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How can I help my mom with her anxiety when riding in a car?

It doesn't matter who is driving or what type of car, she is sure that we are going to get in an accident. By the time we get where we are going she is a nervous wreck.
Status: Open    Apr 01, 2015 - 12:28 PM


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Apr 12, 2016 - 01:16 PM

I absolutely HAD to respond this one. I happen to have the "EXACT" same issue with my 80 year old mom. I take my mom to most of her errands and medical appointments and It seems there is nothing I can do short of BLINDFOLDING her to get her to calm down! And I have actually asked her if I could blindfold her and she wanted no part of that. lol. But it seems that no matter how safe I drive, and no matter how slow I go, she is holding on to everything she can in the car as if I am going 90 miles per hour down side streets and making every turn on two wheels.

I find that all I can do is allow her to hold on to whatever she wants and I simply try to calm her and constantly talking to her telling her everything is alright, and everything is fine. It seems to be a part of growing old. My mom still drives and seems to do fine when she drives herself, but for some reason, as her son, in her eyes I have turned into a suicidal maniac on the road and I can seem to do nothing to calm her.

So to answer your questions, just drive extra slow, I think if she felt she was going slow enough, that even if you did hit something, no damage would be done to anyone. It's also a good idea to engage her in conversation. Do whatever you can to take her focus off the road and off your driving. Lure her into a discussion about anything that she is passionate about or has strong opinions about. That helps a lot....keep her talking and not "observing".

But I can tell you that I am getting very close to a prerequisite for getting into my car will be to put on a blindfold. (LOL).

Wishing you the best!

Darryl Duncan
-Aria Musicholistics
"Next Level Memory Care"
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By blsolomo on Dec 24, 2016 - 07:27 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

I am one of those mothers who gets truly nervous no matter who drives. My children are great drivers but it's just something inside that makes me nervous. Maybe it's the lack of control but it certainly isn't because they are careless. You're a good son And it's nice to see all the patience you have for your mom.

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Apr 13, 2016 - 06:36 AM

A few practical steps helped. In one case we just had a good non-judgemental discussion about my mothers feelings. I asked her what she thought would make her feel better?
1.Change in the music in the car to a jazz cd she related to that and focused on the music. 2. We started taking shorter trips and she adapted to that for a while. 3. Riding in the back seat with my daughter! (my favorite) They played find the first blue or red car and always asked for a treat if they were good.

Every situation isn't settled this eaisly but stepping out and having that discusssion can be beneficial and identify if there is a more advanced issue that can be addressed with her doctor.



Sep 02, 2015 - 09:12 PM

I can imagine this is unnerving for everyone who is in the car or at the destination. I might guess your mother was often the one coordinating or in charge and perhaps being the 'passenger' is quite hard for her, feeling out of control. That being said it may be a good idea to talk to her doctor about your concerns for her own well being. Do you take long trips? Maybe the physician can offer a medicine solution to help her and everyone else relax so that she can better enjoy herself at the destination. If your trips are short and local, be honest, explain to her that it's very hard to be the one behind the wheel when she is no anxious and that it might be better for everyone if you sought out alternate transportation arrangements, maybe a local senior bus service? I hope some of this helps come up with the creative solution that works for everyone.

Jan 07, 2017 - 06:44 AM

My mom was always the driver and now insists on the front passenger seat with me as her driver. I let her tell me to slow for stops and which way to turn when she needs to be in control which takes her mind off the bigger issue of going out in public and to the doctor. She also watches for police cars that may be in her rearview mirror! (She has parkinsons and doesn't like people to see her... vanity?)
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