Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 26, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 26, 2013 



Dear Savvy Senior: 

What resources can you recommend to seniors 
who are shopping for a car? My wife and I are 
relatively healthy 70-year-olds and are looking for 
a new senior-friendly vehicle, but could use some 
help. Older Drivers


Dear Older:

For seniors who are in the market for a new or used car, the AAA (American Automobile Association) 
and the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation has just updated 
an excellent resource called “Smart Features for Older Drivers” that can help you choose a vehicle that 
meets your needs as you age. 

Senior-Friendly Vehicles

While the automotive industry doesn’t make vehicles specifically designed for senior citizens, they do 
make certain vehicles with features that can help accommodate the needs of older drivers. 

With that in mind, “Smart Features for Older Drivers” addresses the age-related physical changes – 
like diminished vision, arthritis, and range of motion loss – that can affect a senior’s driving ability 
and comfort behind the wheel, and outlines various vehicle features that help address those issues. 
Here’s what they recommend. 

Safety First

The first priority is to identify vehicles with a proven safety record which you can research online at and Also look for vehicles that have dynamic stability control, anti-lock 
brakes, adjustable head restraints, and side and dual-stage/threshold airbags that adjust the deployment 
force based on the severity of the crash.

Your next step is to identify specific vehicle features that can help meet your physical needs. So depending 
on what ails you, here’s what to look for.

Hip and knee problems: For comfort, a better fit, and easier entry and exit, look for vehicles that have 
six-way adjustable power seats that move the seat forward and backward, up and down, and the seat-
back forward and backward. Also look for low door thresholds and seat heights that don’t require 
too much bending or climbing to get into. The ideal seat height for seniors is between mid-thigh and 
lower buttocks when standing next to the vehicle. Leather or faux leather seats are also easier to slide 
in and out of than cloth seats.

Stiff upper body: If you have difficulty looking over your shoulder to back up or merge into traffic, 
look for vehicles with a large rear window for better visibility, wide-angle mirrors which can minimize 
blind spots, back-up cameras, active parallel park assistance, and blind-spot warning systems 
that alert you to objects in the way. Also, for comfort and fit, consider vehicles that have a tilt and 
telescoping steering wheel, adjustable seatbelts, and heated seats with lumbar support. 

Arthritic hands: For easier use, four-door vehicles are recommended because the doors are smaller, 
lighter and easier to open and close than two-door models. And to help with painful gripping and 
turning problems, look for keyless entry and a push-button ignition, a thicker steering wheel, power 
mirrors and seats, and a sliding channel gear selector. 

Diminished vision: Drivers with vision loss due to cataracts, glaucoma or some other condition will 
find vehicles with larger instrument panels and dashboard controls with contrasting text easier to 
see and manipulate. And those with sensitivity to glare will benefit from extendable sun visors, auto-
dimming rearview mirror and glare reducing side mirrors.

Smart Features Resource 

To access the “Smart Features for Older Drivers” resource, visit 
and use their online tool that lets you choose the age-friendly features you want in a vehicle, and 
the tool will identify the makes and models that best fit your needs. 

Or, if you don’t have internet access call your AAA (call 800-222-4357 to get your local number) and 
ask them to mail you free copy of the “Smart Features for Older Drivers” brochure. You don’t have to 
be a AAA member to get this free publication. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. 

 By Pat Birdsall

FYI: “Slowly, She’s Getting Up.”


Pat Birdsall, who normally writes this section of the paper, underwent hip replacement surgery 
on Wednesday. I am happy to say that she is doing well and we hope she’ll be back in front of the 
computer real soon. If you wish to send her greetings, email her at:

In the meantime, she’d like to remind you to stay fit! Take advantage of the fitness programs available 
for free at the Sierra Madre Senior Center:

 On Wednesday, from 11:00 to11:45 am, Teryl Willis offers Chair Yoga. She focuses on senior 
yoga techniques that are geared toward gentle movements, breathing techniques and balance 
improvement. Hmmm? On Friday, longtime volunteer, Lisa Brandley, conducts a free Strength 
Training class from 1:00 to 1:45 pm. The class utilizes light weights (supplied), for low-impact 
resistance training. No excuses, right?

 I need to give my guardian angel a well-deserved rest…as it is, he or she is now sporting double-
strength support hose and has put in ads in the Penny Saver for several stand-by angels. Wish me well!


HELPFUL HINT: After boiling Pasta or potatoes, cool the water and use it to water your 
houseplants. The water contains nutrients that your plants will love. 



This is a true account as recorded in the Police Log of Sarasota, Florida. An elderly lady did her 
shopping and upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She 
dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her voice, 
“I have a gun and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!” The four men didn’t wait for a second 
invitation. They got out and ran like mad. The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her 
shopping bags into the car and got in the driver’s seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her 
key into the ignition. She tried and tried and then it dawned on her why. For the same reason she did 
not understand why there was a football, a Frisbee and two 12 packs of beer in the front seat! A few 
minutes later, she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags 
into the car and drove to the police station to report her mistake. The sergeant to whom she told her 
story couldn’t stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter where four pale men were 
reporting a carjacking by a mad, elderly woman carrying a large handgun. No charges were filed. If 
you’re going to have a senior moment, make it memorable!

 ~ ~ ~ 

 Did you hear about the scientists who crossed a sheep with a porcupine? They got an animal that 
knits its own sweaters. (Groaning is recommended) 



HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … January Birthdays…

Mary Tassop, Judy Webb-Martin, Mary Bickel, Marlene Enmark, Ross Kellock, Ruth Wolter, 
Sue Watanbe, Sandy Thistlewaite, Bobbi Rahmanian, Fran Syverson, Shirley Wolff, Judy 
Zaretzka and Becky Evans. *To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper 
at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required.


