Week 4 - Blog from the road

You Don't Fatten the Lambs by Weighing Them

Storybook TourIt was him

As I struggled to understand who is responsible for safe senior mobility, the image that appeared in my mind was a Thomas Nast political cartoon I remembered from a middle school history book. Members of the notorious Tweed Ring, caricatured as potbellied politicians in suspenders and top hats, stood in a circle, each pointing to the person beside him, assigning responsibility to someone else.

I'm worried about their driving - I think you should talk to them

I phoned an artist friend and commissioned a cartoon to capture the image I pictured in my mind, describing the people I saw as key players-family, public safety, healthcare providers, and of course, the older people. When I saw the cartoon she drew, it was perfect.

I'm worried about their driving - I think you should talk to them There in the circle were caricatures of the people we recognize in the senior mobility drama-adult children and their children, a healthcare provider, and the department of motor vehicles. The artist, Toni Wolf, was much kinder than Thomas Nast and everybody looks friendly and nice. But they are all assigning to the next person responsibility for talking about safe driving, and no one is talking to the older people, who appear in the remote corner.

Last week on the Storybook Tour, as I talked to medical students at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the cartoon came to life. I was visiting with my dear friend, Dr. Germaine Odenheimer, a geriatric neurologist and a pioneer in the field of medicine and older drivers. Germaine and I became friends more than 20 years ago when I met her at a national conference. She is fond of telling everyone that I shook my finger and yelled at her, claiming doctors were not doing their job helping to identify impaired older drivers. Germaine teaches medical students and offers one of the only classes in the country on how to have a conversation with an older person about letting go of the keys. She contacted several of her former students who are now practicing. Dr. Gabriel Vidal, an internist, and Dr. Audra Yadack, a geriatric psychiatrist, agreed to tell their stories for the Tour. Germaine also interviewed for the Storybook Tour. She broached the sensitive subject about which we long ago argued, and have since simply agreed to disagree-mandatory reporting of impaired older drivers.

Read the full blog and comment here

Rides in Sight LogoDid you know that ITNAmerica also operates, through the generous support of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a toll-free hotline and searchable database called Rides in Sight? The Rides in Sight hotline (855-607-4337) is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and www.ridesinsight.org is searchable 24/7, connecting you with information about nearly 15,000 transportation providers all over the country. Help us spread the word by downloading our free html website banners here and posting it on your website today!


Are you inspired by this tour and Katherine's determination to drive 12,000 miles in the name of creating more transportation solutions for America's aging and visually impaired people? We need your support! ITNAmerica is a nonprofit organization, which means Katherine is staying on couches and in the cheapest hotels and AirBnB accommodations possible to keep costs down for this trip. Every donation helps. To make a donation, please visit our Crowdrise site here.

Katherine will be on the road with the Storybook Tour until Aug 14. Follow along at StorybookTour.org, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube to get the latest updates as they become available. Many more videos are in production and being posted to YouTube every day.

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