Next time you’re tempted to shake a fist at an older driver, remember they might be safer behind the wheel than you

Despite stereotypes to the contrary, drivers 65 and older are among the safest on the road.    They are more likely to wear seat belts and less likely to drink or text while driving compared with any other age group, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Yet they are more likely to die if they are involved in a crash. The reasons are complicated by individual circumstances and medical conditions, but with 25 percent of all U.S. drivers expected to be 65 or older in just 10 years, balancing the health and mobility needs of an aging population with public safety is a topic of increasing interest. Read more

Latest stories

Aging boomers fuel Alaska statistics

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Aging baby boomers are significantly boosting Alaska’s senior population, while younger age groups are maintaining their numbers, according to the state Department of Labor. Alaska’s senior population – age 65 and older – in 2014 reached 71,080, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. Read more

Study explores secrets to old age

What prolongs your life or prevents dementia might not be what you expect. Claudia Kawas, a geriatric neurologist at UC Irvine, has been working on a longitudinal study of people age 90 and older since 2003 called the 90-plus study. Kawas spoke in front of a packed crowd of 200 at the Newport Beach Public Library recently about what she’s found in her research on what can help a person’s longevity and what can reduce a person’s risk for dementia. Read more

CCS branches out ACT 2 programs

Beginning ukulele lessons, computer classes, yoga, amateur radio and bagel making are just few of the classes for seniors in Colville, Ione, Newport and Republic thanks to the expansion of Community Colleges of Spokane’s ACT 2 program. “We are really excited to be working with local instructors and the local staff to really meet the needs of the communities,” said Jaclyn Jacot, director of ACT 2 and career transitions. Read more

Seniors take love for competitive basketball into golden years

Eddy Birrer loves basketball. It’s that simple. Age is irrelevant to the 70-year-old Gonzaga University accounting professor who has shot hoops since about age 7, when he got a sports set that included a rubber football, baseball and basketball. “I sometimes ask if anyone knows CPR before a game begins,” Birrer said in his dry tone. Read more

In brief: Workshops tackle care planning

Advance care planning facilitators have scheduled 13 workshops in Whitman County today through Feb.28 to help people make important decisions for themselves and loved ones, specifically creating, writing and saving these plans. Honoring Choices Whitman County is partnering with local libraries to put on these workshops that are for all adults. Read more

Depression takes a toll on seniors

Along with the typical health issues that aging Americans face, more than 6.5 million people older than 65 also are dealing with the repercussions of depression, experts say. “Sometimes, depression occurs for no one clear reason,” said Tina Krenn, a market practice specialist in WellMed’s Winter Park, Florida, office. Krenn notes that contributing factors can include anything from hormones to drug or alcohol intake, a loss or another illness. Read more

Longtime director of regional aging agency brings career values into his own retirement

Aging is Nick Beamer’s passion, which makes his retirement last week after nearly 28 years as executive director of Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington an interesting juxtaposition for a man who now must live what he’s preached. It’s his turn to live longer, healthier and remain in his home – the very goal of the five-county agency that provides a myriad of services for seniors 60 and older and younger people with disabilities. Read more

Former Army buddies discover they’ve been neighbors for 18 years

DETROIT – Dave Brown had scoured the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington looking for his Army basic training buddy Roger Watson’s name. While in Vietnam in 1968, Brown ran into someone from Watson’s company and heard that his friend had been injured. Read more

Roundtable eases life challenges for seven grandkids

MINNEAPOLIS – She’s a therapist and career coach, cheerleader and wise woman, secret keeper and borscht pusher. Mostly, 85-year-old Gretta Freeman of Golden Valley, Minnesota, is chief executive officer of perhaps the most endearingly run support group in the Midwest, and likely beyond. Unfortunately for us, membership is closed. Read more

Report details boomers’ disabilities

Nearly 40 percent of people age 65 and older had at least one disability, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report that covered 2008 to 2012. Of those 15.7 million people, two-thirds of them say they had difficulty walking or climbing. Difficulty with independent living, such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping, was the second-most cited disability, followed by serious difficulties in hearing, cognitive functions, bathing or dressing and serious difficulty seeing. Read more