Taking the Keys: What to Do When Your Parents Shouldn’t Drive

Maybe it seemed like a little thing at the time — Mom clipped the mailbox as she backed out of the driveway. Or Dad rear-ended the car in front of him at a stop sign. Just accidents, right? Could be. Or it could be a sign of something else.

If Mom and Dad have always been good drivers but suddenly start making mistakes, you’d better take a closer look before something awful happens. Driving safety blogger Alex Perdikis points out that because the elderly have frail bodies, they are more likely to die in minor accidents than younger people.

Your parents’ lives are at risk. Not only that, your parent’s poor driving could cause someone else’s injury or death. If it’s time for your parent to stop driving, you have to take charge now, not later. It’s not easy, but here’s how to start.

Plan Your Approach

The first step is to talk to Mom or Dad. Don’t go in like a tyrant demanding Mom or Dad hand you the keys. It’s likely your parents are already experiencing changes in their lives and giving up driving is going to be another loss. How would you feel if you weren’t able to drive and go where you wanted when you wanted? Put yourself in their place and realize this is going to be a life-changing and emotional event. Take into account Mom’s or Dad’s feelings.

Consider the problems they’ll face without the keys. How will Mom get to her doctor appointments? How will Dad get to his weekly card game? Before you sit down and talk with your parent, check out available alternative transportation options.  Perhaps Uber or Lyft is available? To test the service use a lyft discount code. Is there a reliable family member available to make sure Mom gets to her appointments? Check with the county — many offer transportation services for the elderly. Come up with working solutions before bringing the subject up. 

Choose a quiet and relaxed time to speak with your parent. Broach the subject gently and take your cue from the reaction. Begin with a question, such as “How are you doing with driving these days?” Your parent has probably already noticed changes. Still, Mom may not want to admit she has trouble these days. Dad may not believe it’s as bad as it is. Guide the conversation but remember: your parents are adults and unless incapacitated, they have the right to make their own decisions.

That’s all well and good if their skills aren’t too far gone. But what if they are? And what if they won’t give up the keys?

What to Do When Parents Won’t Quit

If your parent should not be driving and doesn’t come to the right decision on his or her own, it’s up to you. Taking the keys is risky, of course. Your parent may resent you for some time. But if innocent lives are at stake, you can’t stand by until something terrible happens. There are steps you can take, however, to solve the problem without losing the loving relationship you have. Here’s how:

  • Ask your parent’s doctor for help. The American Medical Association (AMA) encourages doctors to counsel patients about their driving and, when warranted, accept car keys when patients make the decision to quit driving. Adults tend to listen to their doctors and accept their recommendations over that of family member. Your parent’s optometrist or vision specialist may also be able to help.
  • Ask your parent’s best friend to help. A heart-to-heart with a best friend may be all your parent needs to do the right thing.
  • Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): Many states require more frequent testing as drivers age. Some states allow concerned caregivers with sufficient supporting documentation to request vision, written and driving tests at any time. Inspectors review the documentation and when warranted, notify the driver in question that a new test is required.

Rebuilding After Disaster

There are few things more traumatic for a family than seeing their home damaged by fire or severe weather. The loss of treasured items is compounded by the financial loss and inconvenience of getting things back to normal.

If you have had the misfortune of experiencing one of these events, you already know what a complicated process it is to clean up and repair things. It is also a time when it is very easy to make mistakes because there are many people involved, including insurance adjusters, contractors, salespeople, and even government entities like FEMA and your fire department.

As you get the process underway, try to stay on track with these tips. They’ll help you focus on the right steps to recovery.

Know How To Prioritize

When your home has been damaged, you want to save everything. But in a practical sense, spending hours and hours trying to restore replaceable items in your home is not a good allocation of your time.

Focus on the things that are irreplaceable but salvageable and work on those first. Don’t worry about general belongings like furniture. A couch that is soaked with water from a flood or from firefighting efforts will take days to thoroughly dry, and even then will be filled with odors, dirt, and fungus. Bernhardt Furniture can replace those items, so put your energy into finding and preserving things like heirloom china and family photographs.

Make Sure The Damage Has Stopped

When a disaster strikes, there is an immediate reaction to the problem and then there is a need for longer-term attention. Floods in particular are notorious for creating additional damage even after the water recedes, because it has penetrated into so many spaces that it can be nearly impossible to clean them all.

Remove sources of further damage. Items that are full of smoke odor should be taken outside so that they don’t perpetuate the smell in other items. Get into walls and let water drain out, and be sure that wet floor coverings are taken outside. If your home has been properly protected from groundwater, it should stay dry once flood water is removed.

