Q: I’ve heard a lot about road rage lately and wonder if seniors are targeted victims. If so, what can we do to protect ourselves?

A: It appears that road rage continues to be part of our lives. However, I think this type of anger is more likely directed at drivers’ behaviors rather than at particular age groups. To help avoid becoming a victim of this crime we need to mind our manners and be courteous behind the wheel.

If you become aggravated just remember the old saying, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If everyone practiced this behavior we would soon have much less road rage.

Meanwhile there are some simple things that you can do that will help. While on the road give yourself and others room to maneuver. Allow space between your vehicle and the one in front. Tailgating can be dangerous in more than one way.

Don’t hog the passing lane. Pass the slower vehicle and move over. Give the next driver a chance. Also don’t drive too slowly — try to keep to the speed limit in the area in which you are driving — weather permitting of course.

Let others know your intentions. Always use your signal indicator when changing lanes or making turns whether left-hand or right-hand maneuvers. And make sure your signal indicator goes out after you have completed the turn.

Don’t offend other’s senses. Avoid unnecessary use of horn or high-beam headlights. When using your radio make sure not to inflict your music choice on others near you.

When parking use only one parking space and be careful when opening your door. Don’t let it hit the vehicle next to you.

Patience and good manners are catching — so give it a try — you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Q: I will need to place a family member in a care facility in the near future. Do you have any suggestions on how I should start my search for an appropriate facility?

A: Finding the appropriate facility takes time and effort. But spending time early in the process will make the transition to a care facility much easier for all involved.

First determine how many facilities are in your area. This can be achieved in a number of ways. A list of facilities in Ventura County is available from the Long Term Care Ombudsman at 656-1986. You can also learn of appropriate facilities through hospital discharge planners, social workers, physicians who serve the elderly and volunteer organizations that work with the elderly or chronically ill. The Senior Advocate’s office is also a good resource center.

Next narrow that list by eliminating those facilities which do not meet your specific requirements. If you will be depending on Medicare or MediCal for financial assistance make certain the facility accepts that type of payment. If you expect an HMO or PPO to assist with covering the costs check to see if the facility has a contract with your particular HMO or PPO.

Does your family have specific religious or cultural preferences? If yes, check with the facility to determine if they provide the types of environment required. Are there special medical conditions or dementia? If so make sure the facility is capable and licensed to meet these special circumstances.

Location is a very important factor. If you have a choice, select a facility that can be easily visited. Frequent visits are the best way to make sure your loved one does well. Transition to this new environment is made easier for all concerned when visits can be made easily and frequently.

After you have narrowed your list you are ready to start visiting the facilities you have selected. Always call and schedule a visit to ensure that a staff person who can answer your questions will be available. When you find a facility you like but there are no current vacancies put your name on the waiting list.

Hope these suggestions help. Good luck in your search.

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