Keeping Us Safe Partners With the Ohio State Highway Patrol to Prevent Older Driver Tragedies

Keeping Us Safe is pleased to announce a new partnership between its organization and the Ohio State Highway Patrol to help prevent older driver fatalities in the greater Miami County, Ohio area.

The Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol will be sponsoring Keeping Us Safe’s “A Safe Drive Through the Aging Process” presentation on October 17, 2014.  The event will be hosted by the Robinson Branch of the Miami County YMCA.

Keeping Us Safe is a national organization that works with older drivers and their families Keeping Us Safe-A Safe Drive Through the Aging processwhen the issue of age-related diminishing driving skills arises.  The one-hour presentation, free to the public, will offer suggestions on how an older driver can extend his or her safe driving career.  The program stresses the importance of staying aware of diminishing skills (physical and cognitive) as we age, and making appropriate adjustments in our driving behavior to compensate for a decline in those skills.

Last year in Ohio, 123 individuals age 65 and older were killed in traffic crashes.  Keeping Us Safe’s programs are designed to significantly reduce those numbers, both in Ohio and across the country.  “Meaningful partnerships between government agencies and the private sector can prove invaluable in solving public safety challenges.” says Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe, “It is an honor to be working with the Ohio State Highway Patrol on this life-saving initiative.”

According to AARP, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 per day for the next 18 years!  Tragically, an average of 15 people ages 65+ die in car accidents every day across the United States.  “The issue of older drivers with diminished driving skills can be a very complex, sensitive and emotional family issue” Gurwell explains, “Our programs help older drivers extend their safe driving careers, or when necessary, help them make a smooth transition into a driving retirement, with minimal erosion to their pride, dignity, or independence.”

The presentation is being hosted by the Robinson Branch of the Miami County YMCA, located at 3060 S. CR 25A, Troy, Ohio 45373.  The program will begin at 10AM on Friday, October 17, 2014.  For more information contact Donn Craig at 937-440-9622.   Family members and friends are also invited to attend.

To learn more about Keeping Us Safe’s programs, please visit their website at www.keepingussafe.org.  Specific inquiries made be made by email at info@keepingussafe.org or by telephone at 877-907-8841.

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

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Parkinson’s Disease; When Is Driving No Longer Safe?

The DiseaseKeeping Us Safe Parkinsons Disease

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation reports that as many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease.  Rooted deep within the brain, the disease is a movement disorder that is both chronic and progressive, meaning that the symptoms are likely to continue and will probably worsen over time.  Although there is no known cure for the disease, medicine and treatment options can make the disorder more manageable.

This mysterious disease, whose cause is still unknown, was discovered in 1817 by British physician James Parkinson.  Only about 4% of Americans diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed before the age of 50, the remaining 96% are diagnosed in their later years.

As with so many other neurological disorders, the physical symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person, but typically include tremors, slowness of movements, limb and muscle stiffness, problems with standing and coordination, impaired balance, and an overall decline in motor skills.  Cognitive symptoms of the disease may include an erosion of thinking and/or language, as well as visuospatial and problem-solving skills.

To complicate matters, anxiety and depression have proven to be common occurrences for those afflicted with Parkinson’s, as the world observed first-hand with the tragic and untimely passing of actor Robin Williams.  Seventy-five percent of patients with the disease are likely to experience cognitive impairment and up to 40% will develop some form of dementia.

The Medications

Parkinson’s medications have a well-documented history of producing side effects such as sleepiness, dizziness, blurred vision and confusion.

Levodopa is a common drug used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.  It is most effective for those patients experiencing rigidity and difficulties moving all or part of their body (akinesia). Common side effects of levodopa include sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, agitation, which over time may advance to hallucinations, delusions and even psychosis.  Long term use of levodopa is also associated with motor fluctuations and dyskinesias (abnormal, involuntary movements that cause rapid jerking or slow and extended muscle spasms).

Anticholinergics, also used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s, are a class of drugs that block the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, and help slow involuntary movements of the muscles.  Unfortunately, they are also known to cause confusion, sedation and memory impairment.

