Driving Safety Tips for Seniors

Despite older drivers having a higher accident rate, many senior are keen to keep hold of their license for as long as possible. And understandably so.  Driving can be a wonderful experience and is often the key to staying independent. But the stark reality is that as we age our driving changes and unfortunately, not always for the better. But there are some simple ways you can stay safe and enjoy worry-free driving for as long as possible.

Keep up to date with hearing and sight tests

Being a driver is all about reacting to what happens around you. To be able to do this, you need to make sure that you are in the best physical health possible, and this includes attending all appointments for hearing and sight tests when required. This gives you the chance to ensure that you are in optimum control of your vehicle, and you will notice if there is ever a problem.

Be aware of your limitations

Although you will, of course, want to drive as much as possible, you should be aware and accepting of what you can and can’t do. For example, if you know that you feel uncomfortable due to stiffening joints after half an hour behind the wheel, you should limit journeys to this length, or at least schedule regular breaks. Driving when you know there is something causing a problem for you can cause accidents, as it may take some of your attention away from the road.

Keep your employer informed 

There are many jobs that might require you to drive for a living, and if you want to remain at work rather than taking retirement it is vital that you make sure you are safe behind the wheel.  Having an open conversation with your employer is a great way to start this, as it means that they can understand any issues you might have with driving, and help you to solve them. There may be a way to adjust your workload to make it more suited to your driving abilities, and this means you can stay in work safely.

Take a refresher course

The roads are changing all the time, and because of this, it is always a good idea to take a refresher course. This can give you the confidence to drive as you wish without worrying, and the reassurance of a professional can help you to be as comfortable as possible while behind the wheel in the future.

For many seniors, driving is a crucial part of staying active and independent as they get older. It is important however that you recognize how your driving ability can change significantly as you age. But by looking after your health, keeping up-to-date with all your appointments and always being honest with yourself, you can ensure you stay safe on the road.

Day Trip to Richmond’s Agecroft Hall & the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, February 5th

Join us for a Day Trip to Richmond’s Agecroft Hall (agecrofthall.org)!

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Departing at 8:15 a.m. sharp on Wednesday, February 5, 2020
(Please be fifteen minutes early), returning at 4:30 p.m.

United Baptist Church
7100 Columbia Pike
Annandale Virginia
Agecroft Hall is an English Tudor manor house of the Stuart period that stood during the time of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James I. A snack will be offered, along with a bottle of water on the bus. You can bring a packed lunch, if desired. We will have a one-hour tour.

From Agecroft Hall, we will visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (vmfa.org) and stop for lunch at the museum’s restaurant, Amuse. After lunch, participants can visit a collection of Russian, American, and European masterpieces. For a small fee ($12) to the museum, there is an exhibit that includes the American artist, Edward Hopper’s work. The gift shop offers distinctive and creative gifts.

Cost: $50.00 per person (includes transportation/tour). Trips must be paid two weeks in advance (by January 29th) so that we can finalize plans.

For Additional Information/To Register:  Call the SCAS Office at (703) 941-1419 by Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 or send an email to shepherdscas@vacoxmail.com.   Trips must be prepaid for by January 29th.  Send your check To: SCAS, 7610 Newcastle Drive, Annandale, VA 22003.

Lunch N’ Life, Thursday, February 27, 2020

“Conquer the Clutter”

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When it comes to organizing, why does it sometimes feel like an UPHILL BATTLE?!  This humorous presentation by Maria Spetalnik, a Board Certified Professional Organizer, will give you tools and tips to help you get started.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020
11:30am – 1:00pm

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
4801 Ravensworth Road
Annandale, Virginia 22003

Cost of Lunch: $10 per person

To Register:  Call the SCAS Office at (703) 941-1419 by Monday, February 24th or send an email to shepherdscas@vacoxmail.com.   Our lunches are catered so pre-payment is required.   Send your check To: SCAS, 7610 Newcastle Drive, Annandale, VA 22003.

Lunch N’ Life, Thursday January 23, 2020

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“An Antique Roadshow”

Thursday, January 23, 2020
11:30am – 1:00pm

Hope Lutheran Church
4604 Ravensworth Road
Annandale, Virginia 22003

Quinn’s Auction Galleries will display and present registered items from SCAS members, “quoting” and valuing them for our entertainment.
Call SCAS to register an item by January 9th.  Each attendee may bring 1 item for free appraisal.

Cost of Lunch: $10 per person
Lunch Menu:
Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole, Green Beans, Rolls, Salad & a Brownie  tray.

To Register: Call the SCAS Office at (703) 941-1419 by Monday, January 20th or send an email to shepherdscas@vacoxmail.com.   Our lunches are catered so pre-payment is required.   Mail your check to SCAS,  7610 Newcastle Drive, Annandale, VA 22003.

