QUESTION: My question concerns driving. As a senior I know that changes occur as we age that could, among other things, affect our driving skills. Do you have any suggestions on how to counter these issues?
ANSWER: Much has been said about this subject. It has been and still is written about and discussed at great length.
To answer your question I’ll try to address the three areas that I find of most importance — changes in vision, reaction time and physical/mental fitness.
First, we all know that vision changes occur with age. We know that older people need more light to see than young people and we also know that as we age it takes longer for our eyes to adjust from lightness to darkness.
To overcome these shortcomings it is essential that we have regular eye exams every year. Aside from having exams annually there are a few changes you can make in your driving habits that can help overcome those changes.
If you have trouble with night vision limit your driving to daytime hours. To provide clearer vision keep your mirrors, windshield and rear window clean. Also if you have a peripheral vision problem make sure you are aware of what is in front, back and alongside of you by turning your head frequently.
Most of all avoid distracted driving – keep your eyes and mind on the road.
Reaction time slows with age which makes it necessary to take some steps that help overcome the need for more time to sense a problem, decide what action to take and then taking that action.
Allow yourself more time to react by leaving more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Plan your route ahead of time – this will help by eliminating the need to make last minute decisions about how to get to where you need to go and familiarize you with the route.
If the speed and congestion of freeways make you nervous then avoid using them whenever possible. Discover how to get around by using local roads.
Again eliminate distractions and keep your eyes and mind on your driving. A silent ride is always a safer ride.
Staying physically and mentality fit is very important. Driving a car takes physical strength and mental alertness. To stay physically fit you need some type of physical activity that gets you out of your chair. Sitting for prolonged periods of time does affect us physically. For mental fitness you need an activity that makes you think. Watching TV for hours on end does not stimulate the brain – perhaps doing some puzzles or learning something new would be a better choice.
These are just a few thoughts on the subject – talk it over with friends and come up with some activities that would help improve both physical and mental strength. Hope this gives you some ideas – happy safe driving.
SUNDAY – June 3 – Ladin Subaru 25th Annual Love Run – half marathon, 10K, 5K and 1-mile walk/run race at 3011 Townsgate Road in Westlake Village. For more information call 1-805-497-0189.
WEDNESDAY – June 6 – 1:00 pm – “Meet the 2018 Senior of the Year Nominees” at Thousand Oaks Council on Aging meeting, at Civic Arts Plaza Board Room, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.
THURSDAY – June 7 – 5:30 pm – 2018 Thousand Oaks Senior of the Year Dinner and Award Ceremony – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $6 and available at Goebel’s front desk.
FRIDAY – June 8 – 8:30 am to 1:00 PM – AARP Smart Driver Refresher Course – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Reservations required and can be made at 1-805-381-2744.
THURSDAY –June 14 – 10:00 to 11:30 am – Seminar – “Questions to Ask Before Hiring In-Home Care” – at Agoura Hills Recreation & Event Center, 29900 Ladyface Court in Agoura Hills. For reservations call (818) 597-7361.
FRIDAY – June 15 – 5:00 pm – “Annual Summer BBQ – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $9 and available at Goebel’s front desk – enjoy an evening of dinner, live music, entertainment and tons of fun.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks CA 91362 or call 1-805-495-6250 or e-mail email@example.com (please include your telephone number.) You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.