Screenings and Evaluations For Older Drivers
Wednesday’s topic for older driver safety awareness week is screening and evaluations. After having communications with family and friends about their driving safety, older adults may decide to get a check-up for his or her driving fitness. Checking on the driving fitness of an older adult is important because driving requires complex physical, visual, and cognitive abilities.
Driving fitness evaluations range from self-assessments, to a comprehensive driving evaluation from an occupational therapy driving rehabilitation specialist. Anne Dickerson, PHD, OTR/L says, “Driving evaluations by occupational therapists are necessary for individuals living with medical conditions that may affect the skills required for driving. Driving school instructors are trained to address and focus on the rules of the road and the safe control of the vehicle, but not the medical condition faced by the senior driver.”
When preparing for a driver evaluation, it is imperative that older adults paint the truest picture of their driving abilities. They should not lie about their current functional level. Families and friends should also attend these evaluations. It always helps to have another set of ears to hear the results, help process the information, and assist with any recommended adaptations.
If you are you looking for an evaluation tailored individually to you, looking at your strengths and your limitations, and generating a plan for your continued safe mobility, an occupational therapy driving evaluation will offer the following:
- Identify your strengths and any changes in vision, physical ability, and/or cognition that may pose a risk for driving safely.
- Recommend how you might strengthen skills, compensate for weaknesses, and develop a relationship with the driving specialist to work together to explore every option.
- Prioritize your goal to continue driving safely, but recommend a plan to stop driving now or in the near future if changes in your skills and abilities are too severe, placing you or others in your community in harm’s way.
- Remain focused on transportation and participation in your community. The occupational therapy professional will work with you to identify the alternative modes of transportation that would work for you, and provide the support you need to get you where you want to go when you want to get there.
If you want to be involved with today’s topic, there is a twitter chat at 3pm. Follow and respond to the chat with the hashtag #drivechat.