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Senior man driving a car
Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by Hannah Beatty, OTR/L, MOT

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Hannah Beatty, OTR/L, MOT

Hannah Beatty, OTR/L, MOT is an occupational therapist at CVMC Rehabilitation Therapy.

We wanted to take a minute to provide our local communities with resources and information on driving in the aging population.

All individuals experience physical and mental changes as we age, sometimes so minor that we may not even notice them. Older adults may be experiencing slower reaction time, night blindness, or pain and stiffness that can affect driving skills.

Here at CVMC we offer a comprehensive clinical assessment for those who may be at a high risk for an automobile crash. The process for this assessment typically involves the following steps:

  • An occupational therapist, trained in the clinical driver evaluation, determines the effects of one’s medical condition, medication needs and the functional limitations they may present on the road.
  • A client attends the clinical assessment with another licensed driver who may act as a coach.The evaluation involves visual screening, standardized assessments of cognition and memory, range of motion, muscle strength and sensation, and visual perceptual skills.

Appropriate patients to refer for an assessment are experienced drivers who have a valid driving license, with a referral from their physician, whom may have a condition that affects their cognitive/decision making skills such as:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Stroke/cerebral vascular accident
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment

For More Information

During Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, the American Occupational Therapy Association is providing helpful information on the following topics to help ease families through the process:

  • Tips for planning ahead in order to anticipate changes that can affect driving
  • Talking points for guiding family conversations
  • The role occupational therapy can play in evaluating drivers
  • Equipment that can help an individual drive safely for as long as possible
  • Community resources typically available to help seniors no longer able to drive stay mobile

You can also visit the AARP website for more safety tips and driving resources.

Safe driving!