Program helps seniors decide when to retire car keys
A program called 'Beyond Driving with Dignity' is designed to help seniors decide when they should give up their keys.
85-year-old Earl Guswiler took the assessment after recovering from heart surgery.
When is it time for an older
driver to give up the keys to their car? That's
a question faced by senior citizens and their adult children every day.
Currently in the United States, there are an estimated
33,000,000 licensed drivers age 65 and older. However, statistics
indicate older drivers run a higher risk of being injured or killed in an
called 'Beyond Driving with Dignity' is designed to help seniors decide when they
should give up their keys.
"We do that based on facts. So we do
an in-depth personal interview. We do several pen and paper exercises, and we do
a driving exercise," explained Nancy Schuster of Beyond Driving with Dignity.
Schuster says the program involves a 3-hour assessment to determine an older
"I've done enough of these
assessments across a broad range of ages that, I mean, I've seen first hand age
is not an indicator. So, I really think it has a lot to do with cognitive
ability, decision making, you know, that type of stuff as well as your
physical well being," said Schuster.
85-year-old Earl Guswiler took the assessment
after recovering from heart surgery.
"The big concern was my balance more
than anything else," he explained.
Guswiler passed the assessment with flying colors and says he feels very comfortable behind the wheel.
"I think I can get in the car right
now and drive to California without any problem," he added.
On the contrary, it is a problem for many older drivers, and the decision to give up their car keys can be very difficult.
"It's probably one of the single most
difficult decisions that an older driver makes because it's very often seen as
the last bastion of independence. 'If I don't drive, I'm a prisoner in my
home'," said Schuster.
Beyond Driving with Dignity offers transportation alternatives, as well.
The program $300, and seniors who decide to keep driving can be reassessed at no
charge. Program officials say about 60% of seniors enrolled in the program choose to give up driving.