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Judi Bonilla
313 followers -
Aging Expert. Educator. Social Entrepreneur
Aging Expert. Educator. Social Entrepreneur

313 followers
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What's Next for This Gerontologist?

A Gerontologist Pivots

On Monday this gerontologist began to pivot. The startup I run will not receive grant funds. My hands shook as I reread the email. A five-year mission to bring travel training to San Diego failed once again. Yes, this entrepreneur owns the word failure. This is what it looks like when you don't get the trophy.

Taking Action After the Pivot

After reading the email, my next step was to begin cost and resource cutting. I sent emails notifying organizations of stepping down from boards and committees. Next, I began canceling memberships and services. You see like most entrepreneurs I have been bootstrapping my business. On Monday, that came to a screeching halt. After the cancellations, I began short term job search. First stop temporary staffing and caregiving agencies. My goal stop my cash hemorrhage and increase my cash flow.

Finding Inspiration

By Wednesday morning I began reviewing my LinkedIn profile. Making phone calls, setting up appointments, and then it happened. President Barack Obama spoke to me. "The only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world." Well, the world didn't end. We Get Around is on pause not over. I will find another way. There are 10,000 Americans turning age 65 every day. The age 85+ segment is the fastest growing. Lastly, the foundation for senior transportation laid by 74.9 Boomers will be inherited by their 75.4 Millennial grandchildren. Yes, I still have a mission to make it easier to give up the keys for 40,000 aging drivers by 2020. Yes, hope and resilience a powerful combination.



About the Author

Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, you can find her at theaginexpert.com. 

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What’s Next? After the Car Keys Talk
After the Car Keys Talk
Did you know on average, men outlive their ability to drive a car by six years and women outlive their ability by ten years? Can you imagine a decade when you can no longer drive?

Read the excerpt from the new book Freewheeling after Sixty and explore how experienced drivers can boost their freedom and mobility.

Freedom, Mobility, or Something Else?
As Americans, we have grown up hearing the words independence and freedom woven into our cultural language. We celebrate Independence Day and many of us have asserted our personal Declaration of Independence in relationships and careers. For those living through the sixties and influenced by the cultural revolution, freedom may have a special significance. Freedom meant choice and the opportunity to forge a different path than our parents. However, when it comes to driving, the fear of losing independence and freedom can be worrisome for both Boomers and their older family members. That’s why I see the twenty-first-century-older driver as an agent of change with an opportunity to make a lifelong impact.

The Book Freewheeling after Sixty

In a 2012 [1] study by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 50 percent of senior drivers worry about losing their freedom and mobility when it’s time to give up the car keys. Take a moment to think about the words freedom and mobility. How do you associate those to your driving? What does driving means to you? Now ask yourself these questions:

”Is it the right of being able or allowed to do whatever you want, without being controlled or limited? (This is the definition of freedom.)
”The ability to move or be moved freely and easily? (This is the definition of mobility.)
I ask you to consider a third word, interdependence, defined as dependence between two or more people, groups, or things. In the earth sciences, it is the idea that everything in nature is connected to and depends on every other thing. In essence, everything depends on one another. In the next section, I share a personal story of the long-term value of interdependence.

Understanding a Personalized Transportation System (PTS)
The importance of interdependence and sense of community is crucial to the success of using the PTS to create your network. By identifying the value of your contributions over a lifetime is part of creating opportunities to develop your community connections network. The system I’ve created has several different components, giving you freedom of choice to meet your individual needs. By design, your network can expand and contract based on your choices to strengthen and maintain its connections.The Book Freewheeling after Sixty

Are you interested in learning more? Please leave a comment on this post and I will reserve your copy.

About the Author
Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. Bonilla has spoken at South by Southwest (SXSW) the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She has received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week in San Diego, the Jack Gorelick Achievement Award for her passionate commitment and perseverance to the growth of the profession of travel instruction from the Association of Travel Instruction and the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award from Women In Transportation.
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5 Tips For Finding Senior Transportation

Finding Rides For Aging Drivers
Can you help me get a ride? I’m 76 years old, blind and wheelchair-bound. That was the inspiration for this “How To post” for individuals and family members searching for transportation.Five Tips for Finding Senior Transportation

Five Resources to Kickstart Your Search
1. Find out the riders Zip Code – Senior transportation programs and services are often determined by geographical location. Knowing your Zip Code will help service providers identify location specific programs.

2. Be prepared – To fill out an application and provide information. Since most transportation programs receive federal funding they need documentation about the individuals they serve.

3. Eldercare.gov – First of all start with the national database for senior information. Your local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is charged with providing services in your community. Begin the information gathering process with them.

4. Rides In Sight – In addition, call 855.607.4337 a non-profit senior transportation call center. They operate during the business hours of Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 8 PM ET. This organization gathers referrals on public and non-profit services offering senior transportation.

5. Start early – If you are reading this blog post start today rather than delaying your search. Senior transportation is often overlooked until there is an emergency. Starting now provides you with the time to create a strategy to help a loved one age with dignity in their community. In conclusion, now is the time to begin finding a ride.

