Everyone wants to age at home, but surrendering the car keys often leaves seniors stranded and dependent on expensive cabs, erratic bus schedules, or the good will of others for rides. Giving up driving often is a major reason that seniors end up having to move from longtime homes. Keeping the car keys longer sometimes is a matter of picking the right car or adapting an existing car to better fit your needs.
Consumer Reports just did a series, “Top 25 New Cars for Senior Drivers,” that ranks car models on the features that are especially helpful to senior drivers. Among them are easy access in and out of the car for drivers with physical limitations; controls that are easy to read and operate; and powerful headlights to help those with vision problems.
The series also includes stories about how Ford designers and engineers wear suits that simulate the effects of aging so they can sense the impact of things like limited flexibility and figure out how to better design cars to serve the needs of older drivers.
Another piece addresses ways to keep driving skills sharp. Simple changes like a properly positioned mirror or the addition of pedal extenders often can make driving safer for seniors.
That’s where CarFit, a program created by the American Society on Aging, American Automobile Association, AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association can help. CarFit provides a free 20-minute assessment of a person’s car to see how well it fits a driver and recommends changes to make the car safer and more comfortable.