It is Time to Take the Car Keys from Your Elder Loved One

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  • March 14, 2016


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What if Mom or Dad won’t give up the car keys?

Has your elderly loved one had a fender bender or worse as their first car wreck ever? Has your parent gotten lost in previously familiar neighborhoods? Has it repeatedly been difficult for Mom to find her car in the parking lot?

Consider the following people, agents and tips to assist with this challenging situation:

* First try talking to your elder loved one and hope they will voluntarily give the keys up themselves. Let them know you are concerned about them, their safety and the safety of others.

* Then make an attempt to take the keys away from them which may of course cause conflict. There have indeed been cases where the caregiver is investigated by police for stealing a car as reported by their elder.

* The physician: Often your loved one will accept the recommendations of the long-term physician.  M.D’s are encouraged to talk with patients about their medical conditions and medications and how their driving can be effected. Some doctors may even accept the cars keys on the spot and return them to the right family member. Doctors may also write a letter to be presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. This includes optometrists and ophthalmologists.

* Through the Department of Motor Vehicles or the police, a case may be made and a recommendation given for an inspector to re-examine a driver with a written and/or driving test. At the least there will then be a file indicating there had been a previous concern. This file can build the case for cancelling a driver’s license.  Remember, every state has its own standards.

* The family attorney: Make use of consultation with a trusted family attorney  to discuss the risks to the family estate if an accident occurs. The risks may be great to the estate and an inheritance to younger family members if the victim or victims family creates a lawsuit. The attorney may also agree to meet with you and your parent(s) to present reasons for giving up the car keys as an important step.

In the end your preparation, research and face-to-face family conversations come first before enlisting the experts and the DMV.

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