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Helping seniors extend their driving years

Published 8:52am Friday, August 2, 2013

Get a professional assessment: If your mom needs some extra help, consider getting a professional assessment done by a driver rehabilitation specialist. They will evaluate her driving ability and test for things like reaction time, decision-making skills, as well as how well she and her car fit together, pinpointing trouble areas and offering solutions. This type of assessment can cost several hundred dollars. To locate a professional, contact the Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (driver-ed.org, 866-672-9466) or the American Occupational Therapy Association (www.aota.org).

Make some adjustments: Recognizing vulnerabilities and adapting her driving habits to compensate for them can go a long way in helping keep your mom safe and driving longer. Some simple adjustments include not driving after dark or during rush hour traffic, avoiding major highways or other busy roads and not driving in poor weather conditions.

It’s also good to know if there are any older driver’s license renewal provisions in your mom’s state, which you can get by calling her nearby driver’s license office or at iihs.org/laws/olderdrivers.aspx.

When to quit: If it gets to the point that your mom’s driving isn’t safe anymore and she needs to quit, The Hartford Financial Services Group and MIT AgeLab provides online resources and free publications like “We Need to Talk: Family Conversations with Older Drivers” that you can access at safedrivingforalifetime.com.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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