Published on December 29, 2007
Erie County’s Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network: Erie County’s Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network For families, friends, caregivers and loved ones concerned about the safety of an at-risk driver “Caring People Do Address Driving Concerns”: “Caring People Do Address Driving Concerns” Slide3: Do you remember getting your license? What did it mean to you?: What did it mean to you? Independence Self-sufficiency Freedom Self-reliance Go where I want when I want Mobility Slide5: The Help Network knows how important safe mobility is for people of all ages. Why be concerned, particularly about older drivers?: Why be concerned, particularly about older drivers? Nationally, almost 8,000 people aged 65+ died in 1999. Another 209,000 suffered non-fatal injuries in crashes. An older driver is more vulnerable to injury in a crash than a younger driver There are increasing numbers of older drivers in Erie County Good news about older drivers?: Good news about older drivers? Older adults wear seat belts more than any other group (except infants/preschoolers) Older drivers limit driving during bad weather and at night Older drivers drive fewer miles 2001 Administration on Aging Profile: 2001 Administration on Aging Profile Predict that by 2030, 70 million older adults nationally Nationally, 30% of seniors live alone Only about 5% are institutionalized Slide9: Is ranked 3rd nationally for the number of people 60+ With 3,204,331 people 60+, that’s 16.9% of total population New York State Erie County—2000 Census: Erie County—2000 Census 189,909 people were aged 60+ = 20% of total County population, higher than New York State or national averages 75,051 of those were 75+ a 52% increase over 1980 Slide11: Erie County’s Changing Age Structure – Projections indicate ¼ of the population will be 60+ in 2015 Source: NYS Statistical Information System, Cornell University NY State Office for the Aging conducted two surveys of caregivers: NY State Office for the Aging conducted two surveys of caregivers One survey of caregivers concerned about an at-risk older driver Another survey of caregivers who had successfully resolved an at-risk older driver situation by either assisting the driver to drive safely or retire from driving Why families, friends, caregivers and loved ones?: Why families, friends, caregivers and loved ones? 79% were female family members or close relative, often living less than ½ hour away. Most had jobs or were caring for other family members, including children. 70% were concerned for a year or longer. The NY State Office for the Aging surveyed 123 families in 1997 concerned about an unsafe driver: Families and friends care about loved ones: Families and friends care about loved ones 90% of the drivers about whom they were concerned lived in their own home, with 75% living alone. 80% respondents were concerned about taking away the person’s independence. Survey results were distilled into a helpful handbook: Survey results were distilled into a helpful handbook For a copy: Visit www.erie.gov/driving for a link to the New York State Office for Aging site Or call the Help Network number, (716) 858-8526 Help Network for Caregivers formed in Erie County, 2001: Help Network for Caregivers formed in Erie County, 2001 Family, friends and caregivers often know when aging loved ones are driving “at-risk” They want to protect the driver, but often don’t know what to do or where to turn for help What is the Help Network?: What is the Help Network? Consists of organizations serving Erie County Experts in the areas of health, driving, law enforcement, and aging Erie County’s Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network: Erie County’s Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network Supplies information about available services Helps caregivers with problem-solving Works to remove barriers to services Helps caregivers to assist an at-risk driver to either drive safely or step away from the wheel “My friend is 93 – and still driving his own car.”: “My friend is 93 – and still driving his own car.” The Help Network Understands: The Help Network Understands It is not a driver’s age which is of concern, but how that driver functions on the road. How can someone tell if their loved one is at-risk driving?: How can someone tell if their loved one is at-risk driving? Complete a driving safety checklist In-car assessment by a driver rehabilitation specialist or professional driving instructor Are you concerned about anybody’s driving right now?: Are you concerned about anybody’s driving right now? Have you ever addressed driving concerns with a loved one? Do you know someone who…: Do you know someone who… Doesn’t obey stop signs, traffic lights, or yield the right-of-way Doesn’t obey other traffic signs (no left turn, no turn on red, etc.) Drives too slowly – usually well below the speed limit Get lost routinely – taking 2 hours to get to the hairdresser or home Do you know someone who…: Do you know someone who… Drives aggressively Stops inappropriately Doesn’t pay attention to other vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, road hazards Doesn’t stay in lane when turning and driving straight Has been involved in multiple fender-benders Do you know someone who…: Do you know someone who… Driver’s spouse, companion, driver’s friends or passengers repeatedly comment about close calls, near misses, driver not seeing other vehicles or unsafe driving Has been ticketed for moving violations Gets honked at often Slide26: Any of these scenarios seem familiar to you?? Anyone with these medical and behavioral concerns?: Anyone with these medical and behavioral concerns? Vision problems (cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy) Problems with judgment or indecisiveness Memory loss