Prepare For Next Time

It can be so easy to get in a hurry when you’re trying to recover from a disaster. You just want to get things cleaned, repaired, and replaced as quickly as possible and return to the routine you had prior to the event, and that’s understandable.

But during that recovery, it can also be very easy to make some preparations for next time, in case the unthinkable happens twice. If you’ve had a fire in your home and you’re doing extensive repairs, investigate a residential sprinkler system. They have a documented ability to reduce fire damage and contain flames to a smaller area.

If you’ve been flooded, see about improving drainage around the home and possibly installing barriers to divert swollen streams. You might also be able to change floor coverings in the lowest parts of your home to make them more tolerant of another flood.

Remember that much of this work is cheaper, easier, and faster when you’ve already got a mess from the previous damage, so try to slow down enough to check into these options. There may also be insurance incentives to help defray the costs, or at least discounts on your premiums.

Fires and floods are incredibly traumatic. We see the things we have worked hard for being consumed in hours or even minutes. Recovery is the first thought we have when the event is over, but it is very important that you manage that correctly in order to make it the best recovery it can be.

Starry Station for Internet Control

The internet is a huge big open place with lots of distractions, and some not so nice things for kids’ eyes and ears.  The best way to keep them from seeing these things is with a fine tooth comb where you can sift through their activity and deliver only what you deem fit.  School and information related web sites, appropriate entertainment, and also limiting their time online.  In an ideal world, this would be as easy as a few button swipes or pushes, but we live in a  less then ideal world where we use flashing blinking lights on a router to show the health of our internet connection, and then complicated connection settings dialed in via specific addresses to maybe get the control you are looking for.  There is another way.

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The Starry Station is a wireless router which has a built in touch screen to let you not only see the health of your network, but also what devices are connected to it. You can give these devices certain access, including time limits, content limitations, and cutting content completely. This could be for things like going outside time or bed time, meal time (am I right? Get your phone off the table!) whatever works for you.  No more hiding a phone under the sheets and playing games until the wee hours of the morning.  What is most interesting about the Starry Station is how well it fits into the decor of any room, be it a living room, computer room or a dining room.  It looks like a mini work of art with lots of color and activity, but not so much that it is a distraction.

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There is also an App to interface with the Starry Station to give even more control over your router and the devices connecting to your network.  With custom names, icons, and rules for each device it is a breeze getting started and even easier to add new devices when a friend comes by or a new device is added to the household.  Starry Station is available online at Amazon and retails for $299.95.

There is a Cyber Monday promotion for the Starry Station. From Thanksgiving (11/24) through the following Tuesday (11/29), the Starry Station will be available for $224.99 (25% the MSRP) on Starry.com, Amazon.com, B&H.com and Best Buy.com as well as in store.

Make Sure Your Kids are in #TheRightSeat #STORKS

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Did you know that every 33 seconds a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States? Car seats, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury. But over half of car seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness and 1 in 3 children killed in car crashes are completely unrestrained at the time of the crash.*

The Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) want you to know about Child Passenger Safety. They hope to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of selecting the right seat for their child’s age and size, and to remind them that car seats, booster seats and seat belts offer the best protection for children in crashes and help save lives.

This summer, the Ad Council and NHTSA have unveiled new PSAs featuring characters from Warner Bros.’ upcoming animated adventure Storks. By using the tagline, “Find the Right Seat For Your Flock,” the PSAs urge parents and caregivers to protect their child’s future, by making sure they secure them in the right car seat for their age and size. The English language PSAs direct to SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat and the Spanish ads direct to SaferCar.gov/Protegidos where parents and caregivers can find more information on how to determine if their child is in the right car seat.

The campaign features footage and characters from Storks, which delivers a fresh and funny look at the legend associated with storks delivering babies.

Will you help us spread awareness about the importance of having “the right seat” and “the right fit”?  Here are a few simple ways you can help:

  • “Is Your Child In The Right Seat?”
  • Storks know how to keep kids safe. Do you? Visit safercar.gov/therightseat to know for sure that your child is in the right seat for their age and size. #STORKS #TheRightSeat

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  • How confident are you that your child’s car seat or booster is #therightseat? Enough to stake their lives on it? Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old.
  • Many parents do not realize their child is in the wrong car seat. Visit Safercar.gov/TheRightSeat and make sure your child is riding safely. #therightseat.
  • To locate a Certified Child Passenger Safety technician in your area, go to SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat or download the free SaferCar app from the iTunes App Store.
  • Register your car seat and booster seat at SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat so you will be informed if there is a safety recall on your model.

Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight

When we are away from home there can be a touch of anxiety which strikes us.  It comes out of the blue usually when you are just out of the range of I can still turn around and check.  Is the house ok?  No matter how much our significant other tells us otherwise we are positive something bad is happening like a , God forbid, fire.  Who will hear the smoke detector, how long will it take for the fire department to answer the call, what can I do?  All these answers can be answered with a new device called the Leeo.

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Leeo is a smart smoke detector sensor/temperature sensor/nightlight/ smart home device that can help you feel more at ease when you leave the house.

The way Leeo works is you set it up to connect to your local wireless network and also sin up for an account with your smart phone, after a few registration steps you are greeted by your new smart temperature gauge for now.  But if a smoke detector alarm goes off, Leeo jumps into action, from the app you can listen to the alarm, dismiss the notification, or contact local 911.  There is also a way to contact someone closer to home when you are away as well, in app, so in an emergency everyone can be notified and disaster can be averted.

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What we really like about Leeo is its ease of use, it really is just a matter of plugging it in and going through maybe 5 minutes of settings.  Then your device is already protecting your house.  It also has a sleek fit anywhere design and a color pallet of 18 million options.  So you can actually set the mood of your room with one of its defenders.

The Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight is available now at electronic stores and Amazon.  It retails for $99.99, but there is a promotion going on right now where the price is $49.99 on Amazon and Best Buy to act soon.

Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat? #therightseat

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children age 1 to 13 in the USA? In 2013, a child under 13 was involved in a crash every 33 seconds.
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During Child Passenger Safety Week, please visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat to determine your child is in the right seat for his or her age and size and to locate a car seat inspection event in their area.  Additionally, parents and caregivers can register their child’s car seat with the manufacturer so as to be informed in the event of a recall.
  • If a car seat is not installed correctly, your child’s safety could be compromised. Every car seat has different installation instructions. You can find resources and tips here to help you get “the right fit” on your car seats:     http://www.safercar.gov/parents/RightFit.htm
  • Free Car Seat Inspections: During Child Passenger Safety Week, there will be events across the country where Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will inspect car seats and show parents and caregivers how to correctly install and use them. In most cases, this service is free of charge.  Locate a car seat check event here: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm

 Car Seat Safety Tips:

  • Find a car seat that fits your child. As children grow, how they sit in your car will change. Make sure the car seat you purchase is designed to fit your child’s current size and age and allows some room growth.
  • Not all car seats fit in all vehicles so test the car seat you plan to buy to make sure it fits well in your vehicle.
  • Before putting your child in a car seat, read the manufacturer’s instructions so you know how your car seat works and how to install it.
  • All-in-One car seats offer you the advantage of using the same seat for the following positions: rear-facing, forward-facing with harness, then booster. These seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time, which physicians and safety experts strongly recommend.

Remember, the best car seat is the one that fits your child properly, is easy to use,  fits in your vehicle correctly, and which you’ll use every time…

  • The information here can help you choose the right seat for your child. Keep in mind that:
    • Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
    • Children ages 1-3 should be kept rear-facing as long as they fit the car seat.
    • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
    • Be certain you’ve installed your car seat correctly by having it checked at an inspection station or by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Bring the car seat instructions AND the vehicle owner’s manual with you to a seat check appointment!

September is National Preparedness Month #NatlPrep

“We Prepare Every Day” is the first in a series of videos that aim to deliver a strong preparedness message by showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies.

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The launch of the new PSA coincided with the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, and it precedes National Preparedness Month in September.  The PSA provides equal access to all viewers by including open captioning, a certified deaf interpreter, and audio description for viewers who are blind or have low vision.

Created pro-bono by Free Range Studios, “We Prepare Every Day” shows whole community and individual emergency and disaster preparedness as a part of everyday planning. One of the goals of the PSA is to encourage all Americans to “Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit, and Get Involved.” Resources and guidelines on how to do this can be found at Ready.gov/MyPlan.

Be Informed
First, you need to be informed about potential emergencies and disasters where you live, work, or visit. Then, you can go about making a plan that fits you and your loved ones.

Make a Plan
Making a family emergency communication plan with your friends and family before a disaster occurs is important.  Why? Because it will help you answer questions: how will you get in touch with each other? How will your family get to a safe place?  It’s important to make a plan now so that you will know where to meet, how to find each other following a disaster, and how to communicate in an emergency that works for your family’s specific communication needs.

