Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is Dec. 3–7, 2012

Why dedicate a week to older drivers? The concern for their safety and independence is greater now than at any time in our history. More than 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day, a trend expected to continue for the next 19 years. And by the year 2040, 1 in 5 Americans will be 70 or older.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) along with AAA, AARP, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., and other organizations are raising awareness of ways to keep older drivers safe on the road for as long as possible and of resources available to maintain independence if driving is no longer an option, through AOTA’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (Dec. 3–7, 2012).

Throughout the week, AOTA will offer resources on different aspects of older driver safety:

Occupational therapy practitioners have the skills to evaluate a person’s overall ability to operate a vehicle safely, provide rehabilitation and adaptations to help the person continue to drive, and provide options for maintaining independence if driving is no longer possible.

“As part of the aging process, some people experience physical, cognitive, and sensory changes that can affect driving,” says Elin Schold Davis, OTR/L, CDRS. “But these changes don’t have to mean giving up the keys. Through an evaluation, drivers can get solutions such as driving equipment and adaptations that allow them to stay on the road safely and confidently. If driving is no longer an option, an occupational therapist can provide individualized services to maintain community mobility and independence.”

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week national endorsers also have dedicated Web sites providing public and health professionals with useful, timely information: AOTA (www.aota.org/Older-Driver/Awareness), AAA (www.seniordriving.aaa.com), AARP (www.aarp.org/drive), and The
Hartford (www.SafeDrivingforaLifetime.com).

To kick off this year’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, representatives from each organization will participate in a live virtual chat. Tune in at 12 p.m. EST, Monday, Dec. 3.

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