery and other delivery services are a boon.

PamelaJ1 Mon 11-Jun-18 09:34:14

Pittcity you are so right but it sounds as though you live near civilisation?