training post

9 Driving
9.1 What Are Alternative Transportation Options?
Losing the ability to drive can be a devastating part of aging. By preparing in advance for alternative forms of transportation, independence – and personal safety – can be maintained.
Alternative transportation is often provided as a resource to the elderly in many communities. Contact your local eldercare association to determine what is available in your area.
If public transportation is not available or convenient, consider a service such as Uber or Lyft. These are applications available on a smart phone that allow you to obtain a private driver.
9.1.1 How do I use a ride service such as Uber or Lyft?
• Download the app and sign up for the service. You will need to provide a credit card, but it is only charged when you actually use the service.
• The cost is often less than a taxi, and the app provides an estimate of the cost when you put the address you are going to into your request for a ride.
• Through a map on the app, the driver comes directly to where you are located. You will see a car icon on the map showing where the driver is located and their estimated time of arrival.
• While in the car, you will see the map of where you are going.
• Once the ride is over, you will be asked to rate the driver and okay the charge.
9.1.2 What are some tips to ensure driver safety?
• When your ride is accepted, a small picture of the driver and type of car will be shown in your app. Make sure the driver and car picking you up match the description.
• Wait inside for your driver if you are in an unsafe area. The app will notify you when the driver has arrived and they will call your phone if they do not see you.
• Set up emergency contacts in the app. This will allow your family to follow your progress when you are taking a ride with the service.
It is good to practice using the service long before you really need it. Familiarity creates comfort, and by using the service in advance, you will be more likely to use it when the time comes that you can no longer drive.
For more help with alternative driving options, download
9.2 Driving Classes And Assessments
9.2.1 Driving classes
Aging does not necessarily mean you must give up driving anytime soon. With proper planning, your driving skills may stay intact for a very long time. Along with purchasing cars with updated safety equipment, it is also good to brush up your skills by taking a defensive driving course.
There are numerous options available.
• AARP offers an online course that is inexpensive and may save you money on your car insurance.
• AARP also offers courses in person. You can locate a class here.
• The National Safety Council offers an online course for defensive driving.
• You can contact your local DMV for classes in your area.
For more information on driving classes and assessments, download
For a sample family agreement on driving, download

9.2.2 Driving assessments
Even after proper training, family members may often still be concerned about the driving ability of their aging members. It is a difficult conversation to broach as the older driver may become defensive because stopping driving may mean a loss of independence.
Often, an older driver can continue to drive safely as long as they make a few changes. Driving during the day, not driving in the rain, and adding safety devices to a vehicle can help tremendously in keeping the driver and their passengers on the road safe.
Driving assessments are a good tool to help determine what older drivers need to drive safely. Generally, the assessment is done by an occupational therapist and involves tests that measure cognition and physical ability. Driving evaluations are done in vehicles or in simulators. The therapist will then offer suggestions to improve driver safety or may make the recommendation that the driver give up driving. The therapist does not have the ability to pull a license. The testing takes a couple of hours and costs about $200 to $300.
If your family is concerned about your driving, consider taking a test to prove that you are okay and learn ways to stay safe while driving. The American Occupational Therapy Association provides a database of programs to easily find a testing facility in your area.
For more information on driving classes and assessments, download
For a sample family agreement on driving, download
6.10 What Is Palliative Care And Hospice?
Our medical system is very adept at treating serious illness such as cancer or progressive heart or lung disease. Sometimes a health provider’s focus on treating disease takes away from actually caring for the patient’s symptoms. Illness causes discomfort, and sometimes the treatment of illness adds to that discomfort. What can be done about this?
Fortunately, the specialty of palliative care focuses on keeping a patient well while their disease is being treated. Palliative care doctors treat all the “discomforts” of diseases and treatments such as pain, nausea, and decreased appetite. This focus on improving your quality of life throughout your illness results in more enjoyable time with family, better strength to deal with treatment, and improved focus to take care of important logistics of regular life.
What is the difference between palliative care and hospice? Both provide essentially the same type of care by the same doctors, but there are important distinctions:
• Palliative care can be started and stopped at any time for any serious illness and does not require you to stop potentially curative treatment of your disease.
• Hospice is started once it is determined you are terminally ill and have less than a six-month life expectancy. Most hospice care requires that you stop any potentially curative treatments and that you accept you are terminally ill and will die of your disease.
Patients who receive early palliative care have improved quality of life throughout their illness and potentially improved life expectancy, probably as a result of reduced pain and better tolerance of treatment. Additionally, if curative care is no longer working, they receive the benefit of hospice services much earlier in the disease progression. This often results in the decrease of unnecessary and expensive treatment late in the disease process which lowers the cost of care for your family and the health care system in general.
Since the use of palliative care for serious illness is a relatively recent concept, some physicians treating serious illness do not consider involving a palliative care doctor. If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, and especially if you are suffering discomfort from the illness or treatment, ask your doctor to involve a palliative care specialist early.
For more information on palliative care and hospice, download