Giving Up The Keys: Tips to Help Seniors Decide When It’s Time To Stop Driving

Just about every parent has heard the words, “Mom, Dad, can I have the car keys?!” Cars and driving are a means of independence, and while parents often hand over the keys with trepidation to their teenagers, they know that it is a rite of passage and an important step in growing up. This is precisely why “Mom, Dad, can I have the car keys?” becomes such a difficult thing for family members to ask of elderly loved ones.

Safety Behind the Wheel

There is no set age when a person is no longer safe behind the wheel and many people can drive safely well into old age. But some underlying medical conditions or medications may cause driving issues. According to AARP Driver Safety, most people want to continue driving for as long as possible, but for many a time will come when they must limit or stop driving, either temporarily or permanently, for their own safety and the safety of others.

Look for the Warning Signs

Does your loved one have difficulty concentrating while driving? Have you noticed frequent close calls, misjudgments or slower than necessary responses in unexpected situations? Or, are they getting lost, especially in familiar locations, or having trouble seeing signals and road signs? If so, it may be time for your loved one to suspend driving.

If you’ve noticed that a senior’s driving has grown inconsistent and careless, you can be most helpful by voicing concerns and starting a caring conversation. Sometimes there are tangible things to help bring up the topic: “How are you doing with your driving? I noticed there are a lot of dents and scrapes on the car lately…” Or, if you know they’ve received a warning from a police officer you may want to ask about it by saying, “Are you finding driving a little difficult to manage?” The key is, it’s important not to wait – because impaired driving can be a matter of life and death.

Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat

While taking the keys away may be a necessary step, try and see things from the driver’s vantage point. Giving up driving may be another reminder for loved ones of their growing loss of independence and their inability to take care of themselves. Giving up the car keys affects their daily life including where they go, who they see and where they live.

It is a difficult realization that the risks of continuing to drive outweigh the benefits. Helping a senior to imagine a future without a car requires understanding and support. Help out when you can and explore other transportation options including local senior transportation options, carpools or car services so that life without a car is not a recipe for isolation and boredom.

If your loved ones is looking for transportation for medical appointments or would like to attend  a simcha  within Somerset and Middlesex counties please contact Wilf Transport at 732-649-3502 for all inquiries.

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, or visit us at

Welcome Tammy (Tzippy) Russ-Fishbane, LCSW

Stein Hospice is pleased to welcome Tammy (Tzippy) Russ-Fishbane, LCSW, who joined the team at Stein Hospice in October, 2016. In her role as Clinical Liaison and with her background as a clinical social worker, Tammy educates and informs healthcare professionals about the mission and values of Stein Hospice and counsels hospice patients and their families.

Tammy began her social work career in 2002, working in the ICU at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. Since then she has served in various healthcare settings, helping patients and families navigate the practical and emotional complexities of aging and caregiving. Most recently, Tammy was the Director of Social Services at Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield, CT.

Tammy has a BA in Jewish History from Stern College, Yeshiva University, NY, and an MSW from Hunter College, NY.  She is an active member of the Jewish community in Highland Park, NJ, where she lives with her husband and three children.


Rabbi Kinzbrunner – Our Board Certified Chaplain

In December, Rabbi Kinzbrunner completed his Board Certification in Chaplaincy through, Neshama, the Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC). Rabbi with certificateThe NAJC defines a Board Certified Jewish Chaplain as “A Jew who has demonstrated professional excellence as a chaplain and commitment to Torat Yisrael and Klal Yisreal, has completed eligibility requirements, is approved by the Commission on Certification, and confirmed  by the Board of Directors of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains.”  Grounded in a faith commitment to Judaism, to Klal Yisrael and Torat Yisrael, the Board Certified Jewish Chaplain responds pastorally to religious, spiritual and psychosocial needs.  As a pastoral professional, the certified chaplain ministers holistically as witness, prophet, advocate, clinician, educator and spiritual companion in the healing process.  The chaplain accepts responsibility and certification, for continuing education and peer review, and for active participation in the discernment of the vision, direction and activities of NAJC.  Active participation in NAJC’s organizational life is expected for the ongoing development of professional identity as a Board Certified Chaplain.

Collage Art Brings Residents Together

Collage Art Brings Residents Together

Vicki Newman is a resident at Wilentz Senior Residence. She is very friendly and has shown a creative and artistic flair. She enjoys doing puzzles and even displays them in her room along the walls. One of her favorite hobbies is taking photos, and she has recently created a beautiful collage called “The Faces of Wilentz.” This collage represents every member of Wilentz Residence including staff, residents and many family members, as well as the lovely pets that live in the building. “The Faces of Wilentz” is now on display in the Wilentz Lobby.

What made you think of doing a photo collage?

I have always loved taking pictures. I love people, especially the ones who live at Wilentz with me, along with the great staff. I enjoy doing puzzles and the idea of doing a photo collage brought all of that together in a beautiful and fun way.

Vickie Newman and Marnie Kean

What do you like about making collages?

I’ve always enjoyed being creative and artistic so making collages is a fun hobby for me. It was exciting to talk to all of the other residents and, as a result I got to know almost everyone by name in the building and enjoyed meeting new friends that I did not know before. I enjoyed hearing all of their stories and what they had to say about themselves, their families and friends. I tried to incorporate a lot of their stories in the collage, for example how some people like to dance and others sing.

What are the other residents saying about the collage?

Everyone was more than happy to be included! The residents were so thankful to be a part of this collage project and are very excited to see their pictures displayed next to their spouses and friends. I have noticed a lot of the residents coming by to look at themselves and others in the collage, and I take great pride in showing it to people.

How often did you work on the collage and how much time did it take?

I worked on the collage for several months. I would cut and trim the photos at night and work on placement and pasting during the day. Every time I went by it I worked on it! Working on it has really come from the heart!

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living Residence, the Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, or visit us at To learn more about the Wilentz Senior Residence call 732-873-3888.