Older and disabled drivers are better able to maintain a sense of independence when they can drive safely. There are more older people driving today simply because of demographics. 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 is unable to 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 still can 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 difficult 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.
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 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 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 dashboard of the car for viewing accessibility. Remember to still abide by the road rules and review practical phone safety tips for handicapped drivers.
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, and 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
For those with limited neck mobility, this clip-on attachment provides a panoramic view that reduces blind spots and just clips on the existing mirror. There are also versions that 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. Older drivers, especially, may see declining driving skills because of age and health problems, and medications, in addition to physical limitations.
Safety, their own and others, is always the primary concern. Drive share services like Uber, taxies, 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.
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.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
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:
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
- A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities
If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.
Take a moment and read -
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. 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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