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Health News Round-Up: Plan Ahead Before Driving Becomes Unwise

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 11, 2015 2:04:00 PM

Making a ‘Retirement Plan’ for Driving

Recent health news from across the web: ‘retirement planning’ for driving, Medicare open enrollment, new mammogram guidelines, and more.A key component to aging in place is mobility — being able to get around independently. And in much of America, ‘mobility’ equals ‘driving.’ However, there may come a point when driving themselves is no longer a safe option for seniors; diminished vision, cognitive changes, and medication side effects are just some of the hazards that can jeopardize elderly drivers. But often, the issue isn’t raised until it must be dealt with, and it can be a point of contention between patients who want to feel independent and the caregivers or family members who must ask for the keys.

Giving up driving — or having driving privileges taken away — can be a difficult transition, one that may be harder to accept if it happens abruptly. Medical care can suffer, and feelings of isolation can contribute to depression. This NPR story takes the example of a few savvy seniors who made an advanced plan for ‘driving retirement.’ Researching transportation options and discussing possible solutions well before they are necessary may be preferable to scrambling once a need is already apparent (much like advanced care planning, in fact). Acknowledging that driving might not always be a feasible transportation choice can put wheels in motion toward safer driving practices now…and an easier transition to potential ‘retirement’ later.

(It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your ‘Driving Retirement’; NPR)

Meat and Meat Products Linked to Cancer

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans,’ where it joins known cancer-causing substances like tobacco and asbestos. The agency estimates that eating the equivalent of two slices of bacon daily increases a person’s risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Moreover, red meat, including beef, lamb, and pork, has been classified as ‘probably carcinogenic.’ Americans have long been advised that the amount of meat in our diets is risky for heart disease, weight management, and other health concerns; this latest announcement adds another wise argument for enjoying meat in moderation.

(Bacon and other processed meats can cause cancer, experts say; Reuters)

For Medicare Open Enrollment, Researching Options Can Pay Off

Open enrollment for Medicare has begun, and continues through December 7. Many seniors enrolled in Medicare, and/or in a separate prescription drug plan, tend to stay with whatever plan they already have. But this article makes the case for shopping around for the best coverage and price, especially for drug plans. The Medicare website offers a plan search tool that can be personalized to your specific needs. No matter what your situation or coverage, it’s a good idea to read up on your options and the time frames for enrollment.

(Check Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, Then Check It Again; New York Times)

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