When Should a Senior Driver Stop Driving?

How long can a senior driver safely operate an automobile? Who decides when it is time to stop driving?

Dealing with senor driving issues are challenging and difficult for families to deal with as their loved ones are aging. As older adults start to have problems with their physical and cognitive wellbeing, we have to realize that there may come a day when the safety risks drivers pose to themselves as well as others must be addressed.  Discussions have to be had about the concerns and dangers on the roads. Difficult decisions have to be made. When there is resistance from your senior loved one, there may be the need to involve the primary care physician. The physician is often trusted by the senior and may listen better to them than their own family member. When no resolution has been made and the senior continues to drive, family members have resorted to hiding mail from the Department of Motor Vehicle,  disabling the car and even hiding the car keys.

When researchers calculate crash rates per miles driven, senior drivers, especially those over 75 years old, have accident rates approaching those of teenagers. Poor vision, hearing, poor reaction time and difficulty with concentration attribute to these crashes. Dementia drivers are regarded as the most dangerous drivers on the road.

Driving Safety:

Cars and some traffic rules have changed and most of us have not taken a refresher course since we got our initial license. Taking a driving course can help one refresh one’s driving skills. These safety driving courses can accommodate age related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time. They can also evaluate whether someone should be driving at all.  AARP has these “Driving Safety Courses” in a classroom setting and online. Questions can be answered about the classes, information on places and times for these classes are available. Taking a course will get you a certification and may get you a discount with your insurance company.

Medications and driving:

Driving performance can be affected by the medications you are on. Know your medications and understand the side affects they have. This is for prescription and over the counter medications. If the side affects state the medication causes drowsiness, dizziness, sleepiness and/or blurred vision, DO NOT DRIVE. Make sure you talk to your physician or pharmacist. Read the printed information on the side affects your medication has.

10 SIGNS IT’S TIME TO QUESTION DRIVING:

1)      Frequent “close calls”

2)      Getting lost – especially in familiar locations

3)      Confusing  gas and brake pedals – slow responses from one to the other

4)      Finding dents, scratches on car, posts, mail boxes, garage door etc.

5)      Having trouble seeing road signs, traffic signals, pavement markings

6)      Getting angry, experiencing road rage, coursing, getting honked at often

7)      Misjudging highway exit / entrance ramps

8)      Receiving tickets or warnings

9)      Difficulty in concentration / confusion

10)  Having difficult time with changing lanes, backing up, checking rear view mirror

Seniors state that losing their independence is the most difficult challenge they face. The ability to come and go as one pleases is something our seniors love. It keeps them from feeling that they are dependent on their loved ones. Feeling that one has no way to easily get to appointments and activities, keeps older drivers on the road longer than they should be.

Seniors state that the fear of losing their independence is a nightmare. It is true that there is a much bigger need for alternative means of transportation. Communities have and are setting up more transportation services. Calling the senior centers and social services departments in your area can give you access to these services. Access Transportation, Dial a Ride, Taxis and buses are some options that can be used.

Safety for yourself and those around you has to be your first priority. No matter how difficult it is to stop driving you must consider the warning signs.

Tips on Avoiding Dehydration

The Heat is On! Tips on Staying Healthy and Avoiding Dehydration

By Estee Bienstock, RN, executive director, allpoint home health

 

Dehydration is a common condition that afflicts many people over 65, children and people whose health is compromised. The symptoms are often masked by age or illness, and can be easily missed. Even a common cold or flu can increase the risk of dehydration. As the weather begins to heat up it’s vital that everyone, including healthy individuals, be aware of the dangers and take precautions.

Up to 75% of our body weight is water. Dehydration occurs, when the body loses more water than it takes in. Loss of water can be due to illness, reduced kidney functions, heat exhaustion, inability to move around easily and /or medications. Many of the medications commonly taken by older individuals to control heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease and liver disease are common diuretics and can frequently be overlooked as causes of dehydration. Drinking enough water is vital to maintaining your health.

It’s important to note that for some elderly and those who are sick, moving around is often difficult. Many people avoid drinking the fluids they need so they can avoid having to go to the bathroom.

Common Causes of Dehydration

  • Weather
  • Colds and flu
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Overexertion
  • Diabetes and other compromising illnesses

Warm Weather Tips to Prevent Dehydration

  • Stay indoors
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • If no air conditioning in your home, go to a mall or environment that can stay cool throughout the day
  • Start and end your day with water
  • Drink to replace the water you lose, by breathing, sweating and urinating

Symptoms of Mild to Moderate Dehydration 

  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • Less tearing
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain and muscle cramping

Symptoms of Severe Dehydration – A MEDICAL EMERGENCY

  • Extreme thirst
  • Severe confusion
  • Severe dry mouth and mucous membranes
  • Little or no sweating
  • Shriveled skin, no elasticity (when pinched, skin does not bounce back)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears at all
  • Loss of consciousness

Mild to moderate dehydration can usually be treated, especially in a healthy adult by drinking more fluids. This does not include carbonated and caffeinated fluids; these tend to dehydrate rather than hydrate. Water is the number one fluid to drink to avoid or treat dehydration. It’s recommended to drink six to eight, eight ounce glasses per day to stay healthy and hydrated. If you have a medical condition that may cause you to limit your fluid intake, discuss this with your physician.

