As Baby Boomers continue marching to and through retirement age, our roadways are including a growing number of senior drivers. Some popular retirement states, like Florida and Arizona, have a disproportionate number of older drivers. While older drivers are much less likely to be involved in distracted driving practices like texting and driving, there are a whole different set of concerns.
Odds are you have parent or grandparent that you may have concerns about when it comes to driving. Older drivers may not have the reaction times they once had. Hearing can become a problem and vision, especially at night, can be a challenge. It can almost seem like some older drivers have difficulty seeing over the steering wheel. This makes driving safety a concern for many of these older drivers.
December 4-8 of 2017 is time to observe Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. Rather than focusing on the problems of older drivers, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week targets solutions, and awareness, with each day featuring a different issue.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is sponsoring the week. The goals are to promote understanding the importance of mobility and transportation to older Americans so they can remain active. Older citizens do, of course, shop, work, and volunteer their time. They need to have confidence transportation will not be a barrier that keeps them in their homes.
Here are the aspects to which each day of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is set to bring light:
Monday: Anticipating Changes that can Affect Driving
Like it or not, aging is a part of life. Our ability to drive can be affected as our physical, emotional, and cognitive health changes over time. These changes occur at different rates and times for different individuals. It is important to plan for these changing transportation needs.
Tuesday: Family Conversations
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is held in December when many families get together for holiday celebrations. This provides an opportunity for many families to bring up the subject casually in a non-threatening situation and with a genuine sense of concern.
Wednesday: Screenings and Evaluations with an Occupational Therapist
As we get older, it is important to be honest about our driving fitness and an occupational therapist can help. Driving fitness evaluations can include a variety of “tests” from self-assessment to a professional comprehensive driving evaluation.
Thursday: Interventions that can Empower Drivers and Families
The goal of an intervention between a client and therapist should be to keep individuals driving as safely as possible for as long as possible. This is based on a plan that can include various ways to keep an older person behind the wheel longer but to do so safely.
Friday: Staying Engaged in the Community With or Without a Car
As an older driver realizes the need to make adjustments to drive safely, those around him or her can help them make and adjust to those changes. The more both the driver and the family members know about options and resources available in the community, the better for all concerned.
Perhaps Grandma or Grandpa aren’t texting and driving but if you have an older driver in your family, driving safety may becoming a concern. it is important to be aware, prepared, and knowledgeable about the steps that can be taken to keep them safe. The issues addressed during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week can help.