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Is the Glass Half-Full or it is Half-Empty? You Decide.

My business, like every other, has had to undergo changes since the Stay at Home order came about in California last week. That meant not attending business networking meetings, giving professional presentations to large groups, and cancelling my in-person meetings with potential clients. That was one month ago. Today, everything is different.

Since last week, I’ve attended four online business meetings where I’ve been able to share my ideas and expertise with others in a format that saves time, mileage, gas and the cost of parking. It’s been an overwhelmingly good experience.

I expect that if we are to continue observing social distancing, I will also be scheduling professional presentations in this way. This change is forcing me to learn new habits, which once learned, will be far more efficient and economical.

As far as getting together with potential clients, I’m finding that I have to be patient and wait for the economic downturn to flatten out. Some of the business people who had verbally committed to moving forward with hiring me to write new content for them are now putting their projects on hold until their businesses are restored.

However, others are moving forward with the projects they need because they realize that an online presence is not only powerful, but it is pretty much all they have to work with. With the downtime that they suddenly have, they are finding it is a fruitful time to work on new content, creating speaking presentations, or even writing the memoir that they said they would “one day get around to.”

The times we are in requires being adaptable to change – we need to utilize online apps, as difficult as that may be for some of us.

So I’ve decided to look at the glass being half-full rather than half-empty.  By doing so, I can accept the changes more easily and learn whatever I need to learn to make my time more efficient.

For those who would like help in setting up or improving their social media profile, or creating new or updated content for their business, I’m here to help – and now is as good a time as any to get started.

Family Connections to the Past Are Priceless

This week was a banner week for making connections with new members of my family. After doing an intensive search last October through various online databases for anyone related through my dad’s great-grandfather, I finally heard from a woman who I had never previously met. We share a common ancestry and yet our families had never met. Her great-grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers.

Then yesterday, another new family member popped up. This time, the connection came through an email sent to me three years ago through ancestry.com. I happened to be online on that site yesterday doing some research when I saw this man’s email asking if we were related. When I saw his grandmother’s last name, I realized that she was my maternal grandmother’s older sister – and again, we had never met or known about one another.

With the tools available now for research, one can trace their ancestry back well beyond what the memory remembers.

Today I had the pleasure of speaking to my mother’s 94-year old second cousin – someone who remembers my late grandfather and can tell me stories about him. My grandfather passed away when my mom was just a child so I’ve never known much about him. I’m excited about the possibility of recording this distant cousin’s stories and adding them to the memoir I originally wrote about my mom’s family several years ago.

Why is this important? Because every year, my family gets smaller as the older folks pass on. These are the people who remember those who came before us and can hopefully paint a vivid picture of who my ancesters were, how they lived, and what they were like.

As a memoir writer, I’m always looking for new information to add to my stories. With the addition of these two, recently-found family members – on my dad’s and my mom’s side of the family – I get to take a guided walk into the past to learn new information about people who were once close family members to my elders. This is an amazing gift and one that I hope more people will take before they lose these priceless resources.

As I finish this week, it’s the beginning of a new journey that I’m looking forward to taking, and the start of what I hope will be new friendships and ongoing relationships with long, lost family members who I never knew before.

CHP’S “Age Well, Drive Smart” Presentation Provides Helpful Information to Seniors

By Pat Kramer

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Vince Ramirez presented “Age Well, Drive Smart” at Sunland Senior Center to share information on safe driving to mature drivers. Over the next hour and a half, PIO Ramirez presented helpful information and answered questions including, when it is safe to give up your driving priviledges. Here’s a summary of what was presented:

The Baby Boomers (post WWII babies) are a very large population group which is now reaching (or have reached) retirement age. According to CHP statistics, there were 3 million people 65 and older in the State of California in 1990. By 2,000, there were 3.8 million and now in 2020, there are approximately 5.2 million people 65+. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 9 million in the State of California.

The impacts of living:

When a driver is aged 70 or older, it’s time to rate your reaction time, vision and hearing and to understand whether you are impacted by medication or physical issues affecting your legs, feet, hands, back or neck as these can impact the ability to turn, brake or accelerate.

