Category Archives: Technology

How to Stay Safe as an Older Driver – 6 Helpful Tips

How to Stay Safe as an Older Driver – 6 Helpful Tips

Many older adults say that driving is one of the most important ways in which they maintain their freedom and independence as they age. But for some seniors, the changes that age can bring—like vision and hearing loss, cognitive challenges, or reduced mobility and flexibility—can make it more difficult than it used to be to drive safely and confidently.

This is why driver safety education is one of the services provided as part of the Age Well program from the Motion Picture and Television Fund. A centralized program designed to support healthy aging, Age Well offers seniors a pathway to health and wellness through services like medical and functional assessments, care coordination, in-home support, and education on topics like home modification and, of course, driver safety.

According to Age Well and other organizations that support senior drivers, while your driving ability doesn’t automatically get worse as you get older, it’s still important to be aware of how your driving skills might be affected by age-related factors. Some of the proactive steps that older drivers can take to ensure they can safely stay in the driver’s seat for years to come include:

 

Staying physically active.

Driving isn’t a particularly physical activity, but movements like turning the steering wheel, checking over your shoulder for other cars, and managing the gas and brake pedals still require a certain degree of strength and flexibility. To help keep these movements smooth and easy as you get older, it’s important to make physical activity part of your daily routine. Walking is a great, low-impact way to stay fit and keep limber, and you can also talk to your health care provider about stretching or strength training exercises that could be useful for maintaining your driving muscles.

 

elderly

 

Scheduling regular hearing and vision screenings.

It’s normal for hearing and vision to decline with age, but this can make safe driving more difficult for seniors. Impaired hearing can limit your ability to hear approaching vehicles (especially emergency vehicles), for example, while age-related vision problems like cataracts or macular degeneration can make it difficult to clearly see what’s happening on the road around you, particularly when driving at night. To help keep your hearing and vision as sharp as possible, schedule regular tests with your doctor or other specialists. Even if you think you’re seeing and hearing just fine, regular check-ups can help catch and correct any problems early, before they have the chance to impact your driving.

 

Managing chronic conditions.

Some health problems, such as diabetes or seizures, could affect driver safety, so it’s important that you work with your doctor to make sure you’re properly managing your condition. Ask your doctor how the condition might impact your driving, and whether you might need to adjust your treatment plan or restrict your driving in order to stay safe. If you’re taking medication, either to treat a chronic condition or for occasional ailments or pain, make sure you read and understand the labels: some medication, like pain relievers or muscle relaxants, can affect things like motor control or reaction time, so you should always know what to expect. Never drive if you’ve taken any medication that might cause drowsiness or dizziness.

 

Making adjustments to your vehicle.

To keep driving safely and comfortably as you get older, you may find that you need to make physical changes or adjustments to your vehicle. For example, if you’re not finding the steering wheel as easy to hold as it once was, you can try using a steering wheel cover to improve your grip and give you better control and comfort as you turn the wheel. It’s also possible that you might need to change your vehicle altogether to one that better meets your needs. For example, if you’re having trouble seeing your speedometer or other indicators on your dashboard, it may be a good idea to invest in a vehicle with larger, easier-to-read dials.

 

car

 

Taking a refresher driving course.

To boost safety and confidence, seniors might want to consider taking a refresher course specifically for older drivers. Commonly offered by local organizations for seniors or community education programs, these courses can be a great way to improve skills and get updated on the changing rules of the road. Depending on your policy, you might even be able to earn a discount on your car insurance.

 

Avoiding driving in poor conditions.

As an older driver, your chances of staying safe on the road are greatly improved when you stick to driving in good conditions. When possible, drive in the daytime, during good weather, and on quieter, familiar roads; avoid driving when visibility is low or during poor weather conditions. You’ll also want to make sure that you yourself are in good condition before you drive anywhere. Don’t drive if you’re tired or sick, if you’re feeling angry or frustrated, or if you’ve been drinking alcohol or consuming any other drugs, including medical marijuana.

A Look at the Broad Benefits of AIDS Research

A Look at the Broad Benefits of AIDS Research

Over the past several decades, the intensive AIDS research conducted by amfAR and similar organizations has completely transformed the landscape for people living with HIV/AIDS. As a result of the development of new drugs, diagnostics, and disease prevention technologies, countless people with HIV/AIDS around the world are living longer and better lives. But did you… Read More…

What You Need to Know about Getting Tested for HIV

What You Need to Know about Getting Tested for HIV

Did you know that an estimated 15% of Americans with HIV are not aware that they are infected? Not surprisingly, this figure has extremely serious public health implications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most new HIV infections can be traced back to people who do not know their HIV status. Therefore,… Read More…

Spotlight on Glioblastoma – The Most Common Adult Brain Cancer

Spotlight on Glioblastoma – The Most Common Adult Brain Cancer

The recent passing of Senator John McCain has put glioblastoma multiforme, the most common form of brain cancer in adults, in the spotlight. (Senator McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2017, and passed away on August 25, 2018, at the age of 81.) According to estimates from the American Brain Tumor Association, nearly 13,000 people… Read More…

Spotlight on a New App for Teens in Need

Spotlight on a New App for Teens in Need

The teenage years can be a confusing and overwhelming time for many young people, but all too often, it’s hard for teens to find someone they can really talk to, without judgement, about the issues they’re dealing with. This is why Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters partnered with the crisis hotline Teen Line to create… Read More…