Disorientation Or these?: Or these? Disinhibition (no longer feeling inhibited—improper behavior in social situations) Squinting, not following visual patterns Not being quick verbally Mobility problems Inadaptability Fatigue Confusion Or these?: Or these? Not hearing or following verbal instructions Giving inappropriate responses Tripping and falling, especially when changing positions or walking on uneven ground Trouble with fine or gross motor tasks, especially stiff joints Dizziness when changing positions Shortness of breath Slide30: A son visiting his father asked why his father had a check made out to the utility company. The father replied “I ran into their utility pole” Son asked “Do you think it’s time to stop driving?” Father replied “Yeah – it’s getting kind of expensive.” This wasn’t the first time. Other signs of an at-risk driver?: Other signs of an at-risk driver? Increases in the driver’s car insurance premium may indicate that driver has had a crash you don’t know about or that driver has been ticketed Problems with daily living and personal care such as grooming and dressing Changes in behavior or personality If so, a crash is a real possibility: If so, a crash is a real possibility Why are some reluctant to take action?: Why are some reluctant to take action? Don’t want to take away driver’s independence May need to provide transportation for the driver Don’t want to have to deal with driver’s anger Consequences of not acting?: Consequences of not acting? Severe injury or death of the driver or their passenger A child on a bicycle might be hurt Nagging questions left if you do not act Driver’s estate tangled up in legal action Driver’s lifetime record of safe driving ends in sadness and unspeakable regret Slide35: We place a higher value on driver and community safety We place a very high value on an older driver’s independence Slide36: The Help Network knows how sensitive the issue can be…to assist, the Help Network has a suggested flowchart to ensure your success in navigating to a successful end. We’re available at any step along the way. Slide37: What can you do if you suspect someone is an at-risk driver? A key question:Does your driver comprehend?Is there a cognitive impairment? : A key question: Does your driver comprehend? Is there a cognitive impairment? Will your driver understand that passing stop signs, not being able to see clearly, or becoming disoriented makes them unsafe to drive? If the driver can understand the consequences of their driving behavior: If the driver can understand the consequences of their driving behavior Will medical intervention help?: Will medical intervention help? Will a change in medications make driving safe? Cataract surgery? Slide41: Driver had driving evaluation -- they contacted her physician to arrange a change in a medication that was adversely affecting her driving. A driver, reported to DMV by his family, passed two retests, but failed the third! Why? He took his medications at noon and the third test was given in the afternoon. Possible solutions? Change the time of medications; no driving after taking the medication, or change the medications themselves if possible Driver, involved in several driving incidents, “bumped” the license plate of car ahead, and followed home by police officer after scraping a car in grocery store parking lot, had cataract surgery to dramatically improve her ability to see Will a skills upgrade help driver?: Will a skills upgrade help driver? Classes are offered by AAA AARP Driving schools are available for practicing skills Will adaptive equipment help driver?Will equipment compensate for physical limitations?: Will adaptive equipment help driver? Will equipment compensate for physical limitations? Driver evaluations including advice about adaptive equipment are available Erie County Medical Center DeGraff Hospital When the driver cannot improve…: When the driver cannot improve… Talk with the driver about leaving the wheel Family conversation strategies are included in the handbook, When You Are Concerned Offer a plan for transportation in place of driving the car (family, friends, senior van, taxi, volunteer driver) If driver refuses to leave the wheel: If driver refuses to leave the wheel Have police officer talk to driver Have family attorney talk with driver Have physician talk with the driver (a driver will follow their doctor’s advice to leave the wheel 80% of the time) Slide46: Several local physicians write “Do Not Drive” prescriptions when a driver is not safe to drive “They’ll have to pry my car keys out of my dead, lifeless hands –The day I can’t drive myself is the day I die.”: “They’ll have to pry my car keys out of my dead, lifeless hands – The day I can’t drive myself is the day I die.” If driver still refuses to recognize their unsafe driving: If driver still refuses to recognize their unsafe driving Ask DMV to retest driver Ask physician to file immediate suspension report with DMV Who can contact DMV to request a driver evaluation?: Who can contact DMV to request a driver evaluation? Police officer (DS-5 form) Physician (DS-6) Any concerned citizen (DS-7) Any concerned citizen may write a letter of concern to DMV: Any concerned citizen may write a letter of concern to DMV A sample letter form is available at www.erie.gov/driving or by calling the Help Network at 858-8526 The form includes all of the required components Letter of Concern (DS-7): Letter of Concern (DS-7) Name and address of driver Any specific driving concerns (list specific observations, include dates if possible) Any medical concerns Must have Notary Public officially witness signature (writer may request anonymity if desired) Include address, phone number and contact information so DMV can verify information DMV may: DMV may Check with writer to verify information Request a physician’s