“Driving Safety and Transportation Alternatives”
Transcript of Teleconference with Speaker Katherine Freund
January 28, 2015
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST
Please note: BrightFocus Chats may be edited for clarity and brevity.
GUY EAKIN: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our monthly BrightFocus Chat, which is presented by the BrightFocus Foundation (BFF). My name is Guy Eakin; I’m the Vice President of Scientific Affairs at BrightFocus. Today we have two guests and we are delighted to talk with Meredith Lyons, who is an Occupational Therapist and a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist, as well as Katherine Freund. Katherine is President and Founder of the Independent Transportation Network which is ITN America, and they are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year as a national nonprofit which provides dignified transportation to seniors and adults with visual impairment. As you may have guessed, the topic today is driving safety and how that question relates to the low-vision community. We will try to address questions about how we make decisions about driving and what services exist to augment our driving or even replace it. If you would like to submit a question at any time during the talk today, you can do so by pressing *3 to submit your question to an operator, and if for some reason you are disconnected from the call there is a number to call back in. That number is 877-229-8493. You will then be asked to punch in the ID code, which is 112435. So that’s, 112435 and 877-229-8493. Let’s kick things off. I’d like to start by addressing Meredith, our Occupational Therapist. So, being advanced in years doesn’t automatically make someone an unsafe driver. How do we separate age from safety and, Meredith, you cover this with clients every day, could you walk us through how you go about evaluating your—or someone else’s—driving abilities, and how you go about making a decision about driving?
MEREDITH LYONS: Sure. Well first, I completely agree with your statement that there is a huge difference between somebody who is older, and there are many people that are older and driving safely. I’ve seen clients who are well into their 90s and have been able to keep some of the clients driving safely. Unfortunately, there are also some clients that come in that are in their 60s that unfortunately are no longer safe to drive. So age isn’t necessarily that factor that plays into whether someone is safe to drive or not. Typically we get referrals from physicians, or from family members, and some of the referrals are diagnosis-related—someone had a stroke or a brain injury—and sometimes they are concerned about driving based upon the way they walk or that they are acting a little bit different. There may be some cognitive changes.
The first thing that we do, once someone has been referred for a comprehensive driving evaluation, is we spend about an hour and a half to 2 hours with the client in the office first. We get to know their personal and mental history, having a conversation. People really open up a lot when you can have a conversation, and you are not just sitting there with your pen and paper and jotting down medical information. Having a conversation with somebody is vital to really get to know someone. Then we start doing some of the assessments that are typical for this area of practice, for older driver evaluation. We look at cognition, memory, attention, vision—certainly, and basically if somebody is able to react quickly enough to be safe to drive.
GUY EAKIN: If you don’t mind, these sound like these are in-office sorts of tests. Do you ever go out into the parking lot? What should someone expect in terms of the actual driving? Would they be observed when they are working with an Occupational Therapist in their actual driving?
MEREDITH LYONS: Yes. So the first part is that office portion. I will sometimes do that so-called “office portion” in someone’s home. Most of my equipment is portable and I can bring it there. Once I’ve gotten a picture about the driver, my client, then we will go out in the car. We do use our driver education vehicle. I often get asked “does it have an extra steering wheel?” or “does it have an extra gas pedal?” it does not. In Maryland, where I am located, we are not allowed to have an extra steering wheel. We do have an additional brake pedal but that is it. And I have extra mirrors.
Then what we will do is we will start in a parking lot, or in a person’s residential area if I am going to their home. We will slowly progress the behind-the-wheel portion of the evaluation from residential area to increasingly more complex traffic scenarios—city streets, and eventually highway interstate driving. It is not your typical MVA or DMV where you parallel park and park between cones and so forth, unless somebody has to parallel park in order to park at their house.
GUY EAKIN: It is interesting to know that there is a formal and regimented way that you do your testing and I guess I would be curious—you mention that people can get to you via referral from the doctor. If someone were out there looking for an Occupational Therapist, how would they find someone in their region and what letters should they be looking for after their name? How do you know if you are getting the right person if you are looking for someone who provides the type of services that you do?
MEREDITH LYONS: There are two organizations I would start at. I would start with your physician. A lot of physicians have access to driving rehabilitation specialists who are typically Occupational Therapists, but not always. So, start with a physician and then there are two organizations (1) American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)—that’s a great place to find because you can look up a driver specialist in there in your area: There is also another organization (2) Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED), and again, you can look up a driver rehabilitation specialist in your area. So, there are a number of ways of locating us.
