AAA Urges Families to Prepare for the ‘Silver Tsunami’ of Aging Drivers

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is Dec. 5-9 and AAA emphasizes the importance of communication to help keep senior drivers safe and mobile – AARP Webinar Today

Dec. 5, 2011 – Senior citizens – people age 65 or older – are now the largest and fastest growing age group in the U.S. This growth has been accelerated by the baby boomers beginning to flood into the ranks of the elderly and the American Automobile Association sees a “silver tsunami” washing down the streets and highways during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which begins today.

AAA is one of the organizations joining in the promotion of the event, which was created by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Older Driver Safety Awareness Week December 5-9, aims to raise awareness about the importance of safe mobility and transportation for older adults and promote action to keep older adults mobile and active in their communities.

Throughout the week, AOTA will offer resources on different aspects of older driver safety:
● Monday, Dec. 5: Family Conversations
● Tuesday, Dec. 6: Screening and Evaluations
● Wednesday, Dec. 7: Driving Equipment and Adaptations
● Thursday, Dec. 8: Taking Changes in Stride
● Friday, Dec. 9: Life After Driving

Driving conversations between family members should be ongoing and are often initiated around holiday gatherings. Strategies are offered through AOTA’s Web site () to help families start these conversations along with options for ways to keep seniors safely on the road. Older Driver Safety Awareness Week national endorsers also have dedicated Web sites providing public and health professionals with useful, timely information:
● AAA (http://www.seniordriving.aaa.com/),
● AARP (www.aarp.org/drive) and
● The Hartford (www.SafeDrivingforaLifetime.com).

Research has shown that people today live an average of about 7-10 years beyond their safe driving ability, according to AAA. And the senior population will increase by 75 percent over the next two decades.

“In less than 10 years, one in four licensed drivers will be age 65 and older, which means that millions of American families will be working through this challenge,” said Jake Nelson, director, AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research.

“Most families don’t know where to turn for help so by partnering with the American Occupational Therapists Association (AOTA) during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, AAA hopes to raise visibility of resources and tools that will help families address real and perceived challenges associated with driving and aging.”

AAA’s senior driver safety and mobility website SeniorDriving.AAA.com provides expert advice and research-based tools for senior drivers and their families. Tools on the site are designed to aid in prompting conversations, assessing abilities and improving the comfort and safety of older drivers.

Conversations about safe driving can evoke strong emotional reactions as concerns about personal independence and managing other day-to-day activities may come into question. AAA encourages seniors and their families to approach these sensitive conversations as opportunities for constructive communication and problem solving.

To help manage the effects of aging on driving ability, AAA also offers the following resources for older drivers:

   ● AAA Roadwise Review is a computer-based self-screening tool designed to assess a driver’s functional abilities important to safe driving.

   ● CarFit and AAA’s Smart Features for Mature Drivers help to enhance seniors’ comfort and safety while driving.

   ● Safe Driving for Mature Operators classroom and online courses provide driver training to help address the changes caused by aging and how a driver may compensate.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA says it provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com

—This information was provided by SeniorJournal.com

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