Don’t give tragedy the opportunity to strike your family

(Raleigh, NC) – On January 3, 2014, KLKN Eyewitness News in Lincoln, Nebraska reported “Former state senator dies in crash”.

The article went on to report that a former Nebraska lawmaker died after she was struck by a car in a Lincoln, Nebraska grocery store parking lot.  Jennie Robak, who served in the Nebraska Legislature for 14 years, was killed when a car driven by an elderly woman backed into her outside of a Hy-Vee in south Lincoln.  Robak is the mother of former Nebraska Lt. Gov. Kim Robak.

It was just before 1:30 Friday afternoon.  18-year-old Ethan Bruggeman was on his way out of the Hy-Vee grocery store when he saw an employee sprinting back in.  “He had a scary look in his eye, like he saw something you obviously never want to see in your life,” Bruggeman said.

It was a deadly crash.  Police say an elderly woman in her late 80s was backing out of a parking spot and lost control of her car.  She ran over and killed another elderly Robak, police said.  The driver then hit a few other cars in the parking lot, while the victim was still pinned under the car.  Police say the victim was pronounced dead at the scene and suffered severe head trauma.

This crash is a terrible tragedy.  In a split second of time a life was taken and others were forever ruined.  But like so many crashes, this tragedy could have been prevented.

Keeping Us Safe is a national organization that provides practical, real-life solutions to older drivers and their families.  Families concerned about a loved one’s age-related diminishing driving skills now have two new tools available to them:

  •  Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families, and
  • The Enhanced Self-Assessment Program for older drivers

The workbook was specifically designed to help concerned families by providing them with a “roadmap to success” in their quest to overcome the challenges of an older driver’s safety.  It is designed to be used by families as a tool to meet the demands of a potential problem as they become suspect of the senior driver’s ability to remain a safe driver.

The Enhanced Self-Assessment program for older drivers was built on the premise that everyone wants to participate in decisions that affect them, and that very few of us will willingly accept the specific terms or even the spirit of decisions that have been dictated by someone else.

This 3-hour, in-person session takes place at the home of the older driver and includes an actual driving exercise.  “If the individual is a safe driver, we provide him or her with strategies on how to remain a safe driver as they progress through the natural aging process. If a driving retirement is the appropriate decision, then we provide the individual (and their family) with acceptable alternatives, resources and a very specific plan to ensure a smooth and successful transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.” explains Lauren Watral, MSW, who is trained as one of the nation’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals.

“As one of Keeping Us Safe’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals, I am able to facilitate the self-assessment program, and do so in the comfort of the individual’s home.  The program includes easy to administer, non-intrusive exercises meant to be performed right at the kitchen table.  One of the nicest features of the program is that it removes the family from the immediate line of fire when they are faced with this very challenging and emotional issue.” concludes Watral.   

“Our ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ program provides families with the missing link between their desire to bring this issue to a peaceful resolution, and their ability to actually do so.” says Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe.  Gurwell adds “It is important to remember that everyone ages differently, and because of that, driving abilities must be based on skills and not on age.”

Both the workbook and the self-assessment program are available to older drivers and their families in the greater Raleigh, North Carolina area  by email at lwatral@rgcmgmt.com or by visiting her website at Raleigh Geriatric Care Management (www.rgcmgmt.com).   

To learn more about Keeping Us Safe’s programs, call toll-free 877-907-8841 or visit the Keeping Us Safe website at http://www.keepingussafe.org.

 Don’t give tragedy the opportunity to strike your family; there is help available!

 

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Filed under adult children of aging parents, aging drivers, Alzheimer's Disease, care giving, care planning, caregiver burnout, caregiving, dementia, Depression and the elderly, elder care raleigh nc, employee stress, family meetings, Geriatric Care Management, Having a conversation, long term care planning, NC, Raleigh, Sandwich Generation, senior care, Seniors and driving

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