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Giving older drivers transportation options

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Aging drivers face safety concerns, but don’t necessarily have to give up the wheel.

This is one of the main points made in the Changing Seats presentation offered by the Transportation Options Network for Seniors (TONS), a provincial non-profit organization.

"It’s not that we’re suggesting changing seats," said TONS program co-ordinator Pam McConnell. "We want to realistically plan with them on what they’ll do."

TONS partners with Manitoba Public Insurance to train presenters and organize presentations in communities throughout the province. McConnell said the presentation is about 90 minutes long and focuses on specific issues of general concern for older drivers.

"We know that we gradually reduce when we’re driving as we get older," she said. For example, many older drivers aren’t comfortable driving at night.

The program encourages participants to assess themselves and identify risky driving situations. McConnell said the side effects of prescription medication, especially when combined with any alcohol, can suddenly adversely affect someone’s ability to drive safely.
Participants discuss transportation options available if they decide not to drive. However,

McConnell knows these are limited in most rural areas.

She said the provincial government offers funding to municipalities that want to provide a public transportation option, such as a van, within their areas. Because one municipality might have limited demand for this service, it might make sense for two or more municipalities to join together to share a van and driver.

Anyone interested in finding out more about TONS can visit www.tonsmb.org or contact McConnell at 204-799-1788 or info@tonsmb.ca

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