At the CarFit event on Wednesday, June 1st, trained volunteers will complete a 12-point checklist with each driver. Among the items that will be checked: Is the person positioned correctly in the driver’s seat? Can the person reach the pedals easily? Does the person know how to adjust mirrors properly or have the flexibility to use the mirrors?
“As we age, changes in our vision, flexibility, strength, range of motion and even size and height may make us less comfortable and reduce our control behind the wheel,” said Richard Smith, Executive Director of the nonprofit Independent Living Partnership. “CarFit provides older adults with the tools to understand and apply the safety features of their vehicles.
Following their individual vehicle check, drivers can also consult with an occupational therapist Todd McDonald, from Eisenhower Medical Center, who will discuss ways that drivers can maintain and improve aspects related to their driving health. The therapists also will be able to provide information to participants addressing individual needs, including information about local community resources on exercise, nutrition and other programs to help keep them safe on the road.
According to CarFit research, the utility and value of the CarFit program is evidenced in the evaluation ratings provided by the trained volunteers and participants and by follow-up questionnaires sent to the participants 30 days after completion of the program. Nearly every volunteer (98%) recommended the continuance of CarFit events in their area and 9 out of 10 stated that they would be very likely to volunteer for future CarFit events. Almost 9 out of 10 participants (89%) said they would recommend CarFit to friends or relatives. Ninety percent of participants said that the CarFit event was useful.
Smith says the Independent Living Partnership and the Riverside County Office on Aging are collaborating to bring this driver safety program for seniors to Riverside County. Mature drivers who are interested in participating in the CarFit event should call the Office on Aging at 1-800-510-2020 to make an appointment for their personal review. Smith says “Nothing will be sold at the event and there is no pass-fail.” He continues, “CarFit is an educational and informational program that is provided free to participants.”
On May 31st, prior to the public event, representatives from agencies and organizations around Riverside County are invited to attend a free CarFit Coordinator training. Nationally known CarFit trainer, Fran Carlin Rogers will conduct the training and oversee the public event on the following day. According to Carlin Rogers, “Coordinators trained on Tuesday will then stage the public event, as part of their training, on the following day and become certified so that they can hold similar events all across Riverside County.”
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The Independent Living Partnership works to ensure the independence and dignity of the elderly and persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers through education and access to empowering services and resources.