Drawing a clock can be used as initial screening tool for senior drivers

Somewhere down the road, most of us will start to forget where we left our keys. We’ll miss appointments here and there and struggle to find the words on the tip of our tongues. While this type of memory loss is part of normal aging, other cognitive changes – such as forgetting how to do routine tasks – may interfere with the ability to drive safely. The question is, how can licensing bureaus identify medically unfit drivers without discriminating based on age?

The “clock-drawing test” is proving to be a useful initial screening tool, said Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton. This standard test is normally part of a battery of tests used to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. But studies have shown a link between difficulties in drawing a simple clock and one’s ability to drive.

Evidence supporting the use of this test to detect potential driving problems is “moderate to strong,” Vrkljan said. “If someone can’t draw a clock, then I would want to do further testing.”


Posted by editor on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

10 Things People With Alzheimer’s Have Taught Me

I was a caregiver for my beloved Romanian life partner for seven years. Furthermore, I currently volunteer to make weekly visits to four women who live at Clare Bridge, a Brookdale Senior Living memory care facility in Overland Park, Kansas. (I refer to them as “my ladies.”) I have learned so much from these people. Here are the ten most important things they have taught me.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 15:06 | Permalink

In-depth look: Teens lead in vehicle accidents, but elderly more vulnerable

TAZEWELL COUNTY — A “silver tsunami” that began five years ago when the first wave of America’s baby boomers began turning 65 has led to an increasing number of older drivers on the road.

The perception that these older drivers are more likely to cause an accident isn’t quite accurate according to statistics, but most people will have to deal with the issue at some point, either as an older driver or as the adult child of a senior who may no longer be safe to drive.

According to a report generated by the Illinois Department of Transportation, seniors 65 and older accounted for 3.2 percent of serious injury car crashes, while teen drivers age 16-19 accounted for 9.4 percent of serious injury accidents statewide in 2014, the most recent year for which numbers are available.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 15:06 | Permalink

Study: Exercising could help elderly with memory

A new mental health study shows the elderly may have a fighting chance at reducing memory problems with the help of exercise.

Staying on the move could be the prescription for the aging population and their fight to stay mentally sharp, according to a study published this spring in the Journal of Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:06 | Permalink

Aging Boomers Highlight Need For More Geriatric Specialists

Health experts are struggling to narrow the gaps in Connecticut's geriatric care to meet the needs of the state's rapidly aging population.

The state needs more professionals to focus on geriatric care while also addressing other ways to meet the increasingly complex care needs of older residents, says the American Geriatric Society (AGS).

In Connecticut, only 134 certified geriatricians are currently practicing—caring for a 65-plus population that topped 577,000 in 2015, according to the AGS. And that population will continue to grow, the AGS says, with an elderly population of 956,000 expected by 2030. That growth will require an estimated 340 geriatric specialists to meet treatment needs.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:06 | Permalink

The Challenges of Aging-In-Place

In The New York Times piece "Aging in Place" columnist Jane E. Brody discusses the very real considerations that homeowners must take into account as they age. She brings up many valid points regarding the barriers to aging-in-place for older homeowners, and provides some great recourse and ideas for facing those challenges. However, as we continue the conversation around the housing crisis facing our aging population, it is vital that we also consider the aging-in-place needs of individuals with limited income.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:06 | Permalink

Safety event enables senior drivers to be safe

Driving is a privilege that most people depend on. For seniors, losing their license impacts their independence.

Staff and volunteers at Vintage Gardens Assisted Living and Genesis Rehabilitation hosted an event Thursday to promote safe driving for seniors. The American Occupational Therapy Association, AAA and AARP sponsored the one-day event at the facility, 3302 N. Woodbine Road.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:06 | Permalink

Build a roadmap to help seniors stop or reduce driving

Parents don’t hesitate to talk to their teenagers about driving safely, but who is talking to seniors? A scratch on the bumper or avoiding activities that require leaving home may be the first warning signs that families should talk with their aging parents about driving. But those conversations are not happening.

A new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, found that 95 percent of surveyed seniors have not talked to their loved ones about driving.

Many seniors rely on driving for the independence and freedom to go where they want, when they want. The idea of giving up driving sparks feelings of anger, anxiety and loneliness. Though many drivers can continue to drive safely as they get older, physical and cognitive changes may put older adults in jeopardy on the road.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:06 | Permalink

Letter of the Week: Medicare’s in-home care rules hurt seniors

In-home care

Medicare’s home health benefit is regarded as a clinically appropriate and cost-effective health-care setting preferred by American seniors. As seniors manage chronic conditions and myriad health challenges, Medicare’s home health benefit offers access to care that keeps patients at home and out of the hospital.




Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:06 | Permalink

Depression in Older Adults

Depression in Older Adults & the Elderly 

Have you lost interest in the activities you used to enjoy? Do you struggle with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness? Are you finding it harder and harder to get through the day? If so, you’re not alone. The good news: depression is not a normal or necessary part of aging. Senior depression can be treated, and with the right support, treatment, and self-help strategies you can feel better and live a happy and vibrant life.


Posted by editor on Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:06 | Permalink