Caring for the Elderly: When Mom or Dad aren’t Mom or Dad Anymore

Hello everyone:

One of the hardest decisions caregivers have to make is deciding when to take away the car keys. One of my friends had a mother who suffered from dementia. Initially, she still seemed to get around pretty well, but then the day came when she didn’t.

She went to the grocery store one afternoon. The weather was nice; it was the middle of the afternoon, so nothing could go wrong, right? A young woman started to cross the parking lot in front of the older woman, assuming that she would stop. It didn’t happen because the elderly gal pushed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake. The young woman was killed. The older woman finally gave up her keys…….a bit too late for the other gal.

One of my friends from the mall is going through this same situation, except she is the demented one. She knows her memory is bad. She knows that her condition is getting worse, yet she still insists  on coming over to visit with the other mall walkers. About a year ago, her family decided that she could no longer live alone and they took away her car keys. She found them and sneaks out of the house when no one else is home. Some day, she may kill someone with her car.

What are your thoughts on this? How have you handled this type of situation with your loved ones?

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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