Driving is Important to all of us / Available Resources
Educate yourself on how to maintain your abilities. Why, because unfortunately our driving skills can diminish over time. Statistically, we will outlive our ability to be safe drivers by 7-10 years. Continuing to drive safely may involve the “sharpening” or “assessment” of certain skills. Driving is a complex task. Certain medical/surgical conditions or aging may cause decreased vision or perception, diminished strength/dexterity, stiff joints, slowed reaction time, and/or cognitive changes.
Talking with your doctor is important if you’ve had a neurological event, change in your health or a medical/surgical issue that may have affected your capacity to drive. Your doctor oversees your entire medical picture and can help you make a decision about continuing to drive. An objective, comprehensive evaluation can help both you and you doctor get a better handle on your capabilities. Your doctor can refer you to a Driving Evaluation Program for an assessment. Even if “areas of concern” are found there may be specific treatments by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist or Neuropsychologist that can help “sharpen” those skills.
If you want to “check in” to score your driving skills you can complete a self assessment. Stay as safe as you can as long as you can.
Two helpful resources:
AARP – www.aarp.org Excellent website, connects to a number of resources. Online quiz- “Test Your Driving IQ.” Course-“55 Alive – Driver Safety Program” (very good and popular 8 hour course for $10).
Local AAA offices – have a great $5 CD-Rom “Roadside Review “to use at home. Most libraries, Senior Centers and Counsel on Aging Centers may also have them.
Driving Evaluation Mobility Center Program
Call (508) 697-6006 with evaluation questions. We provide helpful information for family, client and physician. Lessons and/or therapy as forms of retraining may be recommended. It has several parts which can include – a assessment, and an on-the-road evaluation. It is usually a private pay service.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety – www.seniordrivers.org
On line quiz, great booklets and brochures that can be downloaded or ordered for free. “Drivers 55 Plus” (large green booklet that has a self rating form of questions, facts and suggestions for safe driving). “How to Help an Older Driver” (large while booklet, comprehensive).
AOTA– the website for the American Occupational Therapy Association. www.aota.org/olderdriver/ It has a lot of information on how OT s can help people in the community, and are involved in Driver Evaluation and Training. It also has many links to other sites, articles, and other helpful information.
Registry of Motor Vehicles – www.mass.gov/rmv/ (select Mature Drivers). It has many helpful links including several of the above listed resources; information on disabled plates and placards, law enforcement.
Alzheimer’s Association– www.alzmass.org They can send someone to the house to talk with the client. This often helps to have an informed outsider.