Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 27, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 12

tHe Good lIFe Mountain Views News Saturday, July 27, 2013 12 tHe Good lIFe Mountain Views News Saturday, July 27, 2013 12 
HoW to HelP SeNIorS exteNd tHeIr drIVING 


Dear Savvy Senior:
What tips or resources can you recommend 
to help seniors with their driving skills? My 
84-year-old mother is still a capable driver, but 
she has declined a little in recent years and could 
definitely use some help. Concerned Daughter 

Dear Concerned: 
With more and more Americans driving well into their 70s, 80s and beyond, there are lots of tips, 
tools and programs available today to help elderly seniors drive safer and longer. Here are several 
that may help. 

Schedule an eye exam: Because about 90 percent of the information necessary to drive is received 
through our eyes, this is a good first step in ensuring your mom’s driving safety. So get your mom’s 
eyes checked every year to be sure her vision is up to par. 

Check her meds: Does your mom take any medicine or combination of medicines that could impair 
her driving? A new resource that can help with this is Roadwise Rx, an online assessment tool at that provides personalized feedback on how the medications your mom is taking 
can impact her safety behind the wheel. 

Evaluate her driving: A do-it-yourself driving assessment is a simple way to help your mom get a 
handle on her driving abilities and vulnerabilities. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has some 
great resources on their website to help with this. Just go to, click on “Evaluate 
Your Driving Ability” then on “Self-Rating Tool” and have her take the Drivers 65-Plus self-rating 
exercise. Then, click on “Interactive Driving Evaluation” and download the AAA Roadwise Review. 
This is a free confidential online screening tool that will test her vision and reaction time, which are 
very important for safe driving. 

Take a refresher course: AARP and AAA both have older driver refresher courses that can help your 
mom brush up her driving skills, and learn how to manage and accommodate common age-related 
changes in vision, hearing and reaction time. Taking a class may also earn her a discount on her auto 
insurance. To locate a class contact your local AAA ( or AARP (, 888-2277669). 
Most courses cost under $20 and can be taken in the classroom or online. 

Another good resource to look into is CarFit. This is a free assessment program that will help your 
mom adjust her vehicle for a better fit, making it easier and safer to drive. CarFit events are held 
around the country in select locations. See to look for one near you. 

Get a professional assessment: If your mom needs some extra help, consider getting a professional 
assessment done by a driver rehabilitation specialist. They will evaluate her driving ability and test 
for things like reaction time, decision-making skills, as well as how well she and her car fit together, 
pinpointing trouble areas and offering solutions. This type of assessment can cost several hundred 
dollars. To locate a professional, contact the Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (drivered.
org, 866-672-9466) or the American Occupational Therapy Association ( 

Make some adjustments: Recognizing vulnerabilities and adapting her driving habits to compensate 
for them can go a long way in helping keep your mom safe and driving longer. Some simple 
adjustments include not driving after dark or during rush hour traffic, avoiding major highways or 
other busy roads, and not driving in poor weather conditions. 

It’s also good to know if there are any older driver’s license renewal provisions in your mom’s state, 
which you can get by calling her nearby driver’s license office or at 

When to quit: If it gets to the point that your mom’s driving isn’t safe anymore and she needs to 
quit, The Hartford Financial Services Group and MIT AgeLab provides online resources and free 
publications like “We Need to Talk: Family Conversations with Older Drivers” that you can access at 

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


Woo Hoo!! I’m so thankful to God that I can RUN again! In February I 

wrote an article chronicling (what I perceived to be) the decline of my health and 

overall well being. My 30th birthday was marked by the injuring of my ankle, an 

eye infection, and a seasonal illness. I was a real sight at work, limping around 

with a black brace engulfing my ankle and a bloody eye caused by a burst blood 


 Not being endowed with great coordination or athletic skill, running and 

walking were my only forms of exercise. Maintaining balance on a bike, throwing, 
hitting, or kicking balls were beyond me. Forget organized sports! Putting one foot in front of the 
other in the same direction --that’s something I could do.

 For months I moped about and felt sorry for myself (I’m ashamed 
to say). However, despite the injury I had many things to thank 
God for! I was ambulatory, my ankle never swelled up or turned 
black. And I had a job, health insurance, a wonderful doctor, and a 
wonderful pastor who is also a doctor! At their suggestion, I started 
physical therapy at Catz in Pasadena and have been ecstatic with 
the results!

 I must admit feeling a little self-conscious walking into Catz 
on the first day. There were a lot of fashionable high school-aged 
girls and boys running, swinging dumbbells around, and generally 
exuding perfect health. Thirty years felt like 100 at that moment. 
My therapist introduced himself and began instructing me in some 
beginning exercises. Until that time I had no idea how weakened 
I’d become! Attempting simple balance exercises made my knees 
wobble like a land lubber on the high seas! Thank God that most of 
the Catz exercises can be duplicated at home with little to no special 

 After a few weeks of physical therapy my therapist allowed me 
to attempt a little running. It was baby steps at first. For now I still 
take down hill portions of my run in mincing steps. I probably look 
silly but I don’t care, as long as I don’t reinjure myself!