A Short Story

Intrigued by the mysteriousness of the disease, and wanting to learn more about the impact it has on its victim’s driving abilities, I have had the good fortune to attend several Parkinson’s support group meetings.  One particular, well-attended meeting was led by a local physician who was discussing the merits of deep-brain stimulation surgery and how it can, in some cases, be used to drastically reduce the symptoms associated with the disease.

Near the end of the doctor’s presentation, an older gentleman in the back of the room stood up and asked “The other night I was driving home and I saw a car coming towards me.  As it got closer, the two oncoming headlights morphed into three headlights.  It scared me but somehow I made it past the oncoming car safely.  If that happens again, what should I do…just aim for the middle headlight?”  The gentleman, a retired farmer, was very serious with his question and displayed not a hint of humor.  Rather, his face exhibited concern and fear.

Being uneducated on the issue of the side effects of Parkinson’s medications, I was startled by the seriousness of the farmer’s question.  I was equally surprised to see that the audience saw the merit in the question and that they were very interested to hear the physician’s advice on how to handle similar situations.  It was as if everyone in the room had experienced this or a very similar situation in the past.

The Driving Issue

One can easily imagine the adverse effects these symptoms, and the medications designed to ease them, can have on an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.  It is very important that the person afflicted with Parkinson’s disease remain responsible about his or her actions, and must never forget the potential dangers the disease presents to driving.

Not giving ample attention to the effects of the disease and its medications will create an even more dangerous driving environment for those afflicted.  As the disease continues to progress, it will eventually affect reaction time, vision, judgment and one’s ability to handle the multiple tasks required for safe driving.

When the physical and cognitive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease begin to erode the individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, steps should be taken to retire from what was probably a long and successful driving career.  Remember that the disease is progressive and that even though the individual may be safe to drive today, their safe driving status is likely to decline over time.

Conclusion

Fortunately, much is being done to help find both the cause and a cure for this debilitating disease.  Earlier this year the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke held a conference in Bethesda, Maryland, titled “Parkinson’s Disease 2014: Advancing Research, Improving Lives,” in which they brought together leading neuroscience researchers, physicians, patients and caregivers to set aggressive priorities for Parkinson’s disease research.

The United Kingdom’s University of Nottingham is currently doing work that will lead to more effective brain scans for Parkinson’s patients.  In March, Rutgers University received a 3.4 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to convene a study to further explore the brain for keys to solving Parkinson’s disease.

Matt Gurwell is a speaker, author, and expert on the issue of older drivers and drivers with certain disabilities.  He is also the founder of Keeping Us Safe, a national organization with a mission to provide assistance to older drivers and their families as they face the challenging issue of diminished driving skills.  Visit the Keeping Us Safe website at www.keepingussafe.org for more information on their services.    

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Have You Ever Thought of Becoming One of the Nation’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals?

Keeping us Safe Beyond Driving with DignityKeeping Us Safe has released the October schedule of introductory webinars for individuals interested in becoming one of the nation’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals.

The webinar is for qualifying professionals interested in:

  • Making a positive difference in your community
  • Learning a new skill that will challenge and reward you at the same time
  • Being challenged on an interpersonal level as you problem solve for families
  • Expanding the current marketing reach of your business or non-profit organization
  • Making yourself or your organization even more marketable to your internal and external customers?
  • Becoming part of an emerging, national team of experts in facilitating Keeping Us Safe’s “self-assessment program for older drivers™”?

In addition to saving lives, it is worthy to note that becoming certified in the “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program is an excellent way to further your personal revenue stream, or to further the professional revenue stream (and marketing efforts!) of your business or organization.

If you are interested in becoming part of our team, we cordially invite you to join us for this 45 minute, quick-paced, informational webinar on the benefits of becoming certified in this nationally-recognized program.  These complimentary webinars will be offered as follows:

  • October 3, 2014 at 11AM (EST)
  • October 9, 2014 at 3PM (EST)
  • October 15, 2014 at 5PM (EST)
  • October 21, 2014 at 11AM (EST)
  • October 30, 2014 at 3PM (EST)

To register for any one of the webinars please visit: http://keepingussafe.org/becomingacbddprofessional.htm.