GUY EAKIN: You have gone through a little bit about how the testing can occur and that there is a way to evaluate a driver’s testing, but I guess in many cases you are going to come up with people who you don’t recommend that they continue driving—that they think about giving up the keys. Perhaps you would have recommendations of things that they could do to improve their safety. Do you have tips or strategies you could recommend to reduce risk on the road for the people who might be approaching this decision but are not quite there yet?
MEREDITH LYONS: Well, so I feel like, people come if they still continue to be safe to drive but maybe could use some tweaking to their driving. They are in two basic categories. One, somebody who came to me a bit early in recovery. So, they’ve had a brain injury or they’ve had a stroke or some other kind of neurological disorder that they are recovering from—so they are continuing in therapy. What I recommend is to continue with that therapy and I typically write goals for that client that are a little bit more specific to help their rehab team. This might be the speech therapist or the occupational therapist or, if it is a fully physical issue where they are just not reacting completely because their right leg isn’t fast enough, and we think it can be in rehab. We are not looking at changing the way they drive. Then I will write specific goals for that individual. If it is vision-related, we will look at vision rehab—working on tracking and visual tracking, and trying to increase visual attention so that they can return to driving safely.
Then we may have the other type or client where they have some bad habits that we all develop, unfortunately, as we get farther and farther away from our original driver education where you stop at the stop sign and you stay there for a total of three complete seconds and you don’t rush through that. For those individuals who have these bad habits that they have developed along the way, I recommend an organization that covers driver’s education again. AARP, AAA, there are some great online activities that you can do to keep your brain sharp. If it is a bad habit then going through an organization like AARP or AAA, using their road-wise review and reviewing some of those old road rules that may have been forgotten, and driving in areas that you know. If I think someone is safe but they are not as safe as they used to be, so maybe they are just safer in their own area, then we will restrict driving to that area and work with the local DMV or the just the client—if I think that they are going to continue to abide by the recommendations for their safety—then we can restrict where they drive and map out routes that are safer. We can reduce left-hand turns that aren’t restricted by a light. Those are the least safe options. Just finding routes that are a bit safer for the individual is helpful and ones that have less complex traffic patterns, avoiding certain times of the day when rush hour traffic—although there are some areas, like DC, where that is completely unavoidable all times of the day—but most places have some hours, like between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., where there are less drivers on the road.
GUY EAKIN: You are describing that there are more organic ways to improve your safety, that might include rehabilitation and working with your doctor that may help with any physical things that are happening or vision-related things. Certainly we suggest to many people the services of vision rehabilitation. You also said that on the day-to-day things, driving during the day, you mentioned choosing your route, you mentioned the role of the AARP and some of their resources that sound like wonderful resources, and we at BrightFocus have a “Safety and the Older Driver” publication that we do put out.
We are starting to see studies coming out that talk about little tips and tweaks that one does inside the car. For example, if you have a GPS device, where do you put that in the car? Is it down there in the cup tray? Or is it over to the right? Or is it right in front of your vision? Do you have any feelings about those things that happen inside the car that maybe are just the low-hanging fruit that one can adjust to make driving a little bit easier?
MEREDITH LYONS: The first thing I would recommend is looking up “Car Fit.” Car Fit is an organization that brought together AOTA and, I believe it is AAA or AARP—I don’t have it right in front of me. But it brought together a bunch of resources to make sure that you properly fit your vehicle. Often times we buy cars and you have the car and it’s great but you don’t necessarily fit very well in that new car, or maybe you could if we adjusted the seat better so that you have a better view out of your windshield, and the mirrors are adjusted properly. That would be my first recommendation is looking up Car Fit and seeing if there is a Car Fit evaluation or evaluator in your area, or coming to your area.
The second thing, about the GPS, I anecdotally have my opinions but I decided to look at research on it and there isn’t really a lot of research that specifies where you should have your GPS. However, I did find something out of Canada and it says that a GPS in the least safe position is in the center of your windshield, under the review mirror, or directly in front of the driver. Well, I felt that, that was…duh. Obviously, directly in front of you will obscure your vision. I did think it was interesting that they noted the center. A lot of us put the GPS centered but low and I think that is probably a better idea than just smack dab in there in center where it may obstruct your view and that was really the focus of this research—that we frequently look at our GPS versus using the voice-guided portion of the GPS. The recommendations were—which I completely agree with—using the voice-guided portion of your GPS and trying to avoid looking at the screen of the GPS frequently. That way you aren’t taking your eyes off the road. I use my phone for GPS and I keep it in my lap and I listen to it so I’m not constantly looking at it. I review the route before I leave, because you can review it just like you can on the GPS and get an idea where you are going and that way you aren’t surprised. Then I also listen to it as I go along.
