RVNAhealth Introduces New ‘Fitness to DRIVE’ Program

The ability of seniors to safely drive is a concern for many people and their loved ones as they age. It is important to understand that aging can affect a person’s driving ability, but it is not necessarily a reason to stop driving altogether. If you or a loved one are concerned about your ability to drive safely, RVNAhealth is pleased to offer its new Fitness to DRIVE program, the only OT certified driving assessment in Fairfield County, CT! The Fitness to DRIVE program is available for seniors and to help anyone improve their driving skills and maintain their independence on the road and in the community, whether you are recovering from a recent medical illness or condition, or you just want to validate your driving skill set.

There are many factors that can affect the driving abilities of older adults. The most common ones include changes in vision (visual acuity and depth perception), cognitive changes (memory, attention, or reaction time), and medication side effects (drowsiness, dizziness, etc.). Chronic health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease have also been linked to higher risk of motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, certain neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and head or brain traumas can also impact your ability to drive safely.

RVNAhealth’s Fitness to DRIVE program consists of a 90 minute clinical off-road assessment to help you identify your ability to drive safely and ways you can improve your driving skills. During the assessment, a RVNAhealth certified occupational therapist (OT) will perform simple in-office assessments for vision, hearing, sensation, cognition, motor skills, strength and coordination. Upon completion, you and your family will have a clear understanding of your fitness to drive safely and recommendations for improvement. If physical, occupational, or speech therapy are recommended, all are available from RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. The initial Fitness to DRIVE assessment costs $250. If the initial driving evaluation recommends that rehabilitation or other ongoing treatment is needed to improve driving fitness, the assessment cost will be covered under most Medicare or private insurance.

Not all older drivers experience declines in driving ability, and some older adults may be safer drivers than younger adults due to their greater experience and caution on the road. But in general, seniors should monitor their health and be aware of any physical or cognitive changes that may affect their ability to drive safely. To learn more about RVNAhealth’s Fitness to Drive program, call 203.438.7862 or email rehabcenter@rvnahealth.org.

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