For Immediate Release
Contact: Michele Skeele
Safety Program Helps Senior Drivers Fit Better In Their Vehicles
(HENDERSONVILLE, NC) — On Thursday, May 15, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and guided walk will be held in the Green Meadows neighborhood at 10:00 am. The starting point will be the parking area at the William H. King Memorial Park at the corner of Robinson and Towhee, off 7th Avenue in Hendersonville. We will be celebrating the 'roll-out' of the most recently improved route in our ongoing project to improve walking routes for seniors in Hendersonville. The city is working hard to make improvements to the sidewalks in this pretty and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, and we�d love for you to come out and see the results of all this hard work. Aimed at senior citizens but open to everyone, we invite you to please come help us celebrate, and get some healthy exercise too! The walk, following a short ribbon-cutting ceremony, will take approximately 45 minutes. Canceled in the event of rain.
With the goal of keeping seniors safe on area roads, driver safety volunteers will conduct a new safety program designed to help seniors find out how the �fit� of their personal vehicle affects their driving. Older adult drivers may bring their vehicles behind the Blue Ridge Mall on Thursday, May 15, from 2 to 5 pm to take part in CarFit, an innovative national program designed to give a quick comprehensive check on how well a senior driver and their vehicle work together. The event will also provided motorists with community traffic safety resources that can help keep them driving safely longer.
The Council on Aging and the Healthy Coalition for Henderson County, in conjunction with the Walk Wise, Drive Smart program, will conduct CarFit check-ups in Hendersonville as part of the national CarFit program, which was created by the San Francisco-based American Society on Aging and developed in collaboration with AAA (American Automobile Association), AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
"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 Michele Skeele from the Council on Aging. "CarFit gives older adults the tools to help them stay on today�s roads safely and to stay connected to resources in their communities."
At the upcoming CarFit event, trained volunteers will go through a 12-point checklist with drivers. Among the items to check: 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?
After visiting the trained volunteer professional, drivers may consult with an occupational therapist who, if needed, can discuss ways drivers can maintain and strengthen their driving health. The therapists will also provide information to participants to address individual needs related to information about local community resources on exercise, nutrition and other programs to help keep them safe on the roads.
"It is critically important that mature drivers make safety a personal priority," said Skeele. "Driving today is more difficult than ever because of more traffic, bigger vehicles and faster speeds, but older drivers themselves can take measures to ease the stress out on the road."
Senior drivers can also check with their local AAA club and AARP chapter, which provide driver refresher courses for older road users. CarFit represents an extension of those classroom programs, and an opportunity for older drivers to make sure their personal vehicles are adjusted to their needs.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Michele Skeele at the Council on Aging, 692-4203.