GUY EAKIN: I’d like to move the conversation over. I really appreciate your taking the time to describe how the services of an Occupational Therapist work, how one does a driving evaluation, what to expect, and then a few of the ideas about how one would make things safer. Our next guest has made her career founding and running the ITN, which is the Independent Transportation Network of America. She has been doing it for 20 years. There, this is convincing the world that life post-driving doesn’t have to mean giving up things like social lives or the necessities of shopping and doctors’ visits. Katherine Freund, can you talk about what life is like beyond driving and how someone stays mobile?
KATHERINE FREUND: Sure, Guy. Thanks for having me on the show. It’s been really interesting to listen to Meredith. We hear similar kinds of questions a lot at ITN. What’s life like beyond driving? I would say it is the same as life with driving as long as people have some kind of a viable mobility plan. Beyond driving, it is not like falling off of a cliff. It’s not a very, very sudden, dramatic event. The transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat, in my experience, takes place over about 10 years. A lot of the things that Meredith was describing as ways for people to remain safe—to not drive at night, to not drive in unfamiliar areas, or to not drive in bad weather, to avoid left turns—those are all really good compromises for safety adjustments, if you will, but I think it is important to remember that when you are making those adjustments you are also limiting your mobility. You are limiting your social life, you are limiting your access to shopping and things that you might do. What I would say is during the years when you are changing your driving pattern in order to be safe, those are the years when it is really good to begin exploring alternative transportation options. That way, you supplement your driving with alternatives and that does two things—it helps you stay mobile and it helps you stay connected to the life that you care about and the community and family that you care about. It also helps you be safe. If you are not driving at those times and in those locations, when you don’t feel safe, and you are using a transportation alternative, then you preserve your independence and your mobility and you are safe at the same time.
There is a really useful website that ITN America has built with some very generous support from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. It is called “Rides in Sight” and it is available on the Internet at https://www.ridesinsight.org/.
GUY EAKIN: Can you repeat that again Katherine? It’s www.RidesinSight? And maybe you could spell that out for us, Katherine?
KATHERINE FREUND: Sure, it’s R-I-D-E-S-I-N-S-I-G-H-T. What makes this really special is that it’s the first national resource for transportation specifically designed for older people and for people with visual impairment. It has more than 15,000 transportation providers and it is not only on the Internet, it is searchable on the Internet and we actually have people available to answer phone calls if someone needs information about transportation in their area—either because they haven’t found it on the Internet or they are not comfortable using the Internet—and that is a free service and is available 8:00 a.m. — 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We are there to help people with their transportation needs wherever they live in the United States.
Just to go back to what I was saying before, if you are going to an Occupational Therapist, if you are doing everything you can with vision therapy and personal therapy to assure that you are safe, I just can’t say enough about how important it is to think about (and plan for) transportation during the transition and after. Most people don’t realize that the people who stop driving in the United States outlive that decision by about a decade. That is a very long time to be using alternative transportation and it really helps people to become comfortable with it, to have a plan, and to move into it gradually. What that preserves for people is a sense of freedom and a sense of not being trapped. It’s a sense of not being dependent and of having choices to be able to come and go as you need and want to, without asking favors. Asking favors gets old in about 24 hours. Ideally that is life beyond driving, which is just life! I like to think that Abraham Lincoln did not drive, lots of people do not drive. You can be a whole person, and get where you need to go, and do what you need to do without driving.
GUY EAKIN: You brought up the subject of history here. I mentioned a couple of times that your group has been doing what you do for 20 years now. You are celebrating that 20th anniversary this year. Could you talk specifically about ITN and what got you started and what the mechanism is that you have developed? It’s been heralded as being a very innovative way to approach community transportation options for the low-vision community.
KATHERINE FREUND: Well, thank you. We designed ITN not to be like a van or a bus but to be a service that re-creates for people the comfort, and the convenience, and the mobility of private automobile ownership. It’s a nonprofit membership organization. People join and they set up something called a personal transportation account and the cost of their rides is debited from that account. That is one of the innovations we created. The other innovation was that we actually expanded the resources available for transportation by looking at our resources in very different ways. It used to be that when an older person had difficulty driving, the car was looked at as the problem—people would say, “Well how are we going to get them to stop driving this car?” What we said at ITN was, “Wow, nice big transportation asset. How do we convert that into rides?” So we created a program that allows people to trade a car, once they decide they are not going to drive, it allows them to trade a car to pay for their rides.