So enjoy a cool glass of water now and have a great summer!

Keeping Your Brain Fit

I can’t remember! We’ve all been there.

Keeping Your Brain Fit

Want to learn tips and tricks to regain and maintain brain health?

Join us at the Cancer Support Community – Benjamin Center in Los Angeles for a special educational workshop and lunch discussing what you can do to keep your brain fit. Research shows there are many factors that help maintain a healthy brain, even during illness. You will learn ways to incorporate healthy brain techniques into your life.

Carol Hahn, MSN, RN, RYT, CPT, and Director of Education for ALLPOINT Home Healthwill be presenting, calling upon her varied health experience in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care. She has also taught in several college nursing programs and is a registered yoga teacher and certified personal trainer. Her goal is to assist people in increasing their quality of life at all ages.

Date: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Time: 12:00-1:30 PM

ALLPOINT Home Health is a proud sponsor of this event.

To RSVP for this event, please click here.

In-Home Caregivers

In-home caregivers may be the ideal solution for older family members and the adult children watching out for them.

by Estee Bienstock, RN

Twenty-five percent of the population in the United States is currently dealing with care giving issues, with 80-85 percent providing the care themselves. These are people who are in their late 70s and 80s taking care of someone in their household, as well as adult children trying to maintain their own households while helping parents and family members live at home as long as possible. The adult children caring for parents have been called “The Sandwich Generation,” because they are sandwiched between aging family members on one side and young children on the other.

Often family caregivers put themselves at risk by ignoring or denying their own health issues as they take care of aging loved ones. Physical signs of stress for caregivers include disturbed sleep, body aches due to tension, headaches, digestive problems, high blood pressure, irregular heart beat, chest pains, weight fluctuation (gain or loss), fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and more. Emotional signs of stress include anxiety, depression, mood swings, frustration and irritability, memory problems, lack of concentration, increased substance abuse, feeling out of control, and a feeling of isolation.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE

Getting help is vital during this time. Caregiving does not have to be all or nothing. Having respite so one can go to work, go to the market, go out with a friend or even take a nap is important. Starting out with a few hours of help per week may be the answer.

When interviewing for an in-home caregiver, contact at least three care giving agencies or private care givers. Ask each the same questions so you can compare answers. Be aware that the first person who comes into your home may not work out. Do not get discouraged. It sometimes takes a few tries to find the right fit. Make a list of the needs of your loved one—meal preparation, personal hygiene, personal safety, medication reminders, transportation, etc. Create a job description. Put together a routine that will make your family member as comfortable with the caregiver as possible. Spend time with the caregiver, orienting him or her to the home and surroundings. Tell them the likes and dislikes of their new client.Work with the caregiver to plan activities that alow your loved one to keep active throughout the day.

PROFESSIONAL HELP

By using a home care agency you alleviate many pitfalls. An agency can substitute with another caregiver should your caregiver have an emergency. Please note, when you hire a caregiver, it is considered custodial care. This type of care is not paid by Medicare. Long Term Care Insurance often helps pay for these services. Check the policy carefully before hiring anyone. Some policies mandate a Licensed Home Health Agency before they pay for the care. Some policies have a waiting period. These are questions that can be answered by your agent.

We are all looking for “quality of life.” Taking care of yourself and finding good care for your loved ones makes the aging process better for all.

Estee Bienstock, RN, is executive director for ALLPOINT Home Health

Estee Bienstock, Executive Director, ALLPOINT Home Health

estee@allpointhomehealth.com.

Women’s Wellness Day

Make it a HEALTHY New Year – Register for the Hadassah Women’s Wellness Day!

Register Today for Hadassah Southern California’s Women’s Wellness Day! ALLPOINT Home Health Director, Estee Bienstock, will be addressing caring options for loved ones. Join her and other keynote speakers who will be sharing many ideas on how to bring wellness and piece of mind into your life. Take a day for yourself!

Event date: Sunday, February 9, 2014

Time: 9:00am – 4:30pm

Location: UCLA Covel Commons – Grand Horizon Ballroom – 330 De Neve Dr. Third Floor – Los Angeles, Ca  90095

1)Register Online

Hadassah Women's Wellness Day 2014