For more information on the certification program you may also download our brochure at: http://keepingussafe.org/linked/brochurebddprofessionalcertification011314.pdf

To learn more about Keeping Us Safe’s programs, please visit our our website at http://www.keepingussafe.org.  Specific inquiries made be made by email at info@keepingussafe.org or by telephone at 877-907-8841.

 

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Education Programs Available for Florida Professionals Working With Older Drivers

Keeping Us Safe-CEU ProgramsKeeping Us Safe is pleased to announce that their continuing education program (CEU) for professionals has been approved by the Florida Statewide Public Guardianship Office.

The course, titled “Bringing a Peaceful Resolve to Complex and Sensitive Senior Driving Issues” is already being delivered across the country to other professionals such as nurses, social workers, guardians, professional caregivers, clergy, discharge planners and nursing home administrators, etc.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this program through the Florida Statewide Guardianship Office” says Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe.  “Our hopes are that this course will help reduce the number of older driver tragedies in Florida, while simultaneously providing front line professionals with yet another tool in helping older drivers with diminished driving skills make a smooth and dignified transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat” Gurwell concludes.

This 4-hour course provides attendees with the ability to identify areas of concern involving older drivers, and will assist in the development of attainable lifestyle changes for the older driver that will help keep him or her safe.

Attendees will also be presented with early intervention tools that will assist them in identifying signs of decline in the senior driver as well as methods to intercede or to provide direction to concerned family members, all with minimal deterioration to the individual’s self-worth and personal independence.

Keeping Us Safe also provides presentations to the public titled:

  • A Safe Drive Through the Aging Process (meant for older drivers themselves), and
  • Adults with Aging Parent Drivers

As well, they also offer a continuing education program for the criminal justice community (law enforcement, courts, etc.) titled “Driving Under the Influence of Dementia™”.

To learn more about Keeping Us Safe’s programs, please visit their website at http://www.keepingussafe.org.  Specific inquiries made be made by email at info@keepingussafe.org or by telephone at 877-907-8841.

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

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The Workbook for Older Drivers and Their Families

Do you wonder if the older driver in your family may be experiencing diminishing driving Keeping us Safe Beyond Driving with Dignityskills as a result of the natural aging process?

Has your parent become lost recently while driving on an otherwise familiar route?  Have you noticed mom bumping into curbs, mailboxes, or scraping the side of the garage when she backs out?  Are there unexplained scuff marks on the corners of dad’s bumpers?  Has dad been involved in a minor parking lot fender-bender recently, or does he complain about being honked at all the time?  Do either of them seem easily confused or more forgetful when you talk with them on the telephone?

If so, don’t panic; you are certainly not alone.  The most important thing to remember is that the time to start addressing your concerns over driving is now, before “concerns” turn into “tragedies”.

Facts:  According to AARP, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day for the next 18 years!  Tragically, an average of 15 people ages 65+ die in car accidents every day in the United States

The issue of taking the keys away from a parent can be extremely sensitive and emotional.  Having this discussion has been likened to trying to throw a diplomatic hand grenade at your parents and the “talk” has been known to divide entire families.  Adult siblings, otherwise close to each other their entire lives, can end up at war with each other (and/or with their parents) on how best to address the driving issue.

There is a solution; Keeping Us Safe has developed a workbook titled “Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families”.

The workbook employs a very user-friendly, uncomplicated method and is designed to be used in the comfort and confidence of the family’s home.  It has been designed to remove the family’s emotion, opinion and speculation from the decision making process, and reduces everything to simple fact so that appropriate decisions can follow.

More specifically, the workbook helps the family and the older driver better recognize any deficiencies in the following dimensions:

  •  Vision
  • Hearing
  • Memory
  • Reflex and reaction time
  • Strength and flexibility
  • Medications, and
  • Overall health concerns

“The workbook was written to help families (or professionals working with families) by providing them with a ‘roadmap to success’ in their quest to overcome the challenges of an older driver’s safety” explains Matt Gurwell, founder and CEO of Keeping Us Safe.

