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Tattle Tale

High-tech car keeps grandma driving

“Every time I drive my car, I get lost,” my mother-in-law told her oldest daughter.

“But, Mom, you only drive within five minutes of home…”

“It’s fine. I stop at a gas station, show them the address on my license, and they point me toward the house.”

“Really, Mom, it sounds like a problem to me.”

“Don’t worry. And whatever you do, don’t tell the others.”

If you’ve ever tried to wrestle car keys from your elder, you know how nearly impossible a task it can be. That’s why I’ve got to wonder how many senior citizens would actually put themselves in the situation of voluntarily submitting to an ongoing critique of their driving habits.

Doug Newcomb, writing for the Wired Blog Network, tells us about a dandy automobile that will be on the market about the time the boomers’ children start to ask for their old folks’ keys:

The car of tomorrow will make senior citizens better, safer drivers and let them know when they ought to hang up the keys for good. It also could tell the DMV. Researchers at MIT’s AgeLab are building the “Aware Car,” a Volvo XC90 packed with cameras, monitors and sensors that keep tabs on drivers and their behavior to improve safety. The technology won’t be ready for another 20 years—but that’s about the time the last of the Baby Boomers will have turned 65 and one in four drivers will be that age or older. AgeLab studies the quality-of-life issues of an aging population, and the idea behind the Aware Car isn’t getting older drivers off the road but allowing them to drive safely as long as possible.

Tell me, with all the secrecy that typically surrounds advancing dementia and other concerns of old age, do you really think the Aware Car will ever be a big hit with Boomers intent on hanging onto their independence?

I didn’t think so.

Posted by Katy on 06/06/08}
in FamilyOur ParentsHealth

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Are You a Late Boomer?

If looming retirement is catching you off-guard between an aging parent and a revolving-door kid, you might be. If you've delayed travel only to discover they've changed the names of all the countries, you are. And if you're a member of the Baby Boomer Generation who's ready to give back but you've forgotten where you put it, stay tuned. From healthcare to personal finance, from career changes to volunteerism, it's time to boom where you are planted.