If you have an aging driver in the household, you are not alone. In Michigan, drivers age 65 and older represent the fastest growing segment of the state’s population.
To highlight the issues surrounding aging drivers, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson urges residents to observe “Older Driver Safety Awareness Week,” beginning Dec. 3. This nationally recognized event has been organized to promote the understanding of the mobility and transportation issues that affect older adults, such as how to assist drivers who can still drive safely and how to prevent transportation concerns from becoming a barrier that keep seniors isolated at home.
“Everyone knows how difficult it is to bring up the subject of driving with an older loved one,” Johnson said. “But, as painful as it can be, it is important that the topic be addressed.”
Beginning Dec. 3, residents are invited to explore a different topic each day related to aging and driving, with their family, friends and professionals in their community:
- Monday, Dec. 3: Identifying Changes That Can Affect Driving
- Tuesday, Dec. 4: Family Conversations
- Wednesday, Dec. 5: Screening and Evaluations with an Occupational Therapist
- Thursday, Dec. 6: Equipment That Can Empower Drivers
- Friday, Dec. 7: Taking Changes in Stride
Johnson recommends that older drivers, families and friends begin the discussion by visiting the state’s Safe Drivers Smart Options: Keys to Lifelong Mobility website at www.michigan.gov/agingdriver.
The Safe Drivers Smart Options website is a statewide response to the need for information on this important and challenging subject. It was developed through a collaboration of public and private agencies as a much-needed strategy to promote safety and mobility for Michigan’s aging adults.
Recognized for excellence by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the website provides accessible information and resources for drivers, their families and the professionals who work with them. Among the website’s many resources are:
- Older driver self-assessment driving tools and videos
- Links to driver refresher courses and other community supports for older drivers
- Information about how medications and health problems may affect driving and lists of resources available to drivers once they stop driving
- Strategies for initiating conversations about when and how to transition to a non-driving lifestyle
- Procedures for referring an unsafe driver for a driver reexamination
- Information about the aspects of aging and how best to interact with older residents for audiences such as law enforcement, healthcare and other professionals
“Michigan has great information and resources available for older drivers and their families through the Safe Drivers Smart Options website,’ Johnson said. “Just knowing there is help available can make the daunting task of tackling this issue that much easier.”
For more information and resources about aging drivers, visit the Safe Drivers Smart Options website.