FLORHAM PARK—Many seniors and their families will at some point struggle with difficult decisions about an older adult’s driving ability.
• Is it safe for them to continue driving?
• Are there tools to help them be safer?
• When is it time to hang up the keys?
• What options exist when they can no longer drive?
AAA provides answers to these questions and more, as well as expert advice, research-based tools and resources on its recently launched senior safety and mobility web site – AAASeniors.com. The site features information and tools designed to aid in prompting conversations, assessing abilities and improving the comfort and safety of older drivers.
“Many people don’t know where to turn for help when it comes to the safety and mobility challenges faced by older drivers and their families,” said Ed Baginski, traffic safety specialist for the Florham Park-based AAA New Jersey Automobile Club. “AAASeniors.com provides the tools needed to create an action plan for managing the inevitable consequences that come with aging.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in five people will be age 65 or older by 2030, with an estimated 90 percent licensed to drive. In support of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (December 6 – 12), AAA encourages seniors and their families to take the first step in addressing this difficult issue by having a conversation about driving and aging.
“People age 65 and older represent the fastest growing segment of the country’s population, making their safe driving ability an issue that millions of families are facing,” continued Baginski.
“Seniors and their families should use Older Driver Safety Awareness Week as an opportunity to begin a dialogue about safe mobility. AAA has the resources needed to help guide them through the process.”
For many seniors, conversations about continued safe driving can spark strong emotional reactions, including concerns about personal independence and managing other day-to-day activities. Fortunately, these conversations can also serve as opportunities for constructive communication and problem solving.
Talking with an older driver is just the first step in the process. AAA also provides guidance and tools to help develop and implement an action plan, including:
• AAA Roadwise Review – a computer-based tool designed to assess a driver’s functional abilities important to safe driving.
• CarFit – a non-challenging, non-intrusive personalized vehicle assessment to help enhance a mature driver’s comfort and safety while driving.
• Safe Driving for Mature Operators – classroom and online courses provide driver training to help address the changes caused by aging and how a driver may compensate.
• DriveSharp™ – an interactive computer program with exercises that improve reaction time, visual processing speed, field of view and driving ability.
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