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Journeys : June July 2009
In our community Simple eye checks can help protect older drivers T he RACT has partnered with Optometrists Association Australia (OAA) to encourage older drivers to have their eyesight checked for vision problems or eye disease. “We know older drivers tend to regulate their driving, practice safe behaviors such as wearing seatbelts and tend to avoid driving when fatigued, drink-driving or risky high-speed driving. However, agerelated vision changes can decrease the ability to determine distance or process information,” says RACT spokesman Vince Taskunas. As OAA’s professional services manager Shirley Loh explains, ageing can impact the ability to see clearly at night. Distance and peripheral vision can also be affected. “Our research shows that Australians over the age of 60 only have their eyes RACT Community Fund report T he second round of the RACT Community Fund has just closed, with the next round opening in September this year. RSPCA Tasmania was a successful applicant in the inaugural funding round and Motor News Journeys caught up with Kim Sly (pictured right), Shelter Manager at RSPCA Mornington. MNJ: What did you do before taking on this job? KS: I was a consultant botanist, working on vegetation mapping with organisations like Greening Australia and the Tasmanian Government. MNJ: From flora to fauna – that’s a change! KS: Looking after animals has always interested me and the management side of the job was an exciting challenge. Plus, I’m an Eastern Shore girl! examined around every four years and may be unaware of problems that can lead to poor reaction times and misjudgment when driving. Your optometrist can run a simple eye examination to help you feel confident on the roads,” she says. To find your local optometrist, visit: www.optometrists.asn.au. Eye examinations attract a Medicare rebate and no referral is required. Top tips for safe and confident driving • Plan your journey to minimise the risk of driving at night, busy times or in poor conditions. • Pull over and rest if you feel tired and allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. • Have your eyes examined regularly by an optometrist. MNJ: Did you have animals when you were young? KS: Oh for sure – dogs, cats, horses, goats and sheep – we live on five acres now and I’ve still got plenty! But I don’t recall ever being a ‘mini-shelter’ in the past. MNJ: Mornington RSPCA is a fairly substantial operation isn’t it? KS: We have three full-time and four parttime or casual staff. Our vet clinic does all our own animal work and is also open to the public. In addition, we have heaps of volunteers, around four or five per day, doing such things as cleaning, feeding and walking animals, and maintenance. Volunteers are also currently building new barns and a chicken run. MNJ: How has funding from the RACT Community Fund supported your work? KS: We were able to make much-needed structural upgrades to our horse float that transports weak, sick or injured animals to and from the shelter. MNJ: Highs and lows in your work? KS: Our biggest challenge is cats – there are simply way too many, sick and stray animals. Please, desex your cats and try to keep them indoors. Highs – it’s always wonderful to see dogs going to a good home, especially older dogs. Then there was a lovely foal, born here at the shelter – I remember it looking back at us as it left with its new owners – could have sworn it was grinning and waving! June / July 09 7 • Speak to your family and friends about your driving capabilities and any concerns you might have about your eye health. • Contact the RACT for more information about older drivers – email Vince Taskunas on firstname.lastname@example.org Vince Taskunas
April May 2009
August September 2009