Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Driving Mobility Affects Seniors' Social Lives, Overall Health

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Thu, May 04, 2017

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According to a recent study, elderly drivers who stop driving and have no transportation alternatives become less socially active and risk isolation. This can lead to declines in physical, mental, emotional health.

The survey found that an increase in driving mobility in seniors lead to an increase in the overall health of a senior, whereas a decrease in driving mobility lead to a significant decrease in overall health.

With a longer life expectancy, older adults can remain socially engaged in later years; leading to better health, lower mortality risk over time, and lower rates of depression, dementia and other cognitive impairments. Social participation is also linked to greater life satisfaction, self-esteem and positive effect. For these reasons, maintaining participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs is part of healthy, active and successful aging.

Fewer Older Drivers

Driving is a way of life in the U.S. and is often crucial for social participation and having access to services. Physical, mental, and emotional decline in later years eventually lead to a decision to reduce and cease driving. In the U.S., more than 600,000 seniors over the age of 65 stop driving every year and must rely on other transportation.

Limited Driving Leads to Cessation

Most seniors start ceasing to drive by limiting their driving behaviors. They drive less frequently, shorter distances and to fewer destinations, adapt speed, and restrict trips to familiar roads and particular hours.

Some need a little help in making the decision to stop driving, and family members can watch for signs. A driver who becomes disoriented or has trouble following directions may also need to be discouraged from driving. At some point, it becomes a safety issue—both for the senior and for the public at large.

Receiving Rides Can Help Prolong Social Participation

Receiving rides, a component of driving mobility, is a crucial alternative transportation option for older adults as their own ability to drive declines. Family members, friends and caregivers are often best able to provide flexible, supportive, door-to-door service, with escort assistance that best meets the older individual’s changing needs.

Seniors are often hesitant to ask for rides because they fear being a burden to others. When they do ask for help, they tend to request rides for basic needs, like doctor visits and grocery shopping, not for social activities.

Public Transportation

Those who live in metropolitan areas may have public transportation options, including buses, taxis, and Uber or Lyft.

Public and community transportation are often unsuitable for older individuals due to limited schedules during non-peak times, limited service to nonwork destinations, poor accessibility, low availability, inadequately trained drivers and limited personal assistance. Additionally, many seniors and their families are simply not aware these options exist.

Senior Living Centers

Social interaction can also be provided in community living centers, whether for active seniors or for those requiring some assistance with daily living activities. Most provide field trips and outings, in addition to on-site activities and community dining. These can be a good, albeit often costly, choice to encourage social participation if transportation options are limited.

Conclusion

At Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we work with seniors and their families to ensure that independence and safety are preserved as long as possible. To learn more about how you can protect your home, spouse and life savings as well as saving on taxes and preserving your independence, register for a free workshop today.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: seniors, senior drivers, senior driving, safe driving, driving mobility

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | High Senior Accident Fatalities Rate Concerns Experts

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Dec 07, 2012

Video of 88 Year Old Man Driving on the Wrong Side of the Highway Crashing With a Police Car

Senior, Driver, Lawyer, Massachusetts, Elder Law, Care

More accidents among the elderly

The majority of drivers 65 and up are good drivers, cautious and courteous, according to police, but research shows older motorists are involved in a disproportionately high share of traffic deaths.

Nationally, drivers 65 and older account for 16 percent of all drivers and 8 percent of all miles driven, but account for 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2010, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group.  Data show drivers over 65 also experience more crashes per mile driven than any age group except 16-year-old drivers.  Furthermore, the crashes are 1.7 times more likely to lead to serious injury or death than drivers age 25 to 65. The reasons for this, according to MDOT, include that older drivers have diminishing physical, sensory and cognitive capabilities, and they're usually more fragile.


Senior Driver Tells Police she "Did Not Know Where She Was"

On July 17 at 2:45 p.m., a 90-year-old Auburn woman was driving on the Veterans Bridge from Auburn to Lewiston when she suddenly crossed the center line, crashing head-on into a vehicle driven by a woman with three children. Authorities initially feared there would be fatalities; ultimately two adults and three children were treated at local hospitals.

The elderly driver told police she “did not know where she was” after getting gas at BJ's. All she knew, she said, was “she needed to make two left turns in Lewiston to get her husband's medications.”

Recent changes in traffic patterns leading onto the bridge, even if they're “well signed,” can lead to confusion, especially among elderly drivers, Auburn police Chief Phil Crowell said.

How aging influences driving

Driving is a complex task. As we age, changes make driving riskier. Changes brought on by aging — including slower reaction time and weakened vision — start to negatively influence driving ability as early as age 35. Driver experience compensates until about age 75, when, for many, aging “overtakes the benefits of driver experience.

The aging process also means a reduction in physical abilities for things like turning your head to see if a lane is clear. Also, taking multiple medications, which is common among older citizens, can slow reaction time. These kinds of changes happen to everybody.


