Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Essex Happenings

ESSEX HAPPENINGS…..MAY 22, 2012 The primary reason that I prepare and gather information for this presentation is to provide information on the mission of Essex Heritage, the regional organization that has taken on partial responsibilities for the preservation, protection and promotion of the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County. But, beyond that primary purpose, I am also committed to monitor and present information that might either impact or affect the elderly, handicapped or disabled residents of his area. Towards that end, I participate in several local organizations including The Danvers Council on Aging, The North Shore Elder Services and a new named organization organized by Cornell Orthotics’ and Prosthetics called COPAA. This COPAA is short for Cornell Obstetrics and Prosthetics Amputee Association that each month brings Cornell clients together with organizations that provides support to disabled or handicapped individuals. Older Driver Regulations Passed Clearly one of the most discussed and controversial issues for older drivers and their families is the seniors ability to drive and the capability to pass tests that will allow them to continue to drive. My father never had a license to drive, so he was not an issue, but my mother did drive for the family and the complications that arose when we began to consider having her stop driving were serious. It was an actively discussed subject between my Mom, sister and I and when the time came for her to stop it was a very difficult time for all of us but we did ultimately convince her to stop driving. In addition to driving herself to bingo games, medical appointments and the like; she had become sort of a designated driver for many in the senior residence where she lived. After my two strokes and the leg amputation, I have not driven and I am fortunate enough to have the luxury of having a wife that has made the decision to get me where I need to be. Without her as my designated driver, life for me would be much more difficult. I was worried that my infirmities might be a substantial impediment and so that I elected to stop rather than waiting to be told I could not drive. Since I had a problem with my heart and had a defibrillator installed, I have limited my driving to local trips, but I am now not even doing those trips. There are also transportation opportunities available through the local public transportation utility called The Ride, but due to certain economic conditions that option has become expensive for many particularly the employed handicapped persons. Local councils on aging also offer transportation options through a subsidized program that some day soon could be difficult for some local councils to afford if funding is curtailed. So, today there are methods to get to medical appointments and to shop for food etc. but those options continue to shrink and we will monitor those options. This is certainly a work in progress. The following information was provided for your understanding by the North Shore Elder services The Public Health Council recently promulgated regulations that define when a person is too mentally or physically impaired to drive. The regulations are complicated but the following is a Boston Globe news article that does an excellent job in outlining the regulations. Health regulators define when person is too mentally and physically impaired to drive By Kay Lazar, Boston Globe Staff May 10. 2012 State health regulators Wednesday morning unanimously approved rules that define when a person is too cognitively or functionally impaired to drive safely. The state Public Health Council, an appointed panel of physicians, consumer advocates, and professors, adopted the rules after a brief discussion, to give health care providers guidance in evaluating when drivers should be required to give up their car keys. The rules, which are expected to take effect in several weeks, make clear that age and illness are not by themselves factors that would disqualify a person from having a license. Instead, the decision will be based on “observations or evidence of the actual effect” that impairment may have on a person’s ability to drive safely, according the regulations, which were developed based on public hearings and advice from medical specialists. Cognitive impairment is defined as an impediment that “limits a person’s ability to sustain attention, avoid distraction, understand the immediate driving context, and refrain from impulsive responding.” Some council members said the next step after approving the new rules should be to ensure that the information is widely disseminated to health care providers. John Auerbach, state public health commissioner and chair of the council, said his department will ask the state agency that licenses physicians, the Board of Registration in Medicine, to include the new rules on its website where physicians must renew their licenses. “Our experience with that has been quite positive,” Auerbach said. The council acted at the direction of the Legislature, which in 2010 passed a law that encouraged providers and police to report suspected impaired drivers to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, by giving them immunity from lawsuits. The law also prohibits people over 75 from renewing their licenses online; they must visit a registry branch and take a vision test. Age-related safety concerns became a flashpoint in 2010 after a series of car accidents involving older drivers. Kay Lazar can be reached at klazar@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar. Information Provided by Paul J. Lanzikos 
Executive Director 
North Shore Elder Services 
152 Sylvan Street 
Danvers, MA 01923-3568 
978/624-2244 (TTY) North Shore Elder Services 
Serving Danvers, Marblehead, Middleton, Peabody, Salem Life. Made Easier. Celebrating Older Americans’ Month – May 2012 – “Never Too Old to Play”  Before printing this e-mail think if it is necessary. Think Green! Each year North Shore Elder Services Recognizes Local Organizations that Provides Help to the Elderly. And annually, awards are provided to winners. As nomination forms become available, I will forward information to anyone that would like to offer a nomination. Save the Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012 We Give Thanks Awards Dinner Spinelli's Lynnfield 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. It's not to early to start thinking about this year's award nominees!!!! New President Installed as Northern Essex Community College At the end of last month, Northern Essex Community College was pleased to swear in Lane Glenn as President of the college. Glen who previously served as an academic dean was acted as President since July when he replaced the long-term CEO, David Hartleb. Who also served as a trustee for Essex Heritage. After Camelot I recently had a family member forget that I have been doing my reading on an electronic device and provided me with a bookstore gift card at a recent event. I used that card to purchase a new book that has chronicled the history of the Kennedy family from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy until today. The book is written by long time Kennedy family biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli and after only reading a couple of early chapters I have found the reading fascinating. Senator Ted Kennedy was a long time friend and supporter of the work of Essex Heritage and some of the revelations in the biography were interesting.

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