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Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Alternative to Giving Up the Car Keys

Occupational therapy is taking a place in the evaluation of an injured worker's ability to drive a vehicle. oday's post is shared from the  .

Robert Cullon, 80, has a neurological condition that makes his feet numb and forces him to rely on a walker. He thought he was driving just fine, but his six children were worried.

“They kept saying, ‘Are you sure you’re doing all right?’ ” he said. “They broke me down.”

Instead of handing over his keys, though, Mr. Cullon, who lives in Albany, decided to consult a driving rehabilitation specialist. She rode with him, observing how well he used his feet, how good his reflexes were and how good his range of motion was in his shoulders and neck. Then she pronounced him fit to take the wheel.

His children backed off — and he felt reassured. As the baby boomer generation ages, more older drivers like Mr. Cullon are going to be on the road. In the United States, about 35 million licensed drivers are over 65, an increase of 20 percent since 2003, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While that is a scary thought for some people, the common perception, that the only real choice is between ignoring the difficulties faced by elderly drivers and taking away the car keys, is wrong. “We’re evolving in our thinking,” said Jodi Olshevski, a gerontologist and executive director of the Hartford insurance company’s Center for...

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