Dear Savvy Senior: Can you recommend any products that can help older drivers with their vehicles? My 84-year-old mother is still a pretty good driver, but she has arthritis, which limits her range of motion and hinders her driving. - Searching Son
Dear Searching: To help keep older drivers safe and extend their driving years, there are a number of affordable products you can purchase today that can easily be added to your mom's vehicle to help with many