The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is promoting the importance of transportation and mobility for older adults next week. Older Driver Awareness Week, which runs from Dec. 7-11, encourages awareness of a different aspects of driver safety for each day.
As people get older, they experience changes to their mental, sensory and physical abilities that can impact their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The AOTOA would like to focus on evaluating a persons ability to drive safely, while continuing to help older adults live active, healthy lives.
The awareness week is designed to promote the understanding of mobility to ensure the elderly can still participate in activities such as shopping, working or volunteering, even if they lose the ability to drive.
Each day next week, Monday through Friday, the AOTA will be promoting a different aspects of that affects older drivers and their safety.
- Monday: Anticipating Changes That Can Affect Driving This day is about preparing ahead of time for the physical changes that may affect older drivers. For example, arthritis, hip and joint problems and other injuries may make it difficult for the elderly to get in and out of cars without feeling discomfort. The AOTO offers advice for mitigating some of these issues.
- Tuesday: Family Conversations Family and friends are important to driver safety for the elderly. The organization encourages family members to have conversations with their loved ones to see what they can do to help as well as making sure they can still get around if they quit driving.
- Wednesday: Screening and Evaluations with an Occupational Therapist As people age, it becomes increasingly important to get regular checkups and physical examinations. For older driver safety, its also recommended that they check their driving fitness, so they do not put themselves at risk.
- Thursday: Interventions That Can Empower Drivers This day focuses on ways family and friends can help older drivers who may have trouble operating a car. Its important to approach this is in a way that empowers them.
- Friday: Staying Engaged in the Community The elderly should not feel that losing the ability to drive means a loss of mobility. People who can no longer drive risk depression, social isolation and feeling of loss of empowerment. Finding other ways to get around and stay engaged in their communities will prepare them for the change.
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