About the Author
Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. In addition, Bonilla has spoken at South by Southwest (SXSW) the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. Most noteworthy, she has received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week in San Diego, the Jack Gorelick Achievement Award.

This article originally appeared on We Get Around.
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Thoughts on Driving After Sixty
Driving? When do you talk to experienced drivers about alternative transportation? The folks at Home Instead Senior Care suggest the “40-70 Rule.” This means if you are 40, or your parents are 70 it is time to talk. The rule makes sense and so does doing research before talking.

Create a Transportation Plan
Similar to other parts of your life, driving and the topic of transportation are complex. Consider transportation similar to your favorite social media platform. Whether your favorite is Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat the experience is better when you connect. So is developing a transportation plan. Identify different resources to connect with. Driver improvement courses, family, friends, community organizations, ridesharing, and public transportation are the connections to make.

Focus on Interdependence
For those living through the fifties and sixties, freedom may have a special significance. Freedom meant choice and the opportunity to forge a different path than their parents. However, when it comes to driving, the fear of losing independence and freedom can be worrisome for both older drivers. The key is to focus on interdependence. The concept focuses on our commitment to one another to live and age well. Before you have the conversation reflect on your connections and then talk.

About Judi Bonilla
Judi Bonilla is a gerontologist, social entrepreneur, Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging, and a personal home advisor with Keepsake Companions. Her latest book Freewheeling after Sixty is planned for a summer 2016 release. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. Bonilla has spoken at SXSW, the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She has received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week in San Diego. In addition, she won the Jack Gorelick Achievement Award and the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award.

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An Accident Close To Home
A colleague suggested I interview her friend, a twenty something entrepreneur injured in a car accident. Why interview someone about an accident? The individual who hit her car was a ninety-four-year-old experienced driver.

A Surprise Accident
As I set up the interview she asked I not share her name as the case was not settled. With that, she began to recount the accident. She was driving a friend home on an early evening night as she crossed through an intersection another vehicle ran a red light. Her car spun through the intersection and stopped on opposite side of the street. As she retold the details of her accident I heard surprise and shock in her voice as she relived the night. “It might have been worse.” That was the refrain throughout our conversation, “It might have been worse.”

You see a few seconds difference, her car might have been t-boned. Her injuries might have been fatal. After the accident she made her way out of the car and woman came towards her. Did I hit you? Was her first question. No, the woman replied I saw the accident. The woman said the other car ran the red light. I thought you might need a witness. Within minutes the police arrived and talked to each driver. She never spoke to the other driver.

The Aftermath
That night of the police deemed both cars drivable and each drove away that night. However, once the insurance adjuster examined the car it was totaled. Written off, beyond repair, and only fit for salvage.“It might have been worse.” Her Prius had been fully paid for and now she faces buying a new car.

About Insurance
In addition, to buying a new car there are other consequences. When she contact the other driver’s insurance company she was told the accident was her fault. Their insured said she had run a red light. Wait, was her response. “I have a witness there was a passenger in the car.” She was told, “Passengers are considered biased and excluded as witnesses.” The Good Samaritan saved the day and the other insurance company eventually accepted responsibility. “It might have been worse.” While she escaped serious injuries, she did not escape injury. Her pain has been debilitating. As a result of the accident, she requires pain medication, physical therapy, and plenty of rest. Working for herself these injuries affected her ability to work, impacting her livelihood. “It might have been worse.”

A Closer Look at Home
She never met the other driver however, she found out his age from the accident report. How bad does he feel? Since the accident, her life has changed. Rest, pain, medication, therapy, and rest. She wonders has his life has changed? She wonders a few seconds of misjudgment has led to so much pain and stress from the accident. “It also might have been worse.” Since the accident she also thinks about her parents. Will they know when it is time to stop driving? As we finished our conversation she said, “Older drivers need to pay attention to their driving. It’s also up to adult children to keep an eye on our older parents driving habits and talk to them.”

Final Thoughts
Age is not the sole reason to give up driving, the ability is. As we age there are physical changes that may affect driving. To maximize your ability to drive safely visit your eye and healthcare provider annually, maintain your flexibility with regular stretching classes, and know the side effects of any prescriptions or supplements may have on your driving.

About Judi Bonilla
Judi Bonilla is a gerontologist, social entrepreneur, Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging, and a personal home advisor with Keepsake Companions. Her latest book Freewheeling after Sixty is planned for a summer 2016 release. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. Bonilla has spoken at SXSW, the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She has received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week in San Diego. In addition, she won the Jack Gorelick Achievement Award and the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award.
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Exercise Benefits Older Drivers
It’s important to understand exercise can benefit the abilities of older drivers. While many know it can improve stress and weight loss few understand how it affects driving.

Consider these points:

The ability to easily maneuver in and out of a car.
The range of motion to turn their head when changing lanes or to back up.
The hand grip strength needed to grasp the steering wheel.
A Commitment to Exercise
A 75-year-old student of mine once asked me, “My job in retirement is to improve my health?” My answer absolutely! The ability to age well is complex and there is no one answer. Instead, it’s a series of choices and connections. For many older adults, physical exercise is not connected to keeping their driver license. As a family member, take the opportunity and make a connection.

