OT Students to Assess Senior Drivers

Dominican's Department of Occupational Therapy has partnered with the Marin County Commission on Aging and the Marin County Division of Aging to present CarFit, a program designed to check on how well senior drivers and their vehicles work together.


The CarFit event will be held on October 27 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Marin Civic Center Jury parking lot in San Rafael.

CarFit is a national initiative, jointly designed by the American Occupational Therapy Association, the American Association for Retired Persons, the American Automobile Association, and the American Society on Aging.

This is the second year Dominican's OT students have assisted with the event. Last year, seniors from throughout Marin received driver 'tuneups.

Dominican occupational therapy students and faculty will help evaluate older drivers in their cars in order to give these drivers suggestions on how to be safer behind the wheel. Each 15-minute, 12-point checklist will include recommendations for vehicle adjustments and adaptations that will make the vehicle “fit” better with its driver for enhanced safety.

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 and faculty 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.”

Karen Smith, a certified driver rehabilitation specialist, will also be available on-site to offer suggestions and referrals as needed.

This CarFit program is for licensed drivers age 60 and older who own a registered vehicle. Reservations are recommended. To schedule an evaluation appointment, call 415-499-7396.

Posted October 17, 2007