Metro Senior SmarTrip® Cards

The bright yellow Senior SmarTrip® card for citizens age 65 and older enables seniors to get the discounted fare on Metrobus and Metrorail. A SmarTrip® card is easy to use and faster than a farecard. Just touch it to the target on a faregate or farebox. Reduced fare will automatically be deducted. SmarTrip® eliminates the need to carry cash, coins, and transfers. You don’t lose the value of a registered SmarTrip® card if the card is lost or damaged. For a $2 replacement fee, you’ll get a new card with the value of the lost card at the time you notify Metro.

The Senior SmarTrip® card costs $2. To purchase the card, seniors need to show a valid government issued photo ID with proof of age at either the Metro sales office at Metro Center station (enter at 12th & F Streets), commuter stores, or selected public libraries located in Montgomery County.  For additional information, call SmarTrip® Customer Service at 1-888-762-7874 or TTY 703-620-8782.

Please note: Reduced fare SmarTrip® cards for senior citizens are not sold in vending machines located in Metro stations nor are parking fees reduced. The below are convenient Metro Connector Store locations where you can to apply for Senior SmarTrip cards.

Connector Store at Franconia-Springfield Metro Station
6880 Frontier Drive
(located on the pedestrian bridge next to the Metrorail entrance)
Springfield , VA 22150
Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Connector Store at Tysons-West Park Transit Station
8300 Jones Branch Drive
McLean , VA 22102
Monday – Friday 10:00am – 6:00pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

How to Create a Care Plan for an Aging Family Member

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When you’re caring for another person, every day presents new challenges. From changes in health status to changes in mood, caregivers must be ready to respond and adapt at a moment’s notice. But when you’re racing against the clock to prepare meals, organize medications, and keep house, it’s easy to miss the little things. That’s why it’s so important for family caregivers to develop a care plan that details daily caregiving needs. Only by being organized and methodical can caregivers can keep their days on track and manage their loved one’s evolving needs.

Creating a Care Plan

A care plan is an organizational tool that identifies, schedules, and assigns essential caregiving tasks. It should address routine needs like meals and medications as well as long-term objectives for your loved one’s wellbeing.

Start building your care plan by assessing activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).

ADLs are the basic tasks required for daily functioning. They include:

  • Bathing and grooming
  • Using the toilet
  • Dressing
  • Feeding
  • Walking

A senior who struggles with activities of daily living will require more hands-on, round-the-clock care than a senior who can meet their ADLs independently.

IADLs include more complex tasks, such as:

  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Preparing meals and shopping
  • Managing medications
  • Managing finances
  • Using the telephone
  • Using transportation (personal or public)

A person may be able to complete some IADLs independently while requiring help with others. For example, a senior in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may be able to keep up with housework but struggle to balance the checkbook and pay bills. Other seniors may be able to cook if ingredients are provided, or manage light chores but not heavier housekeeping. The University of Florida offers a helpful checklist that caregivers can use to assess their family member’s level of functioning.

In addition to the activities of daily living, a care plan should address long-term goals for your loved one’s wellbeing. Big picture goals might include losing or gaining weight, increasing social activity, or stabilizing a health condition. It’s OK to aim high, but make sure goals are realistic and achievable.

Building a Care Team

Caregiving is a big job that’s best shared across several people. Even if you’re the primary caregiver, family and friends can help out in big or small ways to relieve some of the workload. Perhaps a sibling can cook dinner one night a week or a neighbor kid can take the trash to the curb. Consider far-away relatives too. Even if someone can’t help in person, they may be able to lend a hand managing finances, scheduling appointments, or other tasks that can be done remotely. Every job that someone else can do is something off your own plate, and there’s no job that’s too small to make a difference.

Even if family and friends aren’t available to help, you still have options. You can hire a weekly housekeeper to handle deep cleaning, a companion to engage your loved one in meaningful activities, or a personal care attendant to assist with bathing and grooming. Hiring in-home help preserves your energy so you can remain patient and present when your loved one needs you most.

Finding Help

Being a full-time caregiver can be incredibly isolating, but you’re not alone. There is a wide range of services available to help family caregivers, from social services to support groups. In addition to hiring in-home help, caregivers should make the most of the following services:

  • Adult day services or adult day care
  • Caregiver support groups
  • Meal providers
  • Occupational therapy
  • Senior and medical transportation
  • Respite care

The Eldercare Locator can help you find services in your local community.

As a family caregiver, you’re instrumental to your loved one’s ability to age in place. However, the day-to-day demands of caregiving can be tedious and tiring, and burnout is common. By organizing duties into a care plan and utilizing the help available to you, you can manage your own stress while ensuring the highest quality of care for your family member.