MARYVILLE, TN (February 12, 2014) How does a person determine when it’s no longer safe to be driving? Various conditions can cause vision to deteriorate and reactions times to slow, and just getting into and out of a car safely can prove challenging.
“When Is It Time to Give Up the Car Keys?” program to be at Blount County Public Library
However, in our society, driving means independence for most people.
“When Is It Time to Give Up the Car Keys?” will be a presentation by Joani Shaver, Director of the Blount County Office on Aging. She will offer advice on how to know when it’s time to stop driving and how to approach the topic with a loved one. The program will be at the Blount County Public Library on Wednesday, February 19, at 11 a.m.
For an elderly person, an immediate concern is having alternatives that continue to provide independence.
How to Know When a Senior Should Stop Driving. There are several things a person can do to determine whether a senior is capable behind the wheel:
§ Ride with the elderly person. Regularly look for opportunities to ride along with a senior at the wheel. That gives a first-hand observation of how the senior is handling traffic situations.
§ Check the car for dents and scrapes which can be obvious indications that the driver is having difficulty with depth perception or maneuvering in traffic.
§ If the person avoids driving far from home, at night, in bad weather or during rush hour, this can be an indication that he/she is less comfortable behind the wheel.
How to Plan For/Convince a Person to Stop Driving. Because the automobile provides independence, it’s very important to plan ahead and find alternative options for transportation for the individual.
Have frequent conversations, research alternative modes of transportation, and be encouraging and kind. Nobody wants to grow old or become infirm or disabled, but having some positive options helps pave the way.
Research public transportation like buses and taxis. In the Blount County area, a new transportation system for seniors is called SMiles (Senior Miles), and East Tennesseee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA) provides transportation door to door.
SMiles: Seniors age 60+ who do not drive must request a ride 3 business days in advance. A round trip ride costs $6, plus the annual membership of $25. Riders must be able to walk but may use assistance of a cane or walker when needed. Call 865-724-1331 to schedule a ride or to receive more information.
ETHRA: Customers should call 1-800-232-1565 to schedule a trip at least 3 business days in advance. Cost is $3 one-way or $6 for a round trip within Blount County.
It’s often important to a senior to have choices for transportation that don’t make the person totally dependent upon family or friends.
If the Senior Refuses to Admit Inability to Drive. Every state has laws that allow physicians to intervene for the safety of their patients. They can request vision tests, for example, by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Free and open to the public, the program is sponsored by the Blount County Office on Aging and the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.
For further information about library programs or services, call the library at 982-0981 or visit the Web site atwww.blountlibrary.org . To sign up to receive a monthly calendar by email, go to the library’s Home Page, click on the “News and Events” tab, and then “Calendar of Events Signup” and type in your email address. Also check out Facebook at “Blount County Public Library” and Twitter at “Blount_Library”.