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.
Taking on the caregiving role for a family member who is aging with a disability is a loving decision and can be very rewarding. A caregiver of this person might spend the majority of his or her time caring for their loved one. Because of this, the primary caregiver may need some rest or some time to do something special for themselves. That is where respite care comes in.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is when someone other than the primary caregiver takes on the caregiving responsibilities. Respite care is designed for aging individuals who may or may not have a disability. Respite care could be for a short period of time to allow for a break. It could also be for a longer period of time if the primary caregiver has decided to take a vacation or take care of other matters for an extended period of time. Respite care can be given by a family member, a friend or a licensed professional. It can occur at the patient's residence or a respite care center. Respite care for someone aging with a disability can be scheduled or unscheduled.
Who Does Respite Care Help and Why Should it Be Used?
Respite care can help both the patient with the disability and the primary caregiver. Caregiving is sometimes time consuming. Caring for an aging person with a disability sometimes takes up a large time slot. The primary caregiver can receive a break or simply get time to run errands through respite care. The patient benefits because when the primary caregiver leaves, there is still someone there to care for him or her. If the reason for the respite care is to give the primary caregiver some rest, the patient could benefit from having a well rested caregiver when that person returns to their caregiving duties.
How to Find Respite Care
Your state's local bureau on aging can provide you with information on local respite care centers, as well as other information and resources, such as what respite care Medicaid and Medicare may cover. Churches and other religious organizations may also be able to help locate respite care for someone aging with a disability. Some may even provide it.
Others that can help locate respite care for those aging with a disability are the local Alzheimer's Association, social services department, Easter Seals, or a mental health agency. Also, of course, there are family members and friends that you may be able to enlist help from. If you cannot afford to pay for respite care, there may be a friend or family member who will do it for no cost, simply because they care.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Senior Drivers: Taking The Keys Away
When a parent or loved one reaches a certain age, there comes a point when their driving may not be the best. At times, they do not realize it or want to admit it. At this point, it may be necessary to take away the keys to that person's car. It is vital to do this in the most sensitive way as possible. After all, this is a person you love and care about. This is why you are taking the keys away, to protect that person's safety, as well as the safety of other citizens.
However, the senior citizen who is driving may not share your opinion. This person may believe you are trying to control their life for them and will likely think they are perfectly capable of making their own decision regarding driving. If you know that this same person cannot drive well enough to operate a vehicle, but the senior citizen is not willing to admit it or stop driving, this is where you will need to step in. Doing so can be very difficult and stressful for both parties involved.
A senior citizen who has their keys taken away in order to stop driving may be trying to hold onto their independence. As people age, some tend to fear that they will not be able to take care of themselves. In their eyes, if they cannot drive, this may look as though they are no longer capable of caring for themselves. That thought is difficult to face for any adult. For senior citizen drivers, it can sometimes be worse because they may view this as a sign of old age, which some don't like to face.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, many cities around the U.S. are doing things to help make driving safer so that senior citizens who are still driving don't always have to get the keys taken away. In Troy, Mich., for instance, crash instances for senior citizen drivers were reduced by 42 percent when clearance intervals for yellow and red signals were modified. Interventions like this, and other traffic safety changes, could keep some senior citizen drivers on the road longer.
Unfortunately, there are still cases in which allowing your beloved senior citizen to keep driving is not always possible. If you or a loved one has to face this difficult driving decision, think about safety first. If a person cannot see properly or there are other factors that make it difficult to drive, driving is not safe for this senior citizen or other drivers or pedestrians. Know when taking the keys is appropriate and necessary by observing his or her driving habits. That said, taking the keys is sometimes easier said than done. Aside from the fact that the senior citizen driver may be attempting to hold onto their independence, there are other reasons one may not want to stop driving. A person does not always want to admit they cannot do something or, at times, may not even realize it.
Driving is something people spend a good portion of their lives doing. When they can no longer do it as well as they once could, they may not even realize it. In this case, there are services, such as the one offered at AAA in California, for taking a senior citizen to have their driving capabilities tested. This is more than just a standard driver test. These kind of services will test coordination, eyesight, reaction time and other factors that often contribute to poor driving by senior citizens.
Some people actually prefer to have a middleman, such as a driving coach or someone from the Department of Motor Vehicles, perform the task of taking away the keys from the senior citizen driver. It may be better received from a knowledgeable source, and it takes the blame away from the loved one. Another option to consider is having a family meeting where everyone states their feelings. Hearing it from more than one close relative can be more convincing than just one person's thoughts.
More On Senior Driving:
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
National Transportation Library
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Getting Paid to Care for Your Loved One
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
If you have a friend or family member in need of a caregiver, you are likely considering many options. You may be wondering if you can provide that care yourself. If so, you may also wonder if you can get paid to be a family caregiver. Is it possible to make a liveable wage caring for your own family member?
Can I Get Paid to be a Family Caregiver?
If you have a friend or loved one who is ill, you could have hopes of caring for them yourself instead of hiring someone. Can you get paid to do so? The short answer to this is yes, it is possible to become a caregiver for your own family member and get paid for doing so. However, depending on your area, the methods to do so may vary.
Can I Make a Liveable Wage as a Family Caregiver?
Making a liveable wage caring for your own family member is possible, but not likely for most. It will depend on how much you need for living expenses, as well as the method in which you go about establishing the caregiving. It will also depend on where you live, as some states allow for this and some do not. Also, if you are the person paying for your loved ones other expenses (such as a mortgage, prescriptions, and household supplies), will the money you make from caring for them cover that? In many cases, it will not. Even those in the nurse aid field sometimes do not make a liveable wage themselves. Most people who take on this responsibility for family members are doing so more out of love than for the possible income. However, many would appreciate it if they could get paid for their efforts.
How Can I Become a Family Caregiver?
One way to become a family caregiver is by contacting Medicaid. This differs from Medicare, which will not usually pay a family member who acts as caregiver. They will be looking to pay someone who is a professional in the field of caregiving. Other great sources to contact for information include local senior services, social services, and the county health department.
Benefits of a Family Member as Caregiver
Having a family member as a caregiver can be more comforting to a loved one. They may already be used to this person helping them. Therefore, when the situation gets to a point when they need more active care, it could reduce their discomfort surrounding it. It's hard for some people when they learn they will need someone to take care of their needs for them. It may be an easier transition when a family member is the one providing the care. Also, a family member will have the benefit of knowing personal needs and wants. They will also likely have more love for the patient than someone who is not a family member.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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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