Community Resources
The Older Americans Act provides funding to community health promotion programs. Consider these local programs as part of a strategy to stay behind the wheel. In San Diego Aging & Independence Services the program Feeling Fit Clubs. The clubs are offered throughout the county and on cable television. In addition, some Medicare Advantage plans provide SilverSneakers a senior exercise program as a benefit. Additionally, consult the Eldercare Locator for local resources in your community. Finally, driving in older age means creating and taking action. For more ideas, please contact me or comment on this post.

About the Author
Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, the City of San Diego honored her for launching Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. 
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Senior Transportation Choices Forum Live
Recently Ford Motors announced its Vision for the City of Tomorrow. For those with parents in their sixties ask them about Tomorrowland. During their childhood, Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland gave them a glimpse into the future. Now those 9-year-olds are turning age 70. While in Tomorrowland, many sat behind the wheel for the first time. Up to this time, many are still behind the wheel. Researchers report that this next decade many will outlive their ability to drive. As a result, the AIS Advisory Council Transportation Committee is hosting a Senior Transportation Forum.

The City of Tomorrow is Today for Boomers
The forum is the first in a series geared to educate aging drivers on how to improve their skills. Secondly, how to advocate for their transportation needs. At the present time, Boomers and their families are coming to grips with the emotional issue of giving up driving. In addition, cities are facing the increasing need to provide transportation services. For these reasons the Transportation Committee is holding an in-person event and on Facebook Live.

Save the Date
Thursday, January 19, 2017, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM PST

El Cajon Library

201 East Douglas Avenue

El Cajon, CA 92020

For more information contact 619.742.3368.

About the Author
Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, you can find her at theaginexpert.com. 
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Am I too old for Tinder?

Dating Advice for Grandmother and Grandfather too

This year, many of us will be giving our grandmother or mother dating advice. Some of us will embrace the conversation, while others will recoil in adolescent discomfort. I encourage you to embrace this as a right of passage. Consider this an opportunity to mentor up family elders.

Start the Conversation

It's now your turn, take the lead on this conversation. As a gerontologist, I know despite generational differences we follow similar patterns. Just as you selectively share intelligence with family members. Elders follow a similar pattern. They will tell you what they think you can handle. In fact, their reasoning is often to minimize your worry. For others, it’s to prevent your interference. Step up and offer to help and support them if they choose to date.

The Cost of Dating

Consider dating similar to an investment. Often investments take planning and researching. Without preparation, an investment may turn into a loss. If you've been on eHarmony, Match or possibly Tinder you know the emotional cost of dating. There is also a financial cost of membership.

Dating Coach Tips

As a family member, you may become the defacto Dating Coach. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Start the conversation early.
2. Share your experience and encourage questions
3. Discuss intimacy and the importance of safe sex.

Do you want more tips for senior dating? Join me February 7th in Clearwater, Florida as I share Come Back Cupid's Dating Tips for Seniors. Not close enough? Send me an email I'm happy to help.

About the Author
Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, you can find her at theaginexpert.com.
RSVP: http://www.comebackcupid.com/clearwater-dating






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Find out how to stay active and independent in your community. Join the Senior Transportation Choices Forum January 19th in El Cajon.
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Upcoming Retirement Tele–Town Hall
What’s a Tele – Town Hall? An easy way to connect with others using a telephone. Use a phone on January 10, 2017, at 6:00 – 8:00 PM (PST) and connect to State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. California Senator de León is the author of SB 1234, the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program Act. During this live town hall, you will have the chance to ask questions of the Senator de Leon and also share your comments.

The Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program Act
Here’s a fact, it’s estimated 50% of Americans have absolutely no retirement savings. From my work, I also know most individuals worry about outliving their retirement savings. Today when Blanca Castro of AARP California contacted me with information on California Secure Choice I had to share it with you.

The program is California’s effort to maximize retirement security in older age. As a gerontologist, I understand the financial resources to age well with a sense of financial safety and security. Consider this financial support as many of us live well into our 90s and beyond.

California Secure Choice (CSC)
Briefly, the adoption of CSC will affect most California employers. It mandates phasing in retirement programs starting in 2019. Most likely younger boomers, GenXers, and Millennials will benefit from CSC. Here’s a brief overview of the program.

Employers with five or more employees who do not provide a retirement plan will be required to either offer a retirement plan or provide their employees’ access to CSC. These employers will need to over their plan 36 months after CSC is open for enrollment.


Companies with 50 plus employees will need to offer a retirement plan within 24 months.


Businesses with more than 100 employees will need to offer a retirement plan within 12 months.


What I have observed in my work is no one in retirement tells me they have too much money. The Gig economy does not build retirement security. Many want a better retirement for their children and grandchildren. California Secure Choice may be the best option to secure dignified older age for Californians.


Town Hall Details
WHAT: Tele-town hall on California Secure Choice Retirement Program with State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon

WHEN: January 10, 2017, at 6:00 – 8:00 PM (PST)

To participate in the Tele-Town Hall call: 1- 877-229-8493 PIN = 15119

About the Author
Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, you can find her at theaginexpert.com. 
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