Gurwell adds “If driving restrictions or even a complete retirement from driving are deemed appropriate, the ‘Limit Driving, Not Living’ chapter of the workbook helps the family identify and implement alternative means of transportation for the retiring driver.”

Working through this instrument will help concerned families make appropriate driving-related decisions that are not only in the best interest of the older driver, but simultaneously find themselves in the best interest of highway safety in general. This workbook was designed to be used by the family in the confidence and comfort of their own home, most likely seated right at the family’s kitchen table.

To purchase a workbook or to learn more about how the workbook can help your family or client, visit the Keeping Us Safe website at www.keepingussafe.org.

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A Unique Program Designed to Save Lives and Increase an Employee’s Well-Being

The Purpose

Keeping us Safe

The purpose of this document is to identify an issue that many of your employees are likely to experience throughout the course of their careers, and to offer employers a solution that will keep these valued employees from lapsing into a preventable state of distraction and worry in the first place.

It has been well documented that if employee problems are left un-addressed, they will ultimately have a negative impact on the organization’s bottom line.  According to a 2013 Gallop report, ‘active disengagement’ by employees costs United States employers an estimated $550 billion annually.  Combine this with the fact that an average of 15 people ages 65+ die in car accidents every day in the United States, and you now have a potential new problem in the workplace.

Earlier this year, Caring.com conducted a nationwide survey that showed a whopping 60% of family caregivers say their caregiving duties have a negative effect on their job.  In a similar study, MetLife reports that employees who are also caregivers cost employers at least 8% more in healthcare costs.  These same caregivers are often faced with the issue of worrying about mom or dad’s safety as drivers, which establishes the premise of this article.

The Problem

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that on average, we out live our safe driving years by 7-10 years.  For those of us still in the work force, that means there may very well come a day when we become concerned about a loved one’s safe driving abilities.  In its early days, those initial concerns are very manageable and will likely require no outside assistance.  However, if left unaddressed, those initial ‘concerns’ can easily morph into a deeper rooted worry or even fear, which is sure to erode the employee’s well-being and otherwise high level of productivity.

To add to the complexity of the problem, the issue of taking the keys away from a parent has been known to divide entire families.  Adult siblings, otherwise close to each other their entire lives, can end up at war with each other (and/or with their parents) on how best to address the driving issue.  Imagine the stress this is likely to cause for an otherwise very productive employee.  In some cases, if not handled properly, this family issue can even result in tragedy.

One must wonder how many employees lost work time as a result of these preventable tragedies:

  • “Elderly man runs over, drags and kills woman at Costco gas station”, KTAR News, Scottsdale, AZ
  • “Two 6-year-olds pinned against Walgreen’s wall by elderly driver”, ABC News, San Francisco, CA
  • “Man, 77, crashes car into Maryland Sam’s Club; bystander needs amputation”, The Huffington Post, New York, NY

The list of people adversely affected by any one of these completely avoidable tragedies is infinitely long.  Many lives have been affected…forever.  The short list of affected employees includes immediate family members of the older driver and the victims, extended family members, witnesses, property owners, neighbors, etc.

Imagine for a moment how heavy the hearts were of any adult children from the above tragedies when they finally returned to work.  Sadly, the employee may struggle, sometimes for the rest of their lives, with a sense of ‘I should have done more to get mom to quit driving.’

The Solution

The sole mission and purpose of Keeping Us Safe and our “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program is to work with families to help older drivers with diminished driving skills make a smooth transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat before tragedy strikes.

Keeping Us Safe’s self-assessment program for older drivers is an early intervention program, designed (in part) to relieve a valued employee’s distress surrounding an elderly parent’s driving.

Having taken appropriate and effective action through timely use of the “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program, employees will no longer obsessively dwell on the driving safety of mom or dad. Your valued employees will be able to focus on organizational goals and job responsibilities and will not be distracted by concerns over their loved one’s safety and the risk they might be posing to others.  Bringing a peaceful resolve to the senior’s driving issue will surely bring the worried employee’s concentration, focus and organizational skills back to the expected level of performance.