evaluation Require a written test Require a road test DMV can: DMV can Suspend a driver’s license immediately Place restrictions on a license What if my at-risk driver is cognitively impaired? Has dementia, for example?: What if my at-risk driver is cognitively impaired? Has dementia, for example? Have a meeting with other family members to discuss what steps to take Consult with the Alzheimer’s Association for education, training, and support groups for help with dealing with dementia and driving Slide55: Driver, diagnosed with dementia was “the driver” in the family, his wife rarely taking the wheel. After reviewing the handbook When You Are Concerned, family took the following steps Purchased a smaller car, so the wife could drive more easily. Wife gradually took over driving responsibilities. Wife took advantage of his “dizzy” episode to tell him that perhaps he should let her drive. Successfully distracted him from driving by saying, “Let me drive now, we’ll see about later.” On couple of occasions he was insistent about driving, let him drive in the driveway. Slide56: The Help Network has assisted several cases involving older drivers diagnosed with dementia who drive after drinking… Referred for a driving evaluation by physician Failed the driving evaluation Refused to leave the wheel Reported to DMV by physician Continued to drive Failed DMV road test; license suspended Continued to drive even after suspension Issued a ticket by the police No longer driving after court intervention Remove or alter keysDisable vehicleRemove vehicle: Remove or alter keys Disable vehicle Remove vehicle Extreme Situations May Call for Extreme Measures Slide58: Driver was missing. Son-in-law CB’d truck drivers to look for him. The driver was found trying unsuccessfully to drive his car up the stairs at the local school. He had just driven down the stairs. The son-in-law had the car towed to the back of his property even though driver’s wife was very upset about it. Slide59: One family had a driver diagnosed with dementia; we were involved too late to prevent a crash. Driver refused to stop driving, and even put a deadbolt on the garage so the family could not get the car away from him. Family was unsuccessful in getting the doctor to write a letter to DMV, and were unaware that they could write a letter to DMV themselves. Driver’s wife resisted action (he was her driver). Result: Driver swerved into on-coming traffic and both he and his wife were hospitalized as a result of the severe accident. When a driver “retires” from driving: When a driver “retires” from driving How do they get where they want, when they want? Family, friends, neighbors, van service, taxi Do they have other needs for more services? The Help Network can help connect to services throughout the community, including information, assistance, driver evaluation and rehab, transportation options, support groups and much more Slide61: Numerous Transportation Options in Erie County Senior Services’ Going Places Van for medical, nutritional and social needs 895-0400 Taxi Services can set up accounts Senior Services Complimentary Card entitles seniors to ½ price fare on Metro Bus/Rail Our goal is safe mobility for all Erie County residents: Our goal is safe mobility for all Erie County residents Erie County’s Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network(716) 858-8526www.erie.gov/driving: Erie County’s Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network (716) 858-8526 www.erie.gov/driving Our Gratitude: Our Gratitude Phil LePore of the New York State Office for the Aging did a superb job of documenting the need for Help Networks and providing technical support as we became the first Help Network to address the needs of caregivers concerned about an at-risk older driver. “On the road again – can’t wait to get on the road again.”Willie Nelson: “On the road again – can’t wait to get on the road again.” Willie Nelson Slide66: AAA Western & Central New York AARP Driver Safety Program Alzheimer’s Association Amherst Town Court Buffalo Driving Schools, Inc. Care Connection Cheektowaga Senior Services Center for Transportation Injury Research City of Buffalo Police Dept., Accident Investigation Unit Community Concern Coordinated Care Management Corporation Driver Rehabilitation Services, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Kaleida Health Erie County Auto Bureau Erie County Department of Health Erie County Department of Senior Services Erie County Medical Center, Driver Evaluation Program, Occupational Therapy Department Erie County Office for the Disabled Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Traffic Bureau Help Network Members Erie County STOP DWI Erie County Traffic Safety Office Going Places Van, Erie County Dept. of Senior Services Kaleida Health, Gates Circle Health Group, Geriatric Ambulatory Program Medical Society, County of Erie Motor Vehicle Accident Clinic, Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo New York State Office for the Aging New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Buffalo District, Testing & Investigations Unit North Buffalo Community Center Phillip LePore, Consultant Schofield Residence Senior Outreach Services (Amherst, Clarence, Newstead) South Buffalo Community Association Southtowns Rural Preservation Co., Inc. Weinberg Campus West Seneca Police The Erie County Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network(716) 858-8526: The Erie County Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network (716) 858-8526 Slide68: Click Here for more information about the Erie County Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network – or go to www.erie.gov/driving For Information or Assistance about other programs available in Erie County for older adults, go to www.erie.gov/depts/seniorservices or call (716) 858-8526.