Aging Well in the Gorge August 15th 2018

For the last two weeks I have written about the difficult conversations between parents and their adult children. One area that is often the center of these painful conversations is deciding when someone should “retire” from driving. It is difficult and complicated because it is just not a matter of living your life the way you want (no matter the effect on your own health!). It’s also the possibility of injuring someone else because of your own obstinance.
I know the last thing I want to do is stop driving and depend on someone else. But what are the signs I should be looking for in my own driving or someone else’s that should make me think, “Maybe it’s time”?
Some of the signs are does the older driver experience near misses or other drivers honking at them in traffic? Does the driver often move into a wrong lane, become easily lost or confused, or drive at inappropriate speeds? How about new dents or scratches on the car?  And if you are assessing your own skills, be honest!
If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t wait for an accident to happen. Share your observations with the driver, other family members and the driver’s physician. Many situations may just require modifying driving habits: driving shorter distances, staying on familiar roads, and avoiding night driving and heavy traffic. The driver may also benefit from the AARP Smart Driver class offered every month at the Center.
But if the situation is more serious, one can seek assistance from the family physician – to assess any medical conditions that can affect driving; and the Aging and People with Disabilities office in The Dalles (541-298-4101). Oregon’s DMV website features a wealth of information on how to discuss the issue of “retiring” from driving and finding alternative transportation. Go to and click on “Driver Fitness”.
No one wants to talk about “giving up the keys”. But there are clear situations when it must be done – for everyone’s’ safety. And whether you are the parent or adult child, it is always best to start these conversations before there is a problem.
The Wasco County Fair is just down the road and around the corner. And as always, thanks to The Dalles Disposal, Thursday, August 23rd is Free Family Day with the “Senior Picnic in the Park” sponsored by Hearts of Gold Caregivers starting at 11:30. If you don’t want to drive, LINK is once again offering free rides for the first sixteen people who sign up. The bus will depart from the Center at 10:00 and leave the fairgrounds at 1:00 after the Senior Picnic. There are only ten spots left so call the Center to reserve your seat.
Next Wednesday, the 22nd, Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of the Columbia Center for the Arts will be back at the Center for this month’s “Fourth Wednesday’s Creative Arts” presentation:What is Abstract Art and Why Should I Care?” During this ninety-minute presentation, you will learn about the dynamics and thought processes behind abstract art; become familiar with some of the world’s most famous abstract artists; and learn how to appreciate this sometimes strange and wonderful art form.
The British automobile company that manufactured the XK-E model between 1961 and 1975, a combination of beauty, high performance, and competitive pricing, was the Jaguar. (This week’s correct answers were sent in by Jess Birge, Jo Smith, Lana Tepfer, Jim Ayers and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket – Walter Lutz. And I missed Jerry Phillips last week who remembers IBM meaning the “Itty Bitty Machine” company and for the employees meaning “I’ve Been Moved”.)
Born Robert Weston Smith, the son of the executive vice-president of the Financial World, this legendary “rock & roll” DJ rose to fame in the 60’s working for the Mexico-based station, XERB-AM with its high powered 250,000-watt signal. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was this mysterious disc jockey with an exuberant on-air personality and gravelly voice heard across the United States? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a DVD of the George Lucas film American Graffiti.

Well it’s been another week tying up the loose ends before I trip over them. Until we meet again, don’t waste your time worrying about what you can’t do.

“The driver that you have to sell on safety shouldn’t be driving.” Kyle Petty

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