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“Driver with Test Anxiety” and “Addicted to my iPhone”

It would seem that technology has invaded our lives. The senior Jewish community in Vancouver offers seminars and classes in order to familiarize its seniors with iPads, Smart Phones and other digital devices. With awareness and knowledge, seniors are increasingly becoming computer literate and digitally savvy. My readers today are concerned with an old technology, the automobile; and a new technology, the smart phone.   

Dear Hannah,

I have been driving since I am thirteen years old when my father taught his daughter to drive in the parking lot behind the racetrack! I am about to turn 80 years of age and I just read an article in the Vancouver Sun which gave me a fright, “How  much should seniors pay to be able to drive?” (Friday, Jan. 29,, 2016). I understand that my physician must complete the Driver Medical Examination Report every two years at my cost of $193.00. Then I heard on the CBC that Translink expects many more senior passengers as older people are pressured to give up their driver’s license and, therefore, will have to use public transportation.  Please explain all this to me, I do not know where to start.  

– Driver With Test Anxiety

Dear “Driver With Test Anxiety” 

Take a deep breath! Yes, it is true, British Columbia has special licence renewal requirements that are age related. Drivers at the age of 80 are required to have a medical fitness test. If the doctor believes there is a medical problem, this might be followed by the DriveAble touch screen test which was designed to determine cognitive ability, or-to be more precise-to detect cognitive disability….The government also allows road assessments for those who fail the touch-screen test ( The final decision is based on a combination of the two tests, plus the doctor’s evaluation. Furthermore you must see your physician every two years thereafter, and pay each time. Doctors will often charge a lower-than-recommended fee if they think it is a hardship for their patient.

You may want to brush up your skills with a driving lesson from a licensed driving school. Some driver licensing offices host special presentations for senior drivers. ICBC has many suggestions on their website to assist senior drivers (

I suggest that you participate in the CarFit Canada programme which is an educational event that provides a quick, yet comprehensive review of how well you and your vehicle work together ( The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) in partnership with Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) have worked together to bring CarFit to Canada. Do the CarFit assessment, then take a driving lesson, and then see your physician. In this way you will have confidence in your ability to handle the anxieties of the medical test and perhaps, the ICBC test. With knowledge and preparation, you can ace this challenge.

M.Sc. Counselling  

Dear Hannah,

I am a 75 year retired gentleman, who has finally given up his flip phone for an iPhone. My sons and grandchildren all have iPhones. They are very excited for me and we are enjoying Face Time together. I am on Facebook with them and some friends. I like it, it is a great way to keep track of what people are up to. Once in a while I post a photo or a blog. Twitter is fun and I can find people to whom I relate and discuss some pertinent issues online. I get weather alerts, garbage day notices and emails on my iPhone. I use Van Connect to report problems to the city. I ask Siri questions. To tell the truth I love my iPhone. My question to you is “Is social networking good for me?” 

-Addicted To My iPhone

Dear “Addicted To My iPhone” 

I would bet that your children and grandchildren live far away. I would bet that you moved to Vancouver from elsewhere less than 25 years ago. Your circle of friends and acquaintances has probably diminished due to illness and death? Perhaps physical limitations have slowed you down?

Did you know that half of adults 65 years old and older are online or are regular users of the Internet or online services? One in three of such online seniors are identified as avid users of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter (Senior Living magazine 4/10/2015). Why? Because seniors need to connect with other people, and social networking sites are giving them a chance to stay “in society” and a new sense of purpose. Moreover online forums and Facebook groups can feel like their real-world counterparts in terms of how people share information or exchange friendly banter with one another. The Internet can offer new horizons and new interactions which can stimulate enthusiasm and interests found in your community in real time. You may live alone but as long as you maintain some physical exercise, have regular interaction with loved-ones and neighbours, and maintain a healthy diet—as long as the hours spent online are balanced with real-world preoccupations, you are in good company. There is no need to worry. Learn as much as you can about the possibilities of your iPhone. Developing these new skills is like learning a new language; exercise for the brain—keep those synapses firing!

M.Sc. Counselling