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Happy Birthday! So, How Well Are You Driving Lately? / York, PA

MP900409434Every day in America, roughly 10,000 people turn age 65. To help keep roadways safe as America grays and to help preserve the freedom of mobility of older drivers, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine are training law enforcement officers to recognize warning signs of impaired driving skills and to take appropriate, compassionate action. They are also training doctors to think more about their patients’ ability to drive safely with age.

A recent article in the Claims Journal, titled Police, Doctors Receive Elder Driver Assessment Training,” describes an educational program called Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS). The program is designed to reduce the number of fatalities involving older drivers and to extend the time seniors can drive safely.

The program’s focus is to educate people about the effects of aging on driving skills and the need to assess older people for driving impairments. TREDS teaches physicians about conditions and medications that can impact a person’s ability to drive safely, regardless of age.

TREDS would like to see doctors assessing their patients for age-related driving impairments. These can include problems with their vision, mobility, and dementia. The program will give these patients information on necessary medications that have fewer driving-related side effects.

Auto accidents rank second in causes of injury-related deaths in people age 65 and older. The original article estimates that one in five drivers in the U.S. will be age 65 or older by 2030. That’s twice the number of seniors in 2010—roughly 70 million in 2030.

Although some seniors can drive safely into their eighties and beyond, a person’s crash rate per mile driven starts to increase when they reach age 70. By their 80s, senior men are as dangerous behind the wheel (in terms of driving fatalities per mile driven) as teenage males.

For more information, contact an experienced elder law attorney.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Claims Journal (November 7, 2014) Police, Doctors Receive Elder Driver Assessment Training

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Los Angeles to Focus on Crimes against the Elderly / York, PA

MP900202201Calling elder abuse one of the most under-reported crimes in the city, Los Angeles officials announced plans to expand its efforts to protect senior citizens with some help from the Department of Justice and Verizon Corp. Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Attorney Mike Feuer said the awarding of $1.6 million in grants to the city will help fund efforts to train police officers in recognizing the signs of elder abuse, which often involves family members and can be somewhat of a hidden crime.

“Our office is in the forefront of domestic violence,” the City Attorney commented to the Los Angeles Daily News, as reported in an article titled "L.A. gets $1.6 million to combat elder abuse."

 “Our office receives 11,000 cases of domestic violence each year, but last year, we received only 100 cases of elder abuse," the City Attorney noted.

He's certain there are more cases out there and that elder abuse is under-reported. Victims rely on caretakers, and because of that, are hesitant to come forward and make a report.

L.A. Mayor Garcetti said domestic abuse cases are increasing, even though other types of crime in Los Angeles are at historic lows. New programs will involve training for the private sector and nonprofits to assist law enforcement and to recognize symptoms that are sometimes hard to detect but that could indicate mistreatment of the city's seniors.

The mayor reminded readers that Los Angeles has "absolutely zero tolerance for domestic abuse, for sexual abuse, for elder abuse,” and that there is help for victims.

Los Angeles Assistant Police Chief Michel Moore was quoted in the original article as saying that a major issue with domestic violence is that it continues for generations and often brings about other criminal problems. Moore encouraged people to pay attention to the elderly, saying “If you see repeated signs of bruising or other problems, report it.” He added that friends and neighbors should watch for any increased isolation of an elderly person, which can be a sign of trouble.

This advice works the same in your community as it does in Los Angeles. If you have any concerns about the care of an elderly friend or loved one, speak with an elder law attorney. He or she can advise on the steps to take and work with you to make sure that your senior's interests are represented and they receive the care they need.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Los Angeles Daily News (October 15, 2014) "L.A. gets $1.6 million to combat elder abuse"

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