Multitasking is never a good idea!

Additionally, with the advent of Smart Phones, we can now text to others in real time and get phone calls through our Blue Tooth devices. However, it’s never a good idea to multitask – at any age!  Looking down at your device, even for one second, can lead to a collision when someone in front of you stops suddenly. You can also swerve into another lane and cause someone else to have an accident.

Why is it so hard for seniors to know when to give up driving?

  • Because driving provides seniors with a feeling of self-worth and independence as well as the ability to be social, enjoy recreational opportunities, travel and see friends and family.
  • It’s not always easy to use public transportation. Waiting for a bus can expose you to the elements, you may have to walk a distance, and it often means you will have to allow more time to get to your destination.
  • Using the Metro system may mean having to drive to a parking lot to get a train, and that can be confusing.

Another reason people don’t give up driving when they are not fully capable of driving safely, is because they don’t necessarily know when their driving is unsafe. It often requires a person’s physician, family member or close friend to intervene.

How do you intervene to get someone off the road?

If you believe that someone should not be driving, you can report the unsafe driver to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Tressa Thompson is the DMV Senior Driver Ombudsman who says if someone is an at-risk driver, a written report needs to be filed with the DMV called “Request for Driver Reexamination” (DS699). The DMV will then initiate an investigation and they will keep the reporter confidential if asked to do so. Both she and CHP Officer Ramirez said this is a serious issue that usually involves the individual’s doctor, who is mandated to report inability to operate a motor vehicle safely, and often friends or family, who may have observed warning signs.

How to report someone as being unsafe behind the wheel?

Tressa says you can get the form at: www.DMV.CA.Gov by searching for “Request for Driver Reexamination” or report DS699. You can also call Tressa if you need more information at: (310) 615-3552

For those who are still healthy and fully functioning, here are some ways to ensure longevity and maintain alertness:

  • Get regular exercise
  • Engage in brain teasers like puzzles or games
  • Stay active – walking, dancing, etc.
  • Maintain good nutrition and hydration
  • Control alcohol intake
  • Take required medications at needed
  • Don’t get behind the wheel if a medication affects motor vehicle skills
  • Don’t drink and drive

When driving, always use the three second rule: Stay a pace of three seconds behind the car in front of you to avoid sudden stops.

Other suggestions:

  • Drive during off-peak hours.
  • Don’t drive at night.
  • Use surface streets to avoid freeways.
  • Know how to reach your destination before you leave home.
  • Have the address and phone number of where you are going written down on paper, not just on your Smart Phone (in case your phone goes dead or gives you wrong info).
  • Use public transportation – seniors get a discount on Metro.

Enter ICE information on your phone.

ICE means “in case of emergency.” This information should be put into your phone for emergency responders to use if something should happen and you are unable to speak.

Maintain your vehicle.

Keep your vehicle in good working order, check your tires to see if they are getting low, have your oil checked at regular intervals, make sure you have washer fluid for your windshield, and make sure your headrest and seat belt are adjusted correctly. The headrest should be directly behind your head, not your neck.

When to Call CHP:

While Sunland-Tujunga is part of the City of Los Angeles and is patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol can also be called if there is an emergency on the road. CHP oversees the freeways, county roads, state highways and some unincorporated areas of the City of L.A. They also oversee accidents incidents involving school buses when children are injured.

CHP can also write traffic tickets if they see something illegal occurring in our community!

If you see an incident involving property damage (such as a hit and run) or witness any violence occurring on the road, call it in to either CHP, LAPD or both at the following #s:

  • CHP, Altadena Office: (626) 296-8100 (during the day).
  • LAPD Valley Traffic: (818) 734-2223 (For hit and runs or other property damage)
  • In an emergency, always call “911” or if you spot a drunk driver.

By using an ounce of prevention and caution, most mature drivers can continue to drive safely until it’s time to let others take over by using other means of transportation such as: public assistance, private transportation, buses, Metro or friends and family.

At some point, you may also decide that it’s just “not worth it” to drive long distances, at night, or on the freeways at which point, you can explore other options.