|Seminars slated to tackle issue of elderly drivers
A major challenge for older drivers, their families and communities is the question of when to limit or stop driving.
To help families have sensitive and successful conversations when they are concerned about a loved one’s driving safety, the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging, in cooperation with local senior centers, is offering free seminars on helping seniors make the transition from driving.
Six seminars for family and friends of seniors will be conducted around Sonoma County, using a program developed by American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Hartford Insurance Co., and MIT AgeLab entitled "We Need to Talk."
Sessions will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Sonoma during September, October, and November:
• Sept. 20 – Sebastopol Senior Center,167 North High Street, Sebastopol (892-2440);
• Oct. 17 – Cloverdale Senior Center, 311 N. Main Street, Cloverdale (894-4826);
• Oct. 24 – Healdsburg Senior Center, 133 Matheson Street, Healdsburg (431-3572);
• Nov. 7 – Vintage House Senior Center, 264 First Street East, Sonoma (996-0311);
• Nov. 14 – Santa Rosa Senior Center, 704 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa (524-5716).
These free 1-1/2 hour sessions will identify what driving means to people, how to observe if there has been a change in driving skills, how to have a conversation about "graduating from driving" and how this huge life change may affect family and friends.
Support groups will follow each session for drivers in transition, usually beginning three weeks after the seminar.
Getting a driver’s license is one of the most important events in most people’s lives, opening the door to freedom and independence.
Giving up driving, in turn, involves feelings of loss of that freedom and independence, and the transition needs to be handled with understanding and care.
For more information, contact the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging at 565-5950 or the senior center in your area.