Driving is an essential means for well-being and meeting one’s need for food, medication/medical care, and social contact. We understand that a senior desires to age-in-place and maintain an independent life for as long as possible. Our OT Practitioner Specialists in Driving have the knowledge base to understand the aging process throughout the life span and medical diagnoses and conditions that can affect driving skills.
We value the meaning of independence in community mobility for our senior citizens and therefore, we will do all possible to help our senior clients stay driving for as long as possible. Our comprehensive evaluation has two parts that we attempt to complete on the first appointment. These two parts are the clinical evaluation and the on-road evaluation.
During the initial part, we discuss the person’s medical history and medications. We obtain a personal driving profile that considers how much the person drives, the environment in which one lives and the places one needs to go. As one ages, there can be changes in the performance skill areas of motor, visual, and cognition. We will evaluate the senior driver’s functional skills in these areas as they relate to safe driving. The second part is an on-road evaluation that is typically performed in one of our evaluation vehicles. The driver will be directed along a driving path to evaluate functional driving skills that involve physical, visual and cognitive abilities.
We can advise the senior driver on issues that may be challenging his or her ability to drive safely, and offer solutions or compensatory strategies to help. Sometimes there is adaptive equipment or driving aids that can be of help. For example, a special seat cushion can be used to increase a driver's seat height and thus visibility over the steering wheel. A panoramic rearview mirror or special blind spot mirrors can greatly enhance rear and side vision for a driver with limited neck range of motion.
There are aids to help one lift their leg into a car or to sit down or stand up from a car seat. There are many devices to assist in carrying a scooter or wheelchair in many vehicles. If turning an ignition key or operating the gear selector is difficult, there are simple devices to aid a driver. We can evaluate each person's unique needs and work toward the solution that best meets the need.
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