Conclusion

According to AARP, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day for the next 18 years!  Professionals, academia and the general public often refer to this trend as the Silver Tsunami.  The issue of age related diminished driving skills is not going away anytime soon.  It has been said that organizations that do not have a plan in place to address the driving issue with families, will soon be surpassed by the ones that do.

Keeping Us Safe’s “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program can help employers:

  • Decrease healthcare costs
  • Enhance employee well-being
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Reduce employee absenteeism, and
  • Strengthened recruitment and employee retention

In addition to saving lives, proper utilization of this program will arm managers with yet another tool in dealing with difficult, complex and sensitive employee issues.  If you are an employer, human resource coordinator, benefits coordinator or an EAP professional, and are interested in learning more about this problem-solving program, please feel free to contact us at 877-907-8841, or visit the Keeping Us Safe website at www.keepingussafe.org.

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Falls and the Older Driver

Are you an older driver who has fallen in the past year or so?  Do you find yourself losing your balance more than you have in the past?  For adult children, have you noticed more trips or falls in your aging parent?  Has your loved one recently stumbled or tripped in their home?  Are they still driving?  If so, this article is for you!

Keeping Us Safe Fall PreventionThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that one out of three older adults (those aged 65 or older) fall each year.  And the Journals of Gerontology further reports that half of those persons actually have multiple falls.

Resent research has established a definite correlation between falls and older driver crash involvement.  According to an article published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older adults that have fallen two or more times in the previous year may be at a higher risk of being involved in an at-fault car crash.

The study, conducted by Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, and the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also reported that older drivers who fell two or more times in the prior year were 1.5 times as likely to be involved in an accident and two times as likely to be involved in an at-fault accident.

The study’s bottom line; a history of frequent falling can serve as a valid indicator in identifying older drivers that are at a higher risk for future traffic accidents.  That’s pretty significant!

Fortunately, falling is NOT an inevitable part of the aging process as falls can be prevented.  In loose translation, that could mean that by preventing falls, we could ultimately prevent automobile accidents involving older drivers.

The CDC has developed the following tips to help older adults stay independent and reduce their chances of falling:

  • Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good.
  • Ask a doctor or pharmacist to review current medications (both prescription and over-the counter) to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Have your loved-one’s eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update their eyeglasses to maximize their vision.
  • Make the home safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways, and improving lighting in the home.

Other helpful tips are available from the CDC’s website at cdc.gov.

Trauma surgeon and researcher Julius Cheng, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, may have said it best when he commented “Instead of just treating falls as they happen, the focus should be on what we can do to help older people avoid them in the first place.”  I wonder if he was also thinking of preventing automobile accidents when he offered that single piece of advice.

Submitted by Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe, LLC. Matt works with older drivers to help them determine whether they are still safe drivers. Visit his website at www.keepingussafe.org to learn more about their Enhanced Self-Assessment Program, designed specifically for senior drivers, or to schedule a presentation for your group, business, or organization.

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Free Informational Webinars on Becoming a Certified ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ Professional

Keeping Us Safe, a national organization headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, has developed a program designed to prevent tragedies involving older drivers with diminished driving skills.  The program, titled “Beyond Driving with Dignity”, is a self-assessment program designed to help older drivers make appropriate decisions about their driving future in response to age-related diminishing driving skills. 

These one-on-one sessions are facilitated by any one of Keeping Us Safe’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals and typically take place in the home of the older driver.  The three hour session includes an in-depth learning conversation with the older driver, several cognitively-based screening tools, a review of one’s medical history and an actual on-road driving exercise. 

Matt Gurwell, a retired Ohio State Trooper and founder of Keeping Us Safe, explains that “Our Certified ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ Professionals provide concerned families with the missing link between their desire to bring the driving issue to a peaceful resolution, and their ability to actually do so.”  

Gurwell adds that “The ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ Professional Certification program was developed to arm qualifying professionals with the tools necessary to help older drivers and their families work through the complicated issue of age-related diminishing driving skills.”

In a growing effort to make the “Self-Assessment Program for Older Drivers” available in every community across the country, Keeping Us Safe will be offering aKeeping us Safe "Beyond Driving with Dignity" free, 45-minute informational webinar on the benefits of becoming trained and certified in the program. 

