Wednesday: Screening and Evaluations With an Occupational Therapist
Following a newspaper article, a family conversation or possibly participation at a CarFit event, an older driver may decide that it is time to get a check-up on his or her driving fitness. The services described as “Driving fitness evaluations” may seem confusing, as they range from self-assessments (useful education tools to help identify potential challenges) to a professional comprehensive driving evaluation from an occupational therapy driving rehabilitation specialist.
It is important for older drivers and their family members to understand the driving service they are getting, so they can act on the results in a meaningful way. A screening that flags a driving risk is intended to encourage the older driver to get more information. (see list of questions on page 24, Your Road Ahead: A Guide to Comprehensive Driving Evaluations) The informed consumer needs to know what will happen at the evaluation, and we encourage senior drivers and their family to ask the facility questions before making a commitment. The older driver should be involved in the scheduling process so he or she can ask specific questions, which usually decreases anxiety. Read more about what typically happens during a driving evaluation here.
Plan to have an adult child, another family member, or a close friend attend the evaluation to help with the initial interview about driving history and medical history, have another set of ears when hearing the results of the evaluation, assist with recommended accommodations, and be prepared to help with planning for driving retirement (i.e., other ways to stay independent in the community), if that is the driving specialist’s recommendation.