We also realized a lot of people are willing to drive others. If you volunteer to drive for ITN we will give you credit for that volunteer effort and you can store that in your personal transportation account. You can essentially pay it forward so that when you are older and have difficulty driving, other people will drive you and you can pay for it with the credits you’ve earned when you were younger and driving others. We call that transportation social security. It’s a way to plan for your transportation needs. We have been doing this for 20 years. People all over the country are trading their cars, they are volunteering to drive others, and they are storing their credits.
Right now in the transportation world there is a lot of talk about TNCs, Transportation Network Companies. There are a couple of really famous ones now in the for-profit world, Lyft and Uber. Those are certainly choices for older people, as are buses and vans. But ITN, Independent Transportation Network, was a transportation network 20 years ago. We started in Maine and we are now in 22 states and provide service in 19 communities. The service is available the way the private automobile is available: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any purpose. People love it, people love it.
GUY EAKIN: You brought up Lyft and Uber, which we are hearing about in the news very often. These are ride-sharing opportunities that are very tech-driven and we certainly have some people who are very graceful with technology and other people who would prefer not to have to deal with that. You mentioned for Rides in Sight, you mentioned the website, do you happen to have the telephone number you could share with us? If you don’t have it we will make it available via another mechanism, but I would like to get that onto the call today if you have that available.
KATHERINE FREUND: I don’t have it at the tips of my fingers but I can get it for you before the end of the call.
[Editor’s Note: See the telephone number below.]
GUY EAKIN: This and all of our BrightFocus Chats are recorded in audio files that we distribute. We also have transcripts available if you give us a couple of weeks to put a transcript together. Anyone who calls into the BrightFocus Foundation, we would be happy to send out a copy of the transcript. We will make sure that number gets onto the transcript and becomes available to people.
Just briefly, if you have a question that you would like to ask of one of our speakers today, just press *3 to submit that question to an operator. If for some reason you are disconnected from the call please dial 877-229-8493. But *3 is the way to pose your questions.
One of the things you’ve mentioned is—of course, the Rides in Sight as a service—is how to look for similar services to ITN in a person’s given area. ITN is in many places around the country but you are not in every place. If somebody can’t find what they are looking for on Rides in Sight, what are the other options? Where does somebody go to find out what types of community transportation exists for the low-vision community or for the elderly in their area?
KATHERINE FREUND: Well, actually Rides in Sight has that, it has the whole country. I think what you meant to say is we don’t have ITN in every community.
GUY EAKIN: That’s true. I am thinking that many times people are referred to their regional offices of aging within the government and there are other, prior to Rides in Sight, there are other places where someone could go to find out about what regional transportation options exists beyond what one would find in the yellow pages.
KATHERINE FREUND: I think you are talking about the Eldercare Locator. Is that what you mean? That is a service, a national hotline, which will connect you to your local agency on aging. That is also a very good service. I have the phone number that you asked me for now, it is 1-855-607-4337.
GUY EAKIN: Thank you very much. I would like to move on to some of the questions that we have had submitted by our callers. The first one came from Marie from Connecticut, who says that she stopped driving at night about 5 years ago and misses the independence of being able to go to lectures at local museums, taking an evening yoga class, etc. She asks generally about who she could contact and pay to get rides back and forth, taxis being unreliable. We just had the conversation about Rides in Sight and I want to repeat the telephone number for that. That was 855-607-4337. I hope that, that satisfies Marie’s question.
We have another question here that is more of a political question and it comes up in families all of the time. “I think I can still drive but what do I say to someone who thinks I can’t?” Meredith, I’m sure you have a lot of experience talking with people that you have a professional opinion about their driving and maybe there are people, and their family, where even though they have passed your test they are still having trouble convincing people close to them. What kind of guidance do you give?
MEREDITH LYONS: You are giving an example of someone who came to me and I did the comprehensive driving evaluation, and they are safe to continue driving in the way they were before, but the family is still very concerned? Well, hopefully, I have that family member in the office when I go over the results of the evaluation, because at that time I can help go through everything that we did so they can hear all of the different areas that I took the person driving in and things that I observed.
