How’s your driving?

The baby boomer generation is the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S.—and still behind the steering wheel.

By 2030, partly due to the aging of the boomers, there will be more than 70 million people age 65 and older, and approximately 85 percent of them will be licensed drivers. AAA, a not-for-profit organization with motoring and travel services, notes older motorists are known for practicing safe-driving habits by wearing safety belts, not drinking and driving, and observing speed limits, yet are more likely to be injured or killed in a crash due to age-related fragility. With the exception of teenagers, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile driven.

AAA, in an effort to help keep seniors driving for as long as safely possible, offers a brochure titled “Drivers 65 Plus,” which features a 15-question self-rating driving assessment. How a driver answers the questions helps determine their driving capabilities, including strengths and weaknesses. Examples of questions include “I signal and check to the rear when I change lanes,” “My thoughts wander when I drive,” and “I think I am slower than I used to be in reacting to dangerous driving situations.”

AAA also has information on other types of driver assessments, some of which require a fee. Local office locations include Tacoma (253-756-3050), Tukwila (425-251-6040), and Bremerton (360-377-0081).

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), a federal government agency, notes that while many older adults value the independence of driving, some natural effects of aging can alter a person’s ability to drive safely. For instance:

  • Stiff joints and muscles. Arthritis, which is common among older adults, can make it harder to turn your head to look back, turn the steering wheel quickly, or brake safely. Reaction time and reflexes can get slower, too.
  • Trouble seeing. Diminished eyesight can be a problem when reading street or traffic signs or when driving at night. Eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, can also cause problems. NIA recommends that drivers 60 or older get a dilated eye exam from every one to two years.
  • Trouble hearing. This can make it harder to notice horns, sirens, or even noises coming from your own car. According to NIA, drivers should get a hearing checkup at least every three years after age 50.
  • Medications.  Some drugs include a warning about driving, but even those that don’t might have a negative effect. Ask a doctor or pharmacist.
  • Certain medical conditions. The effects of Parkinson’s disease and strokes can mean it’s no longer safe to drive.
  • Dementia. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, some people can keep driving. But as memory and decision-making get worse, they will likely need to stop. Family and friends need to monitor the person’s driving ability and take action if they observe a potential problem, such as forgetting how to find familiar places like the grocery store or the way home.

Sources: AAA and National Institute on Aging.

Living in small spaces: Cozy or cramped?

When it comes to the home, bigger doesn’t always mean better.

A new survey from Duck, a brand of products that provide simple, imaginative and helpful solutions for a variety of tasks around the home, discovers that more than half of Americans living in a small space say they feel cozy and comfortable as opposed to cramped.

“We often assume that a larger home is the most desirable, but that’s not always the case,” says Chaffy Assad, product manager at Shurtape Technologies, LLC, the company that markets the Duck brand. “In fact, nearly half of the survey respondents enjoy living in a small space, which most defined as a two-bedroom home or smaller.”

A more intimate space offers many benefits: 61 percent say it’s easier to clean, 54 percent say it costs less and helps save money, and 52 percent say it’s easier to maintain. Additionally, 57 percent plan to continue living in their home for the foreseeable future.

While there are many benefits to tinier homes, there are some challenges to living with less space. Fifty-nine percent of Americans say the biggest downside is the lack of storage, with 48 percent of people feeling it’s harder to keep small spaces clean and organized compared to larger spaces.

Which areas prove to create the biggest cleaning conundrums? The kitchen ranks number one as the hardest room to keep neat and tidy, with the living room a close second, followed by the bedroom in third. The belongings that are the most difficult to make space for are cookware, bags, shoes and gym equipment.

That being said, Americans are good at finding ways to make the most of their home by keeping clutter to a minimum and getting creative with organizing, the survey finds. Duck brand offers a variety of organizing ideas and solutions that help people tidy up, from the EasyMounts Mounting System that can transform a disorganized entryway, closet or garage, to the versatile EasyLiner Brand Shelf Liner that can make surfaces stylish and mess-free.

