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    NHTSA Announces New 5-Year Traffic Safety Plan and Guidelines for Older Drivers and Passengers.

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Dementia and Driving...what happens if you talk to your loved one about the cessation of their driving and that discussion does not go very well?

#alzheimersawareness #alzheimersassociation #alzheimers #alzheimersdisease #dementia #dementiaawareness #dementiacare #dementiasupport #elderlycare #elderly #elderlyparents #Elderlylivesmatter #elderlylove #vehicle #vehiclesafety

There are some older individuals that give up driving easily, particularly if they live in an area where there is public transportation. However, you should be prepared that your loved one has no intention of every stopping their driving. Your loved one probably does not know that their driving is not good. Dementia and Alzheimers symptoms creep up on people. It's much akin to gaining 50 pounds over 2 years. You eventually see the problem, but you wonder how you got there. Just be patient, but make sure your loved one understands your position on their driving. You cannot be too blunt...be kind and understand why the older individual wants to continue driving. The loss of independence can have very detrimental effects on people. You can also ask a trusted family member or an attorney to step in to help them understand the liability of continued driving.

Don't blame yourself if the conversation does not go well. Many older drivers will continue driving despite having a revoked license, no insurance and no licensing of their vehicle. Not having these does not physically stop them from driving. Many times the absolutely only thing you can do is to physically disable the vehicle. You can remove the line to the battery, removed the battery or many other things, including taking the keys if at all possible.

The most important thing you can do is to help older individuals getting transportation to avoid the loss of independence.

Ask a respected family authority figure or your attorney to reinforce the message about not driving.
If the conversation does not go well, do not blame yourself. The disease can impair insight and judgment, making it difficult for people to understand that their driving is no longer safe. Also the disease can cause mood and personality changes that make reactions more pronounced.
As a last resort, take away the car keys, disable the car or consider selling the car. When you do any of these things, be sure to provide safe, reliable alternative transportation.
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One of the most serious types of distracted driving is eating while driving. Did you know that eating while driving increases your likelihood of a crash by 3.6x compared to a driving who is not eating.

As we age, we really need to take account of how our bodies are aging and how our reflexes slow down. Eating while driving makes everything worse. Why is eating and driving so dangerous? Eating and driving often incorporates a combination of one or more distractions. Drivers must unwrap food packaging, use napkins, hold the food with at least one hand, apply condiments and complete other activities while operating a vehicle. Eating is also a cognitive distraction.

This list of dangerous foods to eat while driving almost seems comical. Who eats spaghetti while driving?? Unbelievably, if it's edible, then people will eat it while driving.
1) Coffee;
2) Soft Drinks;
3) Tacos;
4) Fried Chicken;
5) Hamburgers;
6) Ribs and Wings;
7) Jelly Doughnuts;
8) Soup;
9) Chocolate; and,
10) Spaghetti

So what do these 10 food items have in common? Well...if you spill it or drop it, there will be a big mess that will take your eyes off the road and there are multiple steps in consuming them. Who wouldn't be effected after spilling coffee on themselves? No many. So why even risk it. If you go to Starbucks, just go inside and drink your coffee. If you go to an Italian restaurant, either leave the remnants of your dinner there or put them into your trunk where you won't be tempted to eat it. If you are on a long road trip, then go get your food and make sure your car is parked while eating it. Or just don't put any food in your vehicle.

As an aside, many fast food restaurants now have designated parking spaces that you can pull into to eat after going thru the drive thru. Please don't increase the odds to getting into a crash.

#distraction #DistractedDriving #distractions
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Approximately 54% of older individuals take medications...sometimes over 5 different medications per day. AFODS has talked about how different medications can affect your driving. We haven't ever discussed how physically taking your medication while driving is dangerous and distracted driving.

Many people who take a variety of medications have a schedule of when to take each medication. One medication may be 3x/day...another 4x/day. So if you are following your schedule for your meds, should you physically take the pills while driving. This means, should you look down to get the pill bottle, take a pill out and then take it? It seems almost ridiculous to discuss this. Of course, it is distracted driving! So why do many of us do it.
The only way to plan a safe trip anywhere is to first understand what side effects your medication has. For example, pain killers can cause grogginess and fatigue. Eye drops can make your vision blurry. We then need to adjust the pill schedule accordingly so that you don't need to take them while on the road.

This seems sensible enough...so why do people still do this? Perhaps this is just another type of distracted driving that needs to now be discussed. Be safe!

#medication #medicationsafety #medicationmanagement #MedicationErrors #distraction #distracted #DistractedDriving
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