Occupational Therapy Students to Assess Senior Drivers

Dominican University of California has partnered with the Marin County Commission on Aging to present CarFit, a program designed to check on how well senior drivers and their vehicles work together. The event will be held on October 28 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Marin Civic Center Jury parking lot.

CarFit is a national initiative, jointly designed by the American Association for Retired Persons, the American Automobile Association, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Society on Aging.
Dominican occupational therapy students will evaluate older drivers in their cars in order to give these drivers suggestions on how to be safer behind the wheel. Among the items on the checklist are: Is the driver positioned correctly in the seat? Can the driver reach the pedals easily? Does the driver know how to adjust mirrors properly or have the flexibility to use mirrors? All assessments will be confidential.

Dominican’s occupational therapy students also will give advice on ways drivers can maintain and strengthen their driving health. “Changes in vision, physical fitness, and reflexes all may cause safety concerns in the older driver,” said Ruth Ramsey, chair of Dominican’s Department of Occupational Therapy. “People who accurately assess these changes can adjust their driving habits so that they stay safe on the road.”

Occupational therapy is a licensed health and human service profession using occupation, or activities of daily living, to help people achieve optimal independence. Occupational therapists work in hospitals, clinics, schools, and community settings, helping clients learn skills to enhance or resume their daily lives. Dominican offers a combined BS/MS (5-year program) in occupational therapy, as well as a three-year master of science in occupational therapy degree for students entering at the graduate level.

For more information about the CarFit event, please call 415-257-1393.

Posted September 26, 2006