Quote of the Week: If you cannot be a poet, be the poem. ~ David Carradine


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park House 
(Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre

YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256


 Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month 11:00 am-12:00 pm: A nurse from 
Methodist Hospital, Arcadia volunteers to do the readings. No appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: Every Wednesday morning from 11:00 am-11:45 am Volunteer Teryl Willis offers 
this class that focuses on senior yoga techniques. It is geared toward gentle movements, breathing 
techniques and balance improvement. No reservations are necessary.

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of the

month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours* Conflicting court schedules can 

 occasionally cause cancellations.

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays of 
our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, one-of-a-kind 
chess table is anxious for players.


Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm. Conducted by long-time 
volunteer, Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to socialize with 
your peers. (Gossip included)

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House (Senior Center). Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm. Only .25c per card… For more information 
call Pat at 626.355.7290.


Autry National Center-Guided Tour (Griffith Park, Los Angeles) 
Date: Thursday, January 31, 2013

 Time: 9:30 am- 3:00 pm

 Meeting Location: Hart Park House Senior Center

 Cost: $20.00 (does not include lunch)

Don’t miss a visit to this historic museum which explores and shares the stories, experiences and 
perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West. A one hour guided tour will be given upon 
arrival followed by lunch on your own at the Autry Café and/or independent exploring of the vast 
collections of art and artifacts. For more information please visit 

* And, “save the date” for the following excursions…more information on each is forthcoming…

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise Date: Friday, February 22, 2013

Description: View actual costumes from movies released in 2012, including 2012 Academy Award 
Winner for Best Costume, The Artist.

Jeopardy Taping at the Sony Lot Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Description: Attend a taping of America’s favorite quiz show. Test your knowledge while host Alex 
Trebek challenges the contestants.


Senior Movie Program: FREE movies are shown on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. The 
films, one contemporary and one vintage, are chosen by the seniors themselves. January’s selections 

January 23- The Sound of Music (1965) In Rogers and Hammerstein’s greatest collaboration, a feisty 
postulant named Maria (Julie Andrews) is sent to care for the unruly, motherless Von Trapp children. 
She soon tames them…and finds herself falling for their stern father (Christopher Plummer). The 
Oscar-winning director Robert Wise used stunning Austrian locations to transform the popular stage 
musical into a cinema classic in which the hills truly seemed to come alive.

(Run time is 174 minutes) Start time: 1:00 PM 

All movies are shown in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. 


 Growing up without a TV, 
I’ve never been up on current 
events. However, it’d be hard 
to escape coverage of Lance 
Armstrong’s recent doping confession.

 Yes, what’s long been suspected is now 
undeniable: Lance was taking human growth 
hormone, testosterone, oxygenated blood, “Pop 
Rocks” with Red Bull, and who knows what else. 
A hero defrocked. So sad. But let’s not get too 
self-righteous; if the man says “everyone was 
doing it,” who are we to judge?

 I do not, in any way, condone the use of illegal, 
potentially harmful artificial stimulants (except 
perhaps caffeine --as in coffee, not Red Bull). 
Of course, injecting yourself with hormones or 
doctored blood can’t be good for you. But we 
have these competitions, such as the Olympics 
and the Tour de France, etc. For the majority of 
athletes, this is their only opportunity to shine 
before they succumb to the inevitable pitfalls of 
age and injury. And to top it off, they’re probably 
competing against others who are cheating 
with the latest form of doping. And let’s not forget all the lying regarding participants’ ages 
(and sometimes gender). That girl twirling through the air is so young that that she has no 
discernable hips, but they claim she’s 16. You can’t blame her parents for not keeping birth 
records in the wilds of rural North Korea.

 To say it’s unfair is a gross understatement. But how do we right this wrong? Like the 
market for illegal drugs, the practice isn’t going to stop just because someone says it’s not 
allowed. No matter how sophisticated pre-game testing gets, there are still going to be the 
persistent few (or many) who lie and shoot up with some contraband substance.

 I propose a new approach to this perennial problem. Why not have our same competitions, 
but allow everyone to use whatever enhancing substances they choose? There’d have to be a 
comprehensive legal waiver; something along the lines of “If your chest explodes while racing 
to the finish line, we’re not responsible.” “Managers of child laborers assume all liability.”

 Some might find this morbid or immoral. But I don’t consider it any worse than the 
standards we have now. There could, of course, be “clean” games to offset “dirty” ones. For 
these competitions, participants would have to actually follow the rules. Of course, there 
probably wouldn’t be the spectacular feats of human strength and endurance we’re used to 
seeing --primarily because the athletes would be limited to their actual human strength and 
endurance. But even these events would probably soon become as contaminated as our 
current system.

 At the end of the day, it’s no doubt best to simply acknowledge the achievements of those 
who’ve won. Don’t give them ten million dollars. Don’t sign them up for sponsorship 
contracts. Don’t plaster their face on boxes of Wheaties. Don’t make them into some kind 
of moral role model for schoolchildren. They didn’t find a cure for cancer or save a village in 
Africa. They won a race. Maybe if we kept things in perspective, athletes and their coaches 
wouldn’t feel driven to such acts of chicanery. In the meantime, we might choose to find a 
channel that’s not sensationalizing Armstrong’s fall from grace. And we can look forward to 
the 2016 games in Rio. Oh, boy.