According to hearing health providers, nearly one in five Americans age 12 years and older – 48 million people – experience hearing loss severe enough to hinder communication. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent age-related disability in adults age 75 years plus, following arthritis and hypertension. Only 5 percent of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The vast majority of Americans with hearing loss are treated with hearing aids.



As you age, you may notice wrinkles and brown spots on your skin. Aging makes skin more prone to dryness. Your skin also becomes thinner and loses fat, making it less plump and smooth. Cuts and bruises might take longer to heal. How skin ages will depend on several factors: your heredity, lifestyle, diet and other personal habits, such as smoking. Sunlight is another major cause of skin aging.



For some seniors,getting a good night’s sleep is an everyday challenge. Some sleep specialists recommend seniors sleep about seven and a half hours on average, while others say seniors need to get as much sleep as they always have to function at their best. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) convened experts from the fields of sleep research, anatomy and physiology as well as pediatrics, neurology and gerontology to reach a consensus from the broadest range of scientific disciplines.


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Another issue with driving may be a question of control. People want to feel in control of their comings and goings. Even if they are not the actual “foot on the pedal,” having someone else drive could still give them a way to get out of the house and have the freedom to visit whomever they wish, as well as the ability to stay active and avoid isolation.

If financial means are available, you could hire a driver who would use the senior’s car to transport them. Perhaps a younger senior could be found who may have time on his hands and would welcome a chance to make extra money. It would be a chance to have another buddy looking out for the senior. If finances are a problem, the person could post an ad asking for a volunteer who is willing to drive and who would enjoy engaging company and getting out several times a week.

Another practical suggestion is to rely on family members by having a pool of drivers, such as grandchildren and their spouses, who would benefit from an ongoing relationship in new ways with an older, wiser, loving grandparent.

It is all too true one major reason a person must stop driving is Alzheimer’s disease. One member of the church group said her husband, who had recently passed away, was diagnosed with lung cancer and early Alzheimer’s in the same week. She didn’t want him driving because he had been getting lost. She dealt with the situation by sitting down with him and calmly saying, “Jim, since you have so many distractions just now, how about if I do the driving for a while?” He responded with characteristic good grace and humor, saying, “I didn’t know I was distracted.” He was able to relinquish the car keys. The decision was the source of considerable grief, but he could still get to church, which he loved, and to social events with friends he enjoyed.

Family and friends could help by checking in and setting up visits to maintain friendship and socializing in the individual’s home so the senior does not have to think about driving. Having friends and family surround someone is always helpful.

Giving up the car keys does not have to be the end. Don’t let it. The altered situation could present different types of opportunities.



Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60+ and Health & Wellness magazines. Her blog may be seen on her website at

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independence that means so much to seniors at this time in life. If the difficulties are worked out, the person could stay active, vital and out in the community for years to come.

Sometimes the senior driver finds himself at odds with caregivers and/or family about his continued driving. But when a senior is no longer safe on the road, it may be a blessing to make them stop driving. No one wants to think they could injure themselves or someone else. No one wants to worry their family about possibly causing an accident where there could be loss of life or bodily injury in addition to destruction of property.

What recourse is available? There are numerous options to consider and implement. One option might be selling the car and putting the money in a savings account to use for cab or Uber fare. A cab would allow the senior to continue to go to church, doctor appointments, family visits and even shopping or other interests. Calling a cab could be used in conjunction with other senior services such as Wheels. Granted, there are limitations. A senior may not feel she is able to pick up on the spur of the moment and drive wherever she wants. But a phone call could bring a cab within minutes.  

Life doesn’t have to end with the cessation of driving privileges, does it?

I took this thought to a church group that was meeting at my home for a Kentucky Derby party. These members of Guardian Angels Parish in Cincinnati were all seniors, ages 66 to 90 years. These men and women attempt to face life with courage, kindness and consideration for others. Like many of their generation, they have previously experienced their own personal struggles, some with parents who are no longer safe on the road. They have also witnessed their peers facing this conflict.

The group considered my question – and set me straight.

Taking the car keys away from Granddad is a very sensitive issue fraught with difficulty both for Granddad and family. The consensus of the group was whether a senior voluntarily stopped driving or was encouraged by his or her family to curtail this privilege, all affected parties should engage in a decision process that takes time, patience and understanding. All the group members agreed this situation involves a real loss, on a par with the loss of a loved one, financial stability or health.

Losing the freedom to drive means a loss of independence. There will be grieving. Many see it as the end of mobility and access. Yet this change doesn’t have to be a total loss, nor does it necessarily have to be the end. There are ways to stop driving and still have some of the