87 Year Old Driver Kills 2, Injures 5 by Crashing Into“Ride for the Fallen” Motorcycle Procession

On Aug. 25 in Westmoreland, N.H., a vehicle driven by an 87-year-old man crossed the center line and drove into a procession of oncoming motorcyclists, killing two riders. The bikers who died were 59 and 41 years old. Five others were injured. The procession was part of the annual “Ride for the Fallen,” honoring Army Spc. Justin Rollins, who was killed in Iraq in 2007. The elderly driver told police at the scene he couldn't explain why he turned and ran into the motorcycles. The man died from injuries a few days after the crash.

What You Can Do

It is time to remedy this problem – with a driving refresher safety course. Attending "Safe Driving for Seniors", a safe driving program we are hosting in association with AAA on Wednesday, January 22 at 11:00 am in Wellesley.

"Safe Driving for Seniors" is designed to help senior drivers be safer while staying behind the wheel longer. The program is specifically for drivers 55 and older. It delivers tips and techniques to help experienced drivers compensate for changing vision, reflexes and response time; understand how prescription medications may affect driving; and drive defensively in a variety of situations.

The program will be hosted by John Paul, host of the well known radio program, "Car Doctor".  Mr. Paul also writes for AAA's Horizons publication and the Boston Globe and is AAA's Traffic Safety Manager.

To learn more about the Safe Driver Program or to reserve your seat, call (781) 237-2815.  Join other smart local Seniors and Boomers as they learn essential and little known driving safety tips from AAA and the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.


Tags: Elder Law, Nursing Homes, elder care, senior drivers, senior driving, senior

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Safe Driver Program for Seniors

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Nov 30, 2012

seniors, safe driver, attorney, lawyerMany people have not read a driver license handbook since we were 16.  For some, that’s more than 50 years ago. 

It is time to remedy this problem – with a driving refresher or safety course. You or a loved one can do it by attending Safe Driving for Seniors, a safe driving program we are hosting in Wellesley on Wednesday, January 22 at 11:00 am.

The Safe Driver Program we are offering in association with AAA is designed to help senior drivers be safer while staying behind the wheel longer. The program is specifically for drivers 55 and older. It delivers tips and techniques to help experienced drivers compensate for changing vision, reflexes and response time; understand how prescription medications may affect driving; and drive defensively in a variety of situations.

Call our office at (781) 237-2815 to reserve your seat today!

Tags: Elder Law, Health Care, family, elder care, seniors, elder care journey, senior drivers, senior driving, senior, safe driving, Attorney

Seniors Behind the Wheel | Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Sep 06, 2012

Driving is always a sticky issue with aging parents and family members.  Mom or Dad’s refusal to acknowledge physical and mental limitations can put their lives at risk but if they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle they can put others at risk.  A recent New Jersey wrongful death lawsuit caught my eye.  It’s a nightmare scenario for every family.seniors driving

Steve was driving himself and his caregiver, Mona, to the diner.  Mona got out of the car before Steve attempted to park.  He stepped on the gas a little too hard and went up on the sidewalk, pinning Mona between the car and the wall.  She lost her leg and then she died a short while later. Her family filed a personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit against Steve.

Both sides agreed that Steve was negligent in causing the accident and Mona’s injuries and subsequent death.  However, the issue at trial was whether Mona was an employee or an independent contractor of Steve’s. If she was an employee, then her family could not sue Steve, but would be limited to a recovery in Workers’ Compensation court, which has a cap on monetary damages.  A civil lawsuit has no such limitation.

Most people who hire aides directly, rather than going through an agency, pay the aides by cash or check, with no paperwork as to the scope of the work and the dates and times performed.  The aide usually doesn’t report the payment as income and pay any taxes.  Likewise, the senior doesn’t pay any payroll taxes or maintain workers compensation insurance but treats the aide as an independent contractor.

We have written about the dangers that lack of documentation causes for Medicaid purposes.  In this case, the attorney for Mona’s family argued that no payroll taxes or contract meant Steve was not her employer.  A written contract is always a good idea, so I am not convinced the lack of one indicates the type of relationship that existed. 

Steve’s attorney, however, had a tough argument to make in favor of an employee/employer relationship.  Although not clear from the newspaper accounts of the case, in all likelihood Steve didn’t carry workers compensation insurance. He paid Mona $100 a day, probably cash, to keep cost down.  In my experience, I have yet to run across someone who hired an aide and purchased the insurance.

In the end, the jury sided with Mona’s family and awarded $525,000.  It is unclear how much of that was covered by Steve’s automobile insurance company and how much he will have to pay out of his pocket.  You might think his problems stem from the choice his family made in not treating Mona as an employee and paying the taxes and insurance.

But, the bigger mistake is in allowing Saul to get behind the wheel.  Not an easy issue for families to tackle but a necessary one that could have life and death consequences, as it did for Steve and Monna.

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com

 

Click Here to Download  The Alzheimer's Resource Kit

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com.

 

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: Estate Planning, Nursing Home Costs, Alzheimer's Disease, Medicare, Medicaid, Nursing Homes, elder care, estate, elder care journey, senior drivers, senior driving

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