 While I’m not 100% back to my old self, I am very thankful to 
be able to complete my old route in one piece. Of course I wish my 
injury never happened, but I am thankful to God for bringing me 
through it. I’ve always thanked God for the ability and opportunity 
to run, and now I am doubly thankful! 


By Pat Birdsall 

FYI - ImProPer uSe oF medICatIoNS 

Taking a prescription medication as directed by a doctor is generally safe and effective. But lately, 
there has been a rise in the number of older adults who are using their medicines improperly and 
suffering the consequences. Recent reports show increased hospitalizations and visits to the emergency 
rooms by older people due to improper use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well 
as illicit drugs. Painkillers, Depressants, and Stimulants: These types of prescription medications 
are most commonly abused by people of any age. Hospital admissions for older adults however, were 
mostly linked to overdoses from pain medications and withdrawal symptoms from other addictive 
drugs such as sleeping pills. 

Unintentional Abuse: Some people accidentally take medications incorrectly, often without knowing 
it or without intending to. They may forget to take their medication, take it too often or take the wrong 
amount. As people get older, trouble with vision or memory can make it hard to use medications 
correctly. Taking lots of medications at different times of the day can be confusing. Another common 
problem is having more than one doctor who prescribes medicines, but no single doctor who monitors 
them and checks for any interactions. Intentional Abuse: When a person knowingly uses prescription 
medicines the wrong way, takes medications not prescribed for them, or combines them with alcohol 
or illicit drugs it is defined as intended abuse. People may do this to feel good, feel better, or to calm 
down. Sometimes a big change, such as retirement, the death of a loved one, or failing health, can 
lead to loneliness, boredom, anxiety or depression. That can prompt a person to begin, continue, or 
increase the abuse of medicines or other or other drugs. Risk for Older 

Adults: Older adults suffer serious consequences from even moderate drug abuse because of several 
risk factors. As the body ages, it cannot absorb and break down medications and drugs as easily as 
it used to. As a result, even when an older adult takes a medication properly, it may remain in the 
body longer than it would in a younger person. Aging brains are also different than young ones and 
may be at greater risk for harmful drug effects (on memory and coordination, for example). Having 
other medical conditions (such as heart disease) and taking medications to treat them while abusing 
prescriptions drugs at the same time also presents unique risks for older people. Be aware…take stock 
of your situation. 


HELPFUL HINT: When reheating leftover rice in the microwave, put an ice cube on 
top of the rice and it will melt as the rice reheats, giving it much-needed moisture. 


FOR YOUR FUNNY BONE - A man stepped onto the overnight train and told the 
conductor, “I need you to wake me up in Philadelphia. I’m a deep sleeper and can be ornery when I 
get up, but no matter what, I want you to help me make that stop. Here’s $100.00 to make sure.” The 
conductor agreed. The man fell asleep, and when he awoke he heard the announcement that the train 
was approaching New York. Furious, he collared the conductor. “I gave you $100.00 to make sure I got 
off in Philadelphia, you worthless fool!” “Wow,” another passenger said to his traveling companion. 
“Is that guy ever mad!” “Yeah,” his companion replied. “But not half as mad as that guy they forced offthe train in Philadelphia.”

 ~ ~ ~ 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … July Birthdays 

Nina Bartolai, Mary Lou Caldwell, Louise Neiby, Eunice Banis, Betty Hansen, Christine 
Durfort, Shahrzad Azrani, Jeanne Borgedahl, Janet Cox, Dorothy Montgomery, Bess 
Pancoska, Janet Swanson, Linda Thunes, Barbara Watson, Pat Alcorn, Karma Bell, Alice 
Clark, Dorothy Jerneycic, and Betty DosRemedios. 

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not 

Quote of the Week: “Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.” 
~Jonathan Kozel 


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 Balance Class: Every 3rd Monday for 11:00 am to 11:45 am with Shannon Vandevelde. A 
variety of balance exercises are practiced; all ability levels are encouraged and welcomed. 

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: New Hours: 11:00 to 11:45 Every Wednesday morning. Join Paul Hagen for this 
free class that focuses on senior yoga techniques. No reservation is 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. 

Lunch and Learn: Wednesday, June 26th, 12:15 to 1:00 pmCome listen to the great services offered by Humana, a widely known company throughoutour community and the country. Their motto entails: “Healthy People, Healthy Planet, HealthyPerformance.” They promote seniors and their well-being. 

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. 

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 Birdsall at 626.355.7290. 


Save the Dates! 

Friday, August 16, 2013- USS Iowa (San Pedro) 

Registration can be done in person at the Hart Park House Senior Center & Community Recreation 
Center or online at Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted. Make 
checks payable to “City of Sierra Madre.” Payment must be made at the time of registration. 

Senior Movie Program: 

FREE movies are chosen by the seniors themselves and shown on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the 
month in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. ~ Start 
time is 1:00pm ~