Webinar topics include a review of how the certification can benefit individuals enrolling in the program, what the benefits are to an organization (profit or non-profit) that has a team member trained in the program, and of course, what the benefits are to the local community and to families struggling with the driving issue.  The webinar will also explain how the certification can be used as a way to supplement an individual’s (or organization’s) revenue stream. 

To register for an upcoming webinar, or to learn more about Keeping Us Safe’s “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professional Certification Program, please visit   http://keepingussafe.org/becomingacbddprofessional.htm or call Keeping Us Safe at 877-907-8841.    

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Keeping Us Safe to Present at the Ohio Mature Driver Conference

Keeping Us Safe Mature Driver Conference

Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe, will be speaking at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s “Educating the Mature Driver” Conference in Columbus, Ohio, on July 29, 2014.

The conference was developed by ODOT for individuals certified (or interested in becoming certified) in providing Ohio’s Mature Operator Course through their driving school, and for individuals interested in learning more about mature driver needs. Gurwell will be facilitating a discussion centered on Keeping Us Safe’s “Bringing a Peaceful Resolve to Complex and Sensitive Senior Driving Issues” presentation.

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Keeping Us Safe is a national organization that provides services to older drivers and their concerned families as they face the emotional and delicate issue of a loved-one’s diminished driving skills as a result of the aging process.

“Our programs provide concerned families with the missing link between their desire to bring the driving issue to a peaceful resolution, and their ability to actually do so”, explains Gurwell, who is also a retired Ohio State Trooper.

“I am very excited to be participating in this conference. My hopes are that I can provide conference attendees with valuable insight on how to address the issue of age-related diminished driving skills, so that the individual’s dignity and independence are not jeopardized.” Gurwell stated.

The one-day conference kicks off at 9AM at the ODOT complex located at 1980 West Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio. For more information on the conference contact ODOT’s Valerie Luptak at 614-466-3524.

For more information on Keeping Us Safe’s programs please visit www.keepingussafe.org. Media inquiries are asked to call 216-904-8841.

 

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Keeping Us Safe Will Present Their “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Program at the 2014 Florida Conference on Aging

Keeping Us Safe-Florida Council on AgingMatt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe, has been accepted by the Florida Council on Aging Program Committee to speak at the 2014 Florida Conference on Aging in a session titled “Beyond Driving with Dignity”.

The conference, sponsored by the Florida Council on Aging, is being held at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa Hotel in Weston (Ft. Lauderdale) from August 4-6, 2014. The title of this year’s conference is Aging; Unleashed.

Keeping Us Safe is a national organization that provides services to older drivers and their concerned families as they face the emotional and delicate issue of a loved-one’s diminished driving skills as a result of the aging process.

“The ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ program provides concerned families with the missing link between their desire to bring the driving issue to a peaceful resolution, and their ability to actually do so”, explains Matt Gurwell, who is also a retired Ohio State Trooper.

“I am very excited to be part of this year’s conference.” Gurwell stated. “On a personal level, being among such high caliber professionals that share the desire to help older adults remain independent and to give them options to age in a dignified manner will prove very rewarding. On a professional level, my hopes are that I can provide conference attendees with valuable insight on how to address the issue of age-related diminished driving skills, so that the individual’s dignity and independence are not jeopardized.” Gurwell concluded.

The conference is being sponsored in partnership with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Florida Association of Aging Services Providers and the National Institute of Senior Centers. For more information on the conference, visit the Florida Council on Aging at http://www.fcoa.org.

When asked what the turning point was for starting Keeping Us Safe, Matt explains “There was never one particular event. It was the result of 20-plus years of holding dying people in my arms at terrible car accidents, and delivering dozens of death notifications to families. I would much rather work with families bringing a peaceful resolve to this sensitive and uncomfortable issue now, rather than have them deal with it when a police officer is knocking on their front door”.

For more information on Keeping Us Safe’s “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program please visit www.keepingussafe.org. Media inquiries are asked to call 216-904-8841.

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