What I would try to do is take out the emotional aspect of it, because my feelings on something and my preconceived notions on something are definitely going to affect what I think, but if we can get down to the actual facts of the situation and break it down, then maybe there is a very specific reason why that person is so concerned. We can address it at that time. I try to go over all of the facts—where I took the person, what they drove, what their driving looks like—and then give recommendations to follow up. I always say you can follow up with a physician, you can review my evaluation, you certainly can take the loved one to another Driving Rehabilitation Specialist and have another evaluation completed, and then—if it is something like Alzheimer’s or the patient has some kind of disorder that is gradually going to continue to show declines—then I will make recommendations to follow-up in 6 months or sooner. I will give signs of things to look for—typically cognitive signs—and I will also recommend that the family member sit in the passenger seat and let the driver, my client, drive them. That way they actually see their driving and not just assuming that it’s poor based on, again, maybe some preconceived notions or because they’re not walking well or they just seem slower in general.
GUY EAKIN: You bring up the copilot and it actually dovetails into a different question that we have, which was, “What is the role of a copilot in driving?” Other than just a person there to help assess your driving, what does having another person in the car do to the risk? Is it generally thought of as being helpful? Is it thought of as being something that would be too distracting for someone who is trying to stay safe while they are driving?
MEREDITH LYONS: I think you are asking two different questions. When I think of copilot I think of somebody helping the driver drive. There is only one driver in a car. It is not like an airplane. You certainly can have somebody help with navigation, reading, driving in unfamiliar areas, giving the directions you need to “make a left, Smith Street,” what have you. As far as helping to pilot the car, that is definitely frowned upon and it isn’t safe and there are many reasons for it.
Somebody who is sitting in the passenger’s seat can certainly be distracting and it depends on what the driver requires. I’ve had some drivers where I’ve honestly recommended that they don’t have passengers. Most of my elderly drivers who want to drive their grandchildren around; if I think that it’s okay to let them I’ll say, “Driving in your familiar area is great.” I’ve actually restricted someone to driving just to church because that was honestly the only route that they could safely handle. I’ll say, “You typically drive this alone, that’s great and you don’t need to bring anyone else with you. If somebody else comes with you, then let them drive.” Because those distractions can be far too much for that specific driver. It really just depends on the driver’s abilities because those distractions can be too much for somebody who already has impairments in attention.
GUY EAKIN: We have another question coming in from Rob from Pennsylvania that I would like to send to Katherine, and that question is about what options are available in rural areas. I know Rides in Sight is an aggregator of lots of options, but can you tell me about the challenges of getting around in rural areas? What is the philosophy in the development of Rides in Sight towards people who are living in more rural environments?
KATHERINE FREUND: Rural transportation is the most difficult transportation issue to address because the trips tend to cost more due to the distance. They are longer and there are fewer opportunities to share rides. Mass transit is absolutely impossible. It really doesn’t even work well in suburban areas, let alone rural areas. It is actually one of the areas that we are trying to draw attention to in this year, which is our 20th anniversary year. We think that a lot of the transportation answer is actually parked in driveways everywhere and that is, people with cars who would—if they knew someone in their community needed a ride—would be able to give that older person, or that visually impaired person, a ride in their car.
We are declaring 2015 the “Year to Give an Older Person a Ride.” We are doing a social media campaign about that. The handle is #ShareARide and we are asking everybody in this year to give just one older person a ride and to post it on our Facebook page. If they’d like to tell us their story, we are going to do a 60 day trip across the United States leaving on the day of the anniversary of our first ride, which is June 16, 2015. We are going to drive all over the country and listen to peoples’ stories so we can help raise the awareness of this transportation need, especially in rural areas. If everybody went out and gave an older person a ride, or a visually impaired person a ride, that would be the end of the problem. This isn’t like an illness where we don’t know how to fix it. We absolutely know how to fix this: It is people helping each other. For the really rural areas we think that is the way to go. For now, because I know many people need transportation now in rural areas, I would suggest that people look around their community for volunteer services. There may be some infrequent paratransit routes, health care centers may have transportation options, churches, synagogues, and so forth. But it is a bit of a patchwork in the rural areas and it requires everyone to be creative and thoughtful, and look around. That’s just for the people looking for the rides. For everybody else, I would say please open your eyes and look around and see the people in need around you and offer to give them a ride.
GUY EAKIN: Anyone who is plugged into social media can certainly tune into our social media at BrightFocus and we will be sharing some of the events that are happening around and in the community, including the events that Katherine just described, as well as to the ITN’s community.
