Older Driver Safety Awareness
Submitted by: Terri Cassidy
Occupational Therapist and Owner of Health Promotion Partners.
Driving has come to be a cornerstone to the concept of independence in the United States. The ability to drive gives us a sense of freedom that we can do what we want to do when we want to do it.
For those of us fortunate enough to live long lives there will come a time when age-related changes raise questions about capacity to continue driving independently. The first full week of December has been designated as Older Driver Safety Awareness Week with the intent of bringing discussions about driving, changing abilities, and community engagement to the spotlight. As Elin Schold Davis, director of the Older Driver Initiative with the American Occupational Therapy Association puts it, “The real need is a broader awareness of the solutions, rather than a narrow focus on the problem.”
Making changes to driving habits, or moving from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat, does not have to signal the end of independence. A shift to accepting rides from friends and family, and learning to use transportation and ride sharing services, can be an acknowledgment of the interdependence of various aspects of our lives. As humans, we have wonderful abilities to adapt to changes and stay focused on the goal of doing the things that are important to us, no matter how we get there.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, December 7-11, 2020, aims to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensuring older adults remain active in the community—shopping, working or volunteering—with the confidence that transportation will not be the barrier that keeps them at home.
Themes during the week:
• Monday “Anticipating Changes That Can Affect Driving”
• Tuesday “Family Conversations”
• Wednesday “Screening and Evaluations With an Occupational Therapist”
• Thursday “Interventions That Can Empower Drivers and Families”
• Friday “Staying Engaged in the Community With or Without a Car”
For more information about driving evaluations and personalized assistance with transitions, please visit www.HealthPromotionPartners.com

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