Craig health briefs for Aug. 1, 2015: Study finds health problems in older adults linked to giving up driving | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig health briefs for Aug. 1, 2015: Study finds health problems in older adults linked to giving up driving

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

— Older adults who stop driving, whether voluntarily or not voluntarily, are more likely to suffer from depression, reduced cognitive ability and are five times more likely to enter a long-term care facility, according to a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and Columbia University.

The cessation of driving was found to be linked to diminished productivity, low participation in activities outside the home and a 51-percent reduction in the size of social networks over a 13-year period, according to a press release from AAA.

“Maintaining independence by continuing to drive safely is important to overall health and well-being," said Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive officer of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in a statement. "When the decision is made to relinquish the keys, it is vital to mitigate the potential negative effects through participation in programs that allow seniors to remain mobile and socially connected.”

AAA offers these tips for maintaining your driving health and quality of life:

  1. Stay on top of your fitness to drive using AAA's self-assessment program online at seniordriving.aaa.com or by talking to your doctor.
  2. Plan early and practice getting around without driving. Consider what a future without wheels would look like and build options into your retirement plan, such as public transit or rides from friends and family.
  3. Use it or lose it: exercise your brain with books, crossword puzzles or Sudoku in order to extend your years behind the wheel.

Relay for Life to take place Friday

The Relay for Life of Craig will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane in Craig. Event organizers are seeking to sign up at least 10 teams for this year's event. Individuals are also welcome to compete as a team of one or to join another team.

"The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is the world’s largest and most impactful fundraising event to end cancer," according to the event website. "It unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to finish the fight once and for all."

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Participants can register onsite Friday or online ahead of time. For more information, visit the Relay for Life of Craig website online or contact Sabrina Jackman at Sabrina.jackman@cancer.org or at 970-254-5587.

VNA seeking volunteers

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is seeking volunteers interested in helping with events and other needs throughout the nonprofit health organization.

Opportunities include assisting with the upcoming Rubber Ducky Race on Sept. 5 and other fundraisers, sharing crafts and activities with seniors at The Haven Assisted Living Center and helping with administrative duties or landscaping and maintenance at The Haven.

Volunteers also are needed to assist the Hospice program. They may provide support to hospice patients (training required) or assist hospice families by making meals or running errands.

Positions can be tailored to volunteers' unique skills and experience. For more information, visit nwcovna.org/volunteer or call VNA volunteer coordinator Mindy Marriott at 970-871-7609.

VNA advises awareness during tick season

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association advises residents be aware of ticks and tick-borne diseases during spring and summer months, when ticks are most active. Tick bites in Colorado can result in Colorado Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tick-borne Relapsing Fever.

Ticks should be removed from skin as soon as possible. People who remove ticks from a person or a pet need to wash their hands immediately. If you become ill after a tick bite or exposure to ticks, seek prompt medical attention.

Ticks are commonly found in wooded or brushy areas with tall grass. They may also inhabit rustic mountain cabins where chipmunks and other rodents may have visited.

Wear protective clothing – long-sleeved shirts and long pants – and do thorough tick checks after being in areas where ticks may be present. For information on how to safely remove a tick that has settled into the skin, go to http://www.cdc.gov/ticks.

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