by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
If your parents haven't been the best drivers lately, you may be thinking, "Should I talk to my parents about driving?" The answer to this is yes. If you have any question about an elderly person's driving skills, it is best to address your concerns as soon as possible. Not doing so could be unsafe for that person, as well as pedestrians and others on the road. Your concerns could prove to be nothing, but when safety is concerned, it is better to be overly prepared.
The focus of the conversation will depend largely on the situation at hand. You may need to observe your elderly parents driving before you have a talk with them to get an idea of what you will need to deal with. For some, the talk will consist of a recommendation to get eyeglasses. For others, it may be more or less serious.
If you suspect one or both of your parents have a vision problem, a driving talk may consist of making sure they have scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor. If they have not, you may need to stress how important it is during the conversation. Be sure to do this without saying something that is likely to offend.
If one of your parents is doing things like stopping in the middle of traffic, getting lost in places that should be familiar or having delayed responses, there may be a medical reason behind the poor driving habits. In this type of situation, this could be very dangerous and the senior citizen should not drive at all until a doctor or other medical professional has given them clearance to do so. Another thing to consider is physical or mental disabilities. These also can fall under the medical category, depending on their severity. A talk with your parents in this driving situation could consist of recommendation to see a doctor, as well as a discussion of medical symptoms that could be causing the driving difficulties.
"The Family Conversations" brochure, offered as a free senior resource from TheHartford.com, advises observing the driving of the individual over time and keeping a record of the data collected. Consumers who download the Family Conversations will be able to print a worksheet that is for this purpose. Some other things that can be found in the free brochure are observation tips, behavior warning signs, questions to consider if driving needs to be stopped and more.
When confronted with the evidence, combined with the concerns of loved ones, it may be easier for senior citizen drivers to accept the situation. A gentle, but firm approach is best. The point is to make it clear that there may be some issues with driving, but you do not want to anger, offend or place blame on your parents.
A sentence such as "Dad, you drive horrible. You need to get off the road!" is not ideal. More ideal, would be something like, "Dad, I noticed when you drove to the store today that you passed up a couple stop signs. That isn't like you. Is something wrong?" In the second statement, there is room for the senior driver to open up and talk about the situation. Yet, in the first, there is likely just room for arguments and hurt feelings.
Talking to your parents about driving is not always an easy thing to do, but it may become a necessary one. When having the driving talk with elderly parents, it is easier if you come prepared with questions, concerns and even observation data that you have collected.
Hurricane Effects on Seniors
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
As seniors learned from hurricanes like Katrina and Ike, a hurricane can cause great damage in no time at all. They also can have lasting effects on seniors in terms of financial stress, health concerns, the loss of property and more.
Special Needs for Evacuation
First, some seniors may require special transportation services to vacate an area afflicted by a natural disaster. Improving alert systems could help solve part of the complications that seniors face with this issue. Oftentimes, seniors end up remaining in the path of an oncoming storm simply because they either are not alerted in time or cannot gain access to transportation. This can be dangerous because if flood waters threaten their homes, they can drown. Instances of this happened during Katrina and other recent hurricanes.
Loss of Material Goods and Intangibles
It is important that seniors understand the importance of having an insurance policy in the event of a natural disaster. When a storm strikes, it often is not feasible to take all of your belongings with you and out of harm's way. Because of this, many seniors end up with damage and loss when it comes to material items. Seniors can prevent some of this financial loss by keeping their insurance policies up-to-date.
Property Loss or Damage
Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to seniors during a hurricane, besides death or injury, is the loss of or damage to their homes and property. The direct and indirect effects of a hurricane can bring about various types of damage such as structural damage, flood damage, fire and smoke damage and more. Seniors should be sure that home insurance is kept up-to-date, including insurance against natural disasters such as flooding.
Possibility of Moving or Starting Over
Sometimes once the storm is over, seniors may relocate or start over by rebuilding. This can be either by personal choice or out of circumstance. The costs associated with moving or rebuilding in the current location can put a financial strain on seniors. Many seniors are living off of Social Security payments and may not have extra money stored away for such an added expense.
Effects on Health
According to the Houston Chronicle, during Hurricane Ike, many senior citizens wondered if they could survive through the mass power outage that occurred as a result. In Ike's aftermath, one senior citizen, 62-year-old Alvin Fowler, remarked "I'm sickly as a dog. Everything is wrong with me." The unfortunate reality is that until there are more resources directed toward helping them, seniors will face situations like this during a storm. Southeast Texas recognizes the need for aid to seniors and has a hurricane task force available to assist them. This is good news. However, more still needs to be done to protect seniors during and after hurricanes.
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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