Warning Signs a Senior Shouldn’t Be Driving

4 signs you may need to take away the keys.

POSTED BY  Allison Cook

Wondering at what point you should have a conversation with your parent or aging loved one about their driving abilities? Is it time to take away the keys? There are a number of issues you should take into account. It would be a lot easier if we could just assign an age when people are no longer safe drivers, but as a group, seniors are relatively safe. They’ve got years of experience behind the wheel and they tend to self-regulate when and how much they drive.

Jody Gastfriend, LICSW and VP of Care Management at Care.com lists the following considerations for deciding if it is safe for your loved one to continue driving. (If needed, get tips on talking to your parent about driving.)

  • Health status. There are various medical conditions that can decrease a person’s ability to drive safely. For example, arthritis can affect a person’s ability to move and notice obstacles when switching lanes or backing out of a parking spot. Dementia can decrease a person’s ability to obey the laws of the road and increase the likelihood of getting lost. If you’re getting concerned, schedule an appointment for your senior and a trusted physician and call ahead of time to let the doctor know what you’re worried about. When you attend the appointment, you can discuss whether your senior is considered healthy enough to drive safely.
  • Medications. Some medications can have side effects which make it unsafe for a senior to drive. Make sure you ask the doctor about potential side effects of medication before your senior begins taking it. And if your senior is taking medication that would cause him to be unsafe without — consider strategies to prevent medication errors. You might even want to count the number of pills to ensure they’ve been taken on a regular basis.
  • Recent driving record. Have there been fender-benders, near misses, or unexplained bumps and scratches on the car? These can be warning signs that your parent’s driving abilities are not what they should be.
  • Observable differences. If you can, arrange to be in the car while your loved one is driving. Observation of your parent’s abilities is one of the better ways to evaluate if it is time to have a discussion. Keep an eye out for errors with signaling, difficulty turning, driving at inappropriate speeds (too fast or too slow), increased agitation or irritation, failure to stop at a stop sign or red light, and delayed response to unanticipated situations.

Consider this: Your senior doesn’t have to take an all or nothing approach. It is possible to safely drive on local roads at speeds under 45 miles per hour, while avoiding long distances on the highway. This is an example of self-regulating one’s driving.

Additionally, there are tests that can evaluate a person’s ability to operate a car. A driving assessment may be available at the local Department of Motor Vehicles, rehabilitation center, Veterans Administration medical center, or hospital. According to the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., these evaluations usually cost between $200 and $500 and are rarely covered by insurance, but it may be well worth the expense.

If you are unsure whether it is time to speak with your parent about driving, ask yourself how comfortable you feel with your parent driving other people. If you do not want them driving grandchildren, it is probably time to have a conversation.

What’s the secret to a long life? Meet the ‘stubborn’ oldest people of Italy

Cat named D-O-G is the star of this dog-training facility

By Associated Press  December 14, 2017

ST. LOUIS — A cat with an unlikely name has an important job at a training center for dogs.

Support Dogs Inc. in St. Louis took in the black-and-white cat over the summer and named him D-O-G (dee-OH’-jee). He’s more than a mascot — officials say he plays a key role getting the dogs comfortable around other animals. Assistance dogs need to be well-behaved and not be distracted in their job helping people who are deaf or have mobility problems.

Support Dogs president and CEO Anne Klein says D-O-G is “fearless” around the larger canines and plays with their tails, sleeps in their beds and eats and drinks from their bowls instead of his own.


Uber concealed massive hack that exposed data of 57m users and drivers

Uber concealed a massive global breach of the personal information of 57 million customers and drivers in October 2016, failing to notify the individuals and regulators, the company acknowledged on Tuesday.

Uber also confirmed it had paid the hackers responsible $100,000 to delete the data and keep the breach quiet, which was first reported by Bloomberg.

None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said in a statement acknowledging the breach and cover-up. “While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes.”