MEREDITH LYONS: Can I chime in real quick? Katherine, what I have told a lot of my clients who have family support—and you had mentioned earlier that it gets tiring when you are asking for rides, and I completely agree—often times my clients have people available but don’t want to bother them. What I recommend is, when I sit down with the client and typically family is there, I recommend setting up a date where maybe dad has his son or daughter or daughter-in-law, who is already coming over to help or has offered to help, and setting up a meeting with dad every Wednesday to have dinner together. So they can say to dad, “I’ll come over maybe two hours before and any shopping or appointments you have, I’ll be there. Every Wednesday. If you don’t have any place to go then we will just spend time together.” I feel like a lot of families were receptive to this because (a) the older driver, who maybe isn’t driving anymore, knows to schedule things on a very specific date or to do the grocery shopping and errands they need to run on that day of the week, and (b) they don’t have to actually bother asking because they already know that person is coming over.
GUY EAKIN: I think, if I can interject here, I have to give Meredith the last word today because we are starting to run out of time unfortunately. I do want to thank everyone for taking the time to speak with us today and thank everyone who joined the call and asked questions.
Within about a week we will be posting a recording and a transcript of the call on our website. We also have available the “Safety and the Older Driver” publication through the BrightFocus Foundation and I’ll describe how to get to that in just a moment. You can also listen and download past chats on both iTunes and SoundCloud.
What I’d like to do is get a little feedback from you, so we have a poll that we ask people to use the keypad on their phone to press 1 if you found this topic very helpful; press 2 if you found it somewhat helpful; and press 3 if you did not find this helpful at all, and we need to think it through. So that’s 1 if you found it very helpful; 2 if you found the topic somewhat helpful; and 3 if we have some more work to do.
Our next chat will be on “What is on the Horizon for AMD Research,” where we will feature some of the researchers who are out there in the research laboratories looking at the biology of macular degeneration and what are the therapies that they predict will be part of the arsenal in the doctor’s office in the future. That will be on Wednesday, February 25, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern—that’s 10:00 a.m. Pacific.
We certainly encourage you to register and submit questions in advance, and we’ll be sending you a reminder email if you registered for this call. In fact, you can actually register and request those free materials like the “Safety and the Older Driver” brochure by calling BrightFocus at 1‑800‑437‑2423 or by visiting our website at BrightFocus dot o‑r‑g. Again, that’s B-R-I-G-H-T-F-O-C-U-S dot O-R-G and 1‑800‑437‑2423. Again, thank you to everyone for joining us today and to Katherine Freund and Meredith Lyons for providing your expertise. If you would like to leave a comment after the call just stay on the line. Thank you, and from all of us at the BrightFocus Foundation, have a great day. Thank you so much.
The information provided in this transcription is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical, dietary, and/or exercise advice. Any medications or supplements should be taken only under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical products or therapies.
How do I access Rides In Sight?
- 1-855-607-4337 (or 1-855-60-RIDES)
How can I start up an ITN in my community?
- Our community development specialist offers monthly webinars about how to start an ITN in your community— the next one is tomorrow at 2 p.m. We list them on our website's homepage (www.itnamerica.org) and also promote them through Facebook and Twitter.
- You can also inquire directly with our community development specialist by going to itnamerica.org/contact or by calling 207-857-9001.
Also, here is more information about the #sharearide challenge:
- ITN is declaring 2015 the “year to give an older person a ride”—or give ITN $20.
- We’re asking people to participate by giving an older person a ride, taking a photo and sharing it on our Facebook page (or other preferred social media channel using #sharearide), and then challenge their friends to also share a ride, or give ITNAmerica $20 for our 20 years of service.
- We are also doing a national, 60-day Storybook Tour. We’ll be traveling all over the U.S. and asking people to tell their stories about how the issue of senior mobility has affected their lives. It’s something that has touched millions and millions of people, but most don’t realize it’s a huge national issue. I don’t think there’s enough awareness about it.
- BrightFocus Foundation website, www.brightfocus.org, or call us at 1-800-437-2423.
- Find a local agency or Area Agency on Aging: https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx
- Find out about transportation options in your local area for seniors and people with visual impairments: http://www.ridesinsight.org.
- Find an Occupational Therapist or Driving Rehabilitation Specialist in your area: http://www.aota.org.
- Find more information on information, advocacy and services for people age 50 and older: www.aarp.org.
- Learn more about safe driving and memberships available for older drivers: www.aaa.org.
- Find someone who can check how well your personal vehicles fits you: www.car-fit.org.
The information provided here is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical, dietary, and/or exercise advice. Any medications or supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical products or therapies.
This content was last updated on: October 28, 2016