Accessories and Devices Help Older and Disabled Drivers Maintain Independence

Driving means independence for many people; however, age-related issues and disabilities can make driving more difficult. Simple devices can help people stay on the road safely.

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Accessories and Devices Help Older and Disabled Drivers Maintain Independence
4 Min Read December 1st, 2021 Updated:October 31st, 2022

There are more older people driving today simply because of demographics. Older and disabled drivers can better maintain a sense of independence when they can drive safely. Plus, simple devices allow people with physical disabilities or age-related problems to continue to drive. 

The ability to drive encourages older and disabled adults to stay mobile, independent, and connected to their loved ones and communities, reducing the stress on their loved ones.

When a family member can no longer drive, they become more isolated, which negatively affects their mental well-being. The person becomes dependent on others when they want to go to the store or visit family or friends.  

Don't confuse a person's disability or lack of mobility with an inability to drive. Many people who suffer from age or physical disabilities can still drive safely - as long as they get a little help.

Certain driving motions—such as transferring in and out of the vehicle or turning the steering wheel—can be challenging for older or disabled drivers. Fortunately, there are vehicle accessories that can improve the experience. 

Steering Wheel Attachments

Steering wheel attachments help an individual with limited mobility in their arms. For example, clipping a steering wheel knob to the wheel's inner rim will help you turn it 360 without making you take your hand away. In addition, because there's less strain on your body, it makes parking easier.

Transfer Boards

For people who use a wheelchair, getting from the car seat to the chair can be challenging. Transfer boards are a handy solution. A transfer board is a lightweight board that fits around the arm of your wheelchair and helps a person move from the car seat to your chair. They come in different shapes and sizes to suit individual body types and specific needs.

Assist Straps

Assist straps fasten around a vehicle's window frame and hang vertically for easy grab access. A driver can use assist straps when moving in and out of the vehicle to get extra support. It's also important to note that the straps must be put away while driving to prevent the handles from moving and hitting the driver.

Hands-Free Cellphone Holder

All drivers should refrain from using their cell phones while driving unless they are using a hands-free device. Older and disabled drivers should maintain focus on driving; however, the driver may need to use the GPS feature for directions or want to use the phone close for emergency reasons or other essential reasons. Therefore, a hands-free cellphone holder is an easy solution. The holder can be attached to the car's dashboard for viewing accessibility. Remember to still abide by the road rules and review practical phone safety tips for handicapped drivers

Swivel Cushions

A swivel cushion fits on the car seat and allows a person to rotate their body without straining. This cushion is helpful if an individual has flexibility or mobility issues and needs extra assistance. It makes getting out of the vehicle safer and easier. In addition, the padding is more comfortable than a regular car seat.

Panoramic Rearview Mirror 

This clip-on attachment provides a panoramic view that reduces blind spots and just clips on the existing mirror for those with limited neck mobility. Some versions attach to side mirrors as well.

Be Aware of Driving Skills

Be aware, however, of your loved ones driving skills. The right accessories can make driving easier for older or disabled drivers; it does not mean that their driving skills have not diminished. 

Be sure to observe their driving regularly and ensure that their ability to drive has not been impaired. You can use Route4Me route planner software to monitor their driving habits and routes. Route4Me's GPS tracking can help you see if they are making any mistakes or taking any wrong turns. Older drivers, especially, may see declining driving skills because of age and health problems, medications, and physical limitations. 

Safety, their own and others', is always the primary concern. Drive share services like Uber, taxis, non-emergency medical transportation vans, and senior transportation services are available in many parts of the country. 

If a person can no longer drive, it no longer means they must become isolated or entirely dependent on others. 

There may be a time, however, to take the keys away - Taking Away Elder Parent's Keys | LTC News.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

According to the National Institute on Aging and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 700 older adult drivers are injured. More than 20 are killed in auto accidents in the U.S. each day. However, driving means independence. As we get older, we start losing our independence, and dependency on others grows.

As we get older, aging, health issues, mobility problems, and even cognitive decline become a part of life. Not everyone will experience the same type of decline, but about half of us will need help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss. 

The question is, are you prepared for the costs and burdens of aging, or will you become dependent on loved ones and face the financial strain of paying for professional long-term health care?

The time to prepare is before the crisis happens. Aging happens, and health can change rapidly. The costs of long-term health care can be financially hard on even those with substantial assets.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator says that long-term health care costs are rising rapidly nationwide. For example, in Dover, Delaware, in-home care (based on a 44-hour week) is averaging today over $4700 a month. However, in twenty-five years, that cost is expected to average well over $10,000 a month - Delaware Long-Term Care Resources | LTC News.

Adult day care centers, assisted living, memory care, and traditional nursing homes are also expensive and getting more costly each year. By using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, you can find the costs of all types of long-term health care services where you live, including state-specific information about available care, long-term care, taxes, and more.

The key is to avoid delaying your planning. For many people, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance can provide you with access to your choice of quality care services without placing stress and burden on your savings or your family.

Available Tools on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers a variety of tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS can put together several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Need Help Now for Mom or Dad?

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Professional Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you, or a loved one complete the claim's process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy. You can also support finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Miek Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

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Email your story idea or article: - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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