“No matter how limited your space is, there is always a way to maximize it,” Assad adds. “Making minor and affordable changes, like mounting removable hooks on the wall, easily adds extra storage to hang such items as cooking utensils or a purse, while installing shelf liner on kitchen shelves or in bathroom drawers protects surfaces and makes it simple to wipe up spills or messes.”

Source: StatePoint Media

Going green for funerals, burials


By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

What can you tell me about green funeral options? At age 80, I would like to pre-plan my funeral and make it as natural as possible. 

Old Environmentalist

Dear Environmentalist,

Great question! Green funeral options are becoming increasingly popular in the United States as more and more Americans look for environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional funerals. Here’s what you should know about “green burial” and “green cremation” options, along with some tips to help you locate services in your area.

Green burial

A green/natural burial will minimize the environmental impact by forgoing the embalming chemicals (which is not required by law), traditional casket, and concrete vault. Instead, you’ll be buried in either a biodegradable container or shroud with no vault and you won’t be embalmed. This allows the body to decompose naturally and become part of the earth.

If you want to temporarily preserve the body for viewing or a memorial service, you can request dry ice or Techni ice, a refrigeration unit, or a non-toxic embalming agent.

You’ll also be happy to know that green burials are much cheaper than traditional funerals, which average around $8,000 in 2023. By scrapping the coffin, vault and embalming, which are expensive, you’ll save yourself several thousand dollars on your funeral costs.

To find green burial services in your area, see if there’s a certified green funeral home in your area and contact them. The Green Burial Council offers an online directory of providers and other resources at If there isn’t one nearby, contact several traditional funeral homes to see if they offer green funeral service options.

You’ll also need to find a green cemetery. There are nearly 100 throughout the U.S., along with more than 300 traditional (hybrid) cemeteries that offer green burials, too. Or, if you own rural property, you may be able to have a home burial there, if your state and county allow it.

If, however, there are no green cemeteries nearby you can still make your burial more environmentally friendly. If a vault is required, ask to have holes drilled in the bottom, or use a concrete grave box with an open bottom so the body can return to the earth.

Green cremation

If you would rather be cremated, you have some green choices. While cremation has always been touted as being more eco-friendly than a typical burial, a traditional cremation, which uses high heat to incinerate the body, does emit greenhouse gases into the air.

A green cremation, however, uses water and potassium hydroxide to reduce a deceased body to its basic element of bone ash within a few hours. This technique, which is known as alkaline hydrolysis, is a little more expensive than traditional cremation but, unfortunately, it’s not legal in every state. Contact some local funeral providers to find out if this is available in your area, or Google “alkaline hydrolysis cremation” followed by your city and state.

Another consideration is deciding what to do with the remains. Instead of scattering, which can be harmful to the environment, there are a wide variety of biodegradable urns that dissolve into the earth or water over time, and memorial urns that will grow a plant or tree in combination with your ashes.

Jim Miller is a contributor to NBC TV’s “Today.” Send senior questions for him to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or at

44-mile trail system now complete

The final segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail is open, completing King County’s portion of the 44-mile paved Locks to Lake Corridor that connects Seattle’s waterfront in Ballard to Eastside cities and the Cascade foothills

The 3.6-mile final link completes the 11-mile trail’s connection to the Burke-Gilman, Sammamish River, Marymoor Connectors, and Issaquah-Preston trails, welcoming people of all ages and abilities to walk, ride, roll, and bike.

At a trail-opening ceremony, County Executive  Dow Constantine noted the new lakeside link “allows residents from all across King County to use a safe, healthy, and accessible recreation path” that is 12 feet wide with two of gravel shoulders on each side. Construction crews also installed new culverts for salmon to swim underneath the trail to reach spawning habitat.

The trail follows the old BNSF Railroad along Lake Sammamish’s eastern shoreline. At its southern end in Issaquah, the trail links to Issaquah-Preston Trail. To the north, it connects to the Marymoor Connector Trail at Marymoor Park, which connects to the Sammamish River Trail and Sound Transit’s new Link light-rail stations in Redmond.

King County purchased the East Lake Sammamish corridor in 1997 and opened a gravel-surfaced interim trail in 2006.

The Locks to Lakes Corridor is part of the Leafline Trails network of more than 500 miles of paved, non-motorized trails across King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties.