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Convincing My 85 year-old Mom To Stop Driving


Kelly and her brother have talked to mom about her diminished driving skills but she refuses to listen even after two fender-benders.

Download a transcript of this Mary Maxwell video (PDF)

Driving with diminished eye-sight and reflexes can be a tough subject to discuss. To find out what to look for visit Talking to dad about driving.

Talking to mom about driving

Mary Maxwell, Posted May 3, 2013

Mary from Norman, OK asks "My mom has had two fender benders in the last couple of months. She claims they weren’t her fault, but once, she backed into a pole, so it’s hard to argue that the pole was out to get her. My brother and I have suggested that she hang up the car keys. She absolutely refuses. We’ve explained that at 85 years old, her reflexes and eyesight just aren’t what they need to be to safely drive. We are happy to take her wherever she wants to go. She insists she will keep driving until the state will no longer give her a license. I am terrified that she will hurt someone or herself. How can we convince her to stay off the road?”

First off, kelly, don’t be too sure that the pole wasn’t out to get her….especially if it was in a parking lot and it was so short she couldn’t see it in the rear view mirror. I’m here to tell you getting that white paint off a red car is really hard. It’s also hard to know what to say without knowing the circumstances of the other fender bender. Did she drive up the curb onto the sidewalk and hit the grocery store? Did she get going the wrong way on a one way street and glance off a telephone pole when she made that abrupt u-turn? It does seem like 85 is a good time to either hide mom’s keys or hide the car. I just hope the expiration date on her driver’s license is coming up soon.

Visit to discover more wit and wisdom from Mary Maxwell, as well as expert advice from Dr. Amy D'Aprix and other videos, articles, and resources for family caregivers.

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