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AARP seminar on seniors and driving to be held Tuesday

An AARP “We Need to Talk – Family Conversations With Older Adults” seminar will be held at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, at 1120 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Class size is limited, so reservations can be made by calling 704-216-7714.
The AARP-sponsored 90-minute seminar guides families in determining when it’s time for their loved ones to change driving habits or to stop driving. The seminar is free and offers practical tips and advice on three main topics:
The Meaning of Driving, when having to change driving habits or give it up.
Observing Driving Skills — Learn to observe your loved one’s driving skills objectively and talk about alternatives to driving.
Planning Conversations — Discover how to have “the talk” while encouraging independence. It’s a difficult conversation to initiate, but with the right tools, you can really make a difference in the life of an older driver.
AARP, in conjunction with The Hartford and MIT AgeLab, developed the We Need to Talk Seminar based on their ongoing research on older drivers.
Old age alone is not a reason to quit driving, but you can learn to identify signs of driving problems that the older driver may not recognize. On average, men tend to outlive their safe driving abilities by six years and women 10 years. Thus, we need to consider transportation “Plan B” for when driving stops.
A major challenge for families and for communities is to ensure that people who limit or stop driving have access to mobility options that enable them to remain active participants in the life of their communities. The seminar purpose is to help persons have sensitive and successful conversations with family members and friends when they are concerned about that person’s driving safety. The We Need to Talk materials and seminar provides tips, guidance and resources to help with this important talk.
The program recognizes that older drivers are safe drivers. However, the risk of accident and fatality increases with age, especially age-related changes in physical or mental capabilities, other medical conditions and medications taken.
Some family concerns about the ability of an older driver to remain safe on the roads can be addressed by the person taking the AARP Driver Safety Refresher Course. Health professionals, such as driver rehabilitation specialists, are able to help in other situations, such as strokes, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s, Dementia or other medical conditions.
Older drivers and their close relatives prefer that conversations about driving safety be handled within the family, unless a doctor needs to be involved with a medical condition. Conversations about the need to limit or stop driving can be difficult for older drivers, their families, and friends. Driving is linked to freedom and independence in their minds. Considering to “hang up the keys” or even limiting driving can create a profound sense of loss and isolation for many people.
• Seminar participants will learn how to:
• Acknowledge the meaning of driving and its influence on decisions about driving.
• Create opportunities to talk about driving safety and transportation needs.
• Make objective observations of driving skills.
• Develop a plan for more successful and sensitive conversations about limiting or stopping driving.
• Address transportation needs if driving is curtailed.
The local AARP chapter meets the first Thursday of each month at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center starting at 1 p.m. The local chapter offers members a variety of community service, education, advocacy and leadership, and fellowship opportunities. Senior citizens over the age of 50 are encouraged to attend the informative meetings and join the local chapter.

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