Build a Kit
While each person’s abilities and needs vary, everyone can take steps to prepare for all types of emergencies. By evaluating your own individual needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared.  For example, if being without access to medications, help, or other services you need to maintain your health, safety and independence for even a couple of hours or days could be devastating, and you need to be prepared more than ever.

Get Involved
People with disabilities are encouraged to take a seat at their community and local government- level planning tables.  Planning for emergencies and disasters with people who have disabilities and others with access and functional needs rather than planning for them will allow us to understand and address the needs of the whole community in a disaster.

To get more information on how to make a family emergency communication plan, build a disaster supply kit or to learn how to get involved in community preparedness, please visit Ready.gov/MyPlan.

  • While each person’s abilities and needs vary, every individual can take steps to prepare for all types of emergencies. By evaluating your own individual needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared. Some items to consider including in your post:
    • What medical devices or assistive technology devices you need to have with you if there is an evacuation order from local officials
    • Your plans to remain independent if you require oxygen or mechanical ventilation
    • Practice your plan with your support network, just like you would a fire drill.
    • Discuss your needs and/or the needs of a family member; learn about their assistance requirements or the services they depend on.
    • Advocate including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs into emergency planning in your community.

All of these questions and more are covered in the free guide available for download here: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90360

Clean First for the Best Finish with Puracyn® Plus

For more clean start tips for the best finish, visit Puracyn Plus on the web at www.puracynplus.com and LIKE the brand on Facebook. This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.

When it comes to most projects around the house (or in general) there is a step which must be taken before your project even begins.  I’m talking about the prep time and the cleanup of the area or what you will be working on. An example of this is when trying to fix a sink you clean out under the sink first before you even start working on the sink component. Yes, we’ve just done a project like this, ha.
This summer, we had quite a few projects, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most was the dog bowl stand. My son wanted to make something out of wood that would be useful not, and I quote, ‘a dumb bird house’.  I guess I’m the worst mom ever, making a bird house with him.  You know- the one he asked me to make with him?  Yeah.  So stupid of me.

This will be a daddy project.  They want to make something useful, and dad didn’t want me buying our dog a bowl stand (he’s getting older and is beginning to have arthritis) so they decided on a dog dish holder for our pooch.

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After measuring and figuring out, (and measuring) then buying all the parts (and measuring one more time), it was time to get to work and build something. But first we had to clean up the table outside and make sure all our tools were in good shape. In this same manner of properly cleaning up before doing something, new Puracyn Plus Duo-Care Wound & Skin Cleanser is the next generation first step in first aid for cleansing, debriding and hydrating wounds, and is formulated with a pH balanced, hypochlorous solution, designed to improve the most essential part of the wound treatment process – preparation of the wound bed – a clean start for the best finish. Clean wounds first with Puracyn Plus Duo-Care Wound & Skin Cleanser and set the stage for optimal healing.

9110a832-1e7e-11e5-91b5-22000af93a2dThe easy, hands-free spray application of Puracyn Plus thoroughly cleans minor wounds, eliminating the need for running water in the critical first step of cleaning a wound. We really like how Puracyn Plus is a convenient alternative to the otherwise messy job of cleansing the wound area that can be applied on the spot and on-the-go, and is more effective than soap and water and won’t cause cell damage the way hydrogen peroxide can. Puracyn® Plus is available in a 4oz. plastic, spray bottle at Rite Aid and Walgreens for $14.99.To learn more about the brand visit www.puracynplus.com and follow the brand on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/Puracyn). Also available is Puracyn® Plus Foot Wash & Skin Cleanser which is a safe, effective, FIRST step in first aid for foot sores and irritations, blisters, dry and cracked feet, and rashes.

Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care Wound and Skin Cleanser…so she can get back into the game! Watch the new Puracyn Plus 2015 National TV Commercial here.

Save $3 on your next purchase of Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care Wound & Skin Cleanser and Puracyn® Plus Foot Wash & Skin Cleanser! Available in the first aid section at your local Rite Aid and Walgreens.

Starting on July 17, enter the Puracyn Plus Clean Start Giveaway on the Puracyn® Plus Facebook page (www.facebook.com/puracyn) for the chance to be one of four randomly selected winners to receive a $250 retailer gift card (choice of Home Depot, California Closets, Pier 1 Imports, or Staples) and Puracyn® Plus product, so you can get a clean start on a project for the best finish.