Page 9 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - February 2020 - 27-02
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From The
Senior Times - February 2020
Page 9
Complex Medical
©2019 HCR Healthcare, LLC
If you need help with any of these conditions, you may benefit from an inpatient skilled nursing rehabiliatation stay.
Heartland Health Care Center – Battle Creek
Sherii Sherban, Special to Senior Times MAINTAIN INDEPENDENCE
Older drivers can be safe drivers. As you get older, you'll likely notice physical changes that can make cer- tain actions – such as turning your head to look for oncoming traffic or driving at night – more challenging.
Driver safety requires more than understanding road signs and traffic laws, it includes maintaining your health as well.
Senses such as hearing and vision tend to decline with age. Be sure
to get checked regularly. Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers by limiting the ability to hear an approaching emergency vehicle or train. And common age-related vision problems – such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration – can make it difficult to see clearly or drive at night. Stick to your doc- tor's recommended exam schedule. Problems may be easier to correct if caught early.
Staying physically active improves your strength and flexibility. In turn, physical activity can improve driver safety by making it easier to turn the steering wheel, look over your shoul- der, and make other movements while driving and parking. Look for ways to include physical activity in your daily routine. Walking is a great choice for many people. Stretching and strength training exercises are helpful for older drivers, too. If you've been sedentary, get your doctor's OK before increas- ing your activity level.
Work with your doctor to man- age chronic conditions – especially those that might impact driver safety, such as diabetes or seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions for manag- ing your condition and staying safe behind the wheel. This might include adjusting your treatment plan and scheduling or restricting your driving.
Of course, it's equally important to know your medications. Many drugs can affect driver safety, even when you're feeling fine. Read your medi- cation labels so that you know what to expect from each one. Don't drive if you've taken medication that caus- es drowsiness or dizziness. If you're concerned about side effects or the impact on driver safety, consult your doctor.
Consider your physical limitations and make any necessary adjustments. For example, if your hands hurt when gripping the steering wheel, use a steering wheel cover that makes hold- ing and turning the wheel more com- fortable. You might ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational ther- apist, who can offer assistive devices to help you drive or suggest specific exercises to help you overcome your limitations. A refresher course might help too.
  No. 1: Check Hearing and Vision
No. 6: Drive Under Optimal Conditions
 You can improve driver safety by driving during the daytime, in good weather, on quiet roads, and in famil- iar areas. Plan your route to avoid rush-hour traffic. Delay your trip if the visibility is poor. Beyond road conditions, make sure you're in opti- mal condition to drive. Don't drive
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              if you're tired or angry – and never drive after drinking alcohol.
MAIL TO: Senior Times, 4642 Capital Ave SW Battle Creek, MI 49015 MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Senior Times
                No. 2: Stay Physically Active
When you get in your vehicle, be prepared to drive. Plan your route ahead of time and check for construc- tion or landmarks to expect. If you use a GPS device, enter your destina- tion before you start driving. While you're driving, don't do anything
No. 7: Plan Ahead
that takes your focus from the road – such as eating, using a cell phone, or adjusting the radio.
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No. 3: Manage Chronic Conditions
If these tips still don’t give you the results you’re looking for it may be time to consider other alternatives. If you become confused while you're driving or you're concerned about your ability to drive safely, or loved ones or others have expressed con- cern, it might be best to stop driving. Consider taking advantage of other local transportation options such as
You can transition to a fun and fulfilling life without a car. Driving does not equal mobility. Being with- out wheels does not need to spell isolation or giving up spontaneity.
is offered through Calhoun County Senior Millage dollars.
 No. 4: Know Effects of Medications
 No. 5: Understand Your Limitations
The reality is that you will expe- rience a significant savings by retir- ing your vehicle, from upkeep and insurance to the cost of gas to fill the car. Selling, or donating, your vehicle may generate additional dollars to help with solutions to keep you from feeling like a burden to others. Here are some ideas:
You might also adjust your vehicle or choose a different vehicle to better meet your needs. For example, many older drivers find it easier to step into and out of a bigger car. Vehicles that feature larger, easier-to-read dials on the dashboard are often popular with older drivers. Features such as large mirrors and power windows and door locks can be helpful, too.
• Look for services that cater to those who are no longer driving such as hair stylists and doctors who make house calls, and grocery stores and pharmacies that deliver.
• Ask family and friends if they would be willing to be a driver in exchange for a meal out.
• There are senior ride programs and other traditional paid transportation options. Discover public transpor- tation for a new adventure with friends. See page 7 for options to start with.
• Carpooling isn’t just for kids.
• Dollars saved could even allow you
to hire a driver to take you where you need to go, or on an adventure with friends.
Giving up your car keys doesn't need to end your independence. Instead, consider it a way to keep yourself and others safe on the road. Enjoy your journey.

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