Hackers stole personal data including names, email addresses and phone numbers, as well as the names and driver’s license numbers of about 600,000 drivers in the United States. The company said more sensitive information, such as location data, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and birth dates, had not been compromised.


The Secret to Long Life? It May Lurk in the DNA of the Oldest Among Us


James Clement has scoured the globe for supercentenarians, aged 110 and older, willing to contribute their genomes to a rare scientific cache.

Clarence Matthews, 110, had blood drawn at his home in Indian Wells, Calif., last year, part of a project to examine the genes of the very old. Mr. Matthews died a few months ago. CreditIvan Kashinsky for The New York Times

As one of the exceedingly rare members of her species to live beyond age 110, Goldie Michelson had divulged her secrets to longevity countless times before dying last year at 113.

“Morning walks and chocolate,” the Worcester, Mass., resident and onetime oldest living American told the steady stream of inquisitors that marked her final years.

Unlike the growing ranks of nonagenarians and centenarians, those who breach a 12th decade, known as supercentenarians, rarely face protracted illness or disability before they die, a boon that many of them have ascribed to personal habits.

“I try to live the truth,” said Shelby Harris, who threw out the first pitch of the local minor league baseball team’s 2012 season a few months before he died at 111 in Rock Island, Ill. Emma Morano of Verbania, Italy, still cooking her own pasta until a few years before she died last April at 117, prescribed raw eggs, and no husband.

But even as they indulged the notion that exceptionally healthy longevity can be explained by lifestyle, each agreed to donate DNA to a private effort to find the secrets in supercentenarian genes.

112-Year-Old Woman Celebrates Birthday with a Beer — and Shares Her Secret to Longevity

People Human Interest: BY JASON DUAINE HAHN

To celebrate a rare milestone, one supercentenarian who still knows how to party made sure she had one of her favorite things to mark the occasion: beer.

The Sunday before her 112th birthday on October 18, Lucy Trecasse—the eighth oldest living person in the United States—celebrated with friends and family at Lund Care Center in Cabot, Pennsylvania. Trecasse spends much of her time at the center knitting, sewing or playing bingo (her favorite). Yet, every so often, she’ll open a bottle of beer, just as she did for her birthday, sharing a glass with a friend. She has long been a fan of the adult beverage—her family even brewed beer to sell to friends during Prohibition—and when asked exactly how long she has liked it, Trecasse beams with excitement.

“All my life! 112!” Trecasse tells PEOPLE. “My dad gave me a taste of beer when I was a kid, he just gave me a taste and I liked it.”
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Family Finds ‘Miracle’ Dog Waiting for Them Outside Home Destroyed by Wildfires: ‘We Were Hoping Against Hope’

Clint and Kathy Weaver awoke to 30-foot walls of flames surrounding their Sonoma home at around 1 a.m. last Monday. They knew they had to leave right away.

As Clint, 68, ran down the driveway surrounded by heat and flames to unlock their gate to get out, an explosion knocked him into a ditch, breaking his arm. Kathy, 62, followed behind, while holding the collar of their 9-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, Izzy.

So on Tuesday morning, Oct. 10, Jack and his brother-in-law, Patrick Widen, decided to check on the Weavers’ property and “see if by some miracle Izzy survived,” Beckyjean Widen wrote.  

“They were turned away by police officers, but if you know my brother Jack or husband Patrick . . . neither one likes to be told no,” Widen wrote.

Jack, who grew up at the home, knew a way in that would involve jumping a wall, hiking through a creek and walking up a very steep hillside.

The pair wore masks to protect themselves from the heavy smoke. Jack filmed the final minutes of their journey, to show his parents what the property looked like.

So on Tuesday morning, Oct. 10, Jack and his brother-in-law, Patrick Widen, decided to check on the Weavers’ property and “see if by some miracle Izzy survived,” Beckyjean Widen wrote.  

“They were turned away by police officers, but if you know my brother Jack or husband Patrick . . . neither one likes to be told no,” Widen wrote.

Jack, who grew up at the home, knew a way in that would involve jumping a wall, hiking through a creek and walking up a very steep hillside.

The pair wore masks to protect themselves from the heavy smoke. Jack filmed the final minutes of their journey, to show his parents what the property looked like.

As Irma raged, Floridians stopped to take care of creatures great and small

Updated 12:03 AM ET, Tue. September 12, 2017
(CNN)By now, you’ve most certainly seen the video of the flamingos at Busch Garden strutting to safety because of Hurricane Irma. Or the manatees who were rescued after the storm sucked up water from a bay and left them stranded.

But they weren’t the only ones. As Irma ripped its way through Florida and millions of people evacuated, Floridians weren’t just thinking about themselves. They stopped to make sure that creatures – great and small — were also safe from harm’s way.

Some animals simply hunkered down with their owners in pet-friendly shelters, like this one at the Miami-Dade County Fair.


How to tell if your solar eclipse glasses are safe or fake

Don’t get caught with counterfeits on August 21.

The eclipse economy is in full swing. Eclipse glasses are in low supply, and counterfeit eclipse glasses being sold. How can you tell if the solar eclipse glasses you bought are safe for staring directly at the sun or fakes?

Reputable vendor research

Unfortunately, fake glasses may also be labeled as being compliant with ISO 12312-2 because, as a general rule, people are greedy, selfish and not to be trusted. To double check the veracity of your eclipse glasses’ ISO claims, you can check to see if the vendor from which you purchased the shades is trustworthy in the eyes of the AAS. See its list of Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers.

In assembling its list, the AAS checks to make sure a manufacturer earned its ISO rating with proper, labs-based testing. It also asks manufacturers for their authorized resellers and resellers for their manufacturers. If the vendor of your eclipse shades is listed, then you are safe. But the opposite isn’t necessarily true. If your vendor isn’t listed, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are slinging counterfeits. It just means the AAS hasn’t checked them out or hasn’t been able to track everything down.

So, what are you to do if your vendor isn’t on the list? Perform an eye test.

Eclipse glasses eye test

First off, a pair of honest-to-goodness solar eclipse glasses should be way darker than, say, your sunglasses. According to the AAS, the solar filters of eclipse glasses are “many thousands of times darker” than ordinary sunglasses.

Total Solar Eclipse to Shadow Parts of Missouri

For nearly 13 minutes on Mon., Aug. 21, 2017, Missourians in a 70-mile swath stretching catty-corner from St. Joseph in the Northeast to Cape Girardeau in the Southeast will witness the totality of the moon obscuring the sun, otherwise referred to as a total solar eclipse. Totality will last anywhere from a few seconds to 2:39 depending upon a viewer’s specific location. During that time, darkness will fall, temperatures may drop 10-15 degrees, breezes may vanish, insects will come out, stars and planets will be visible, and if one lives on a farm, the animals may head toward the barn.

When looking at the sun, safety is important.  Here’s a list of eye safety suggestions from the American Astronomical Society for viewing a solar eclipse.

This will be the first total solar eclipse to touch the United State since 1991 when one occurred in Hawaii, and the first coast-to-coast across the southern U.S. since 1918. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the greater St. Louis area was 1442. St. Louisans can expect the next one in 2505.

Eclipse-chasers from around the world are expected to converge in St. Louis and the areas beyond as about half of both Kansas City and St. Louis lie within the patch of totality. Consider that more than 43 million people live in large metro areas outside of the totality path where St. Louis is the closest large city, making St. Louis a main destination. Hotel rooms will be at a premium during the period and travelers are encouraged to book their accommodations and travel plans in advance to ensure the best possible experience.

Viewers in St. Louis are recommended to head to parks south and southwest of the city. One notable fact is that Jefferson City is one of only four U.S. state capitals located in the totality path. The others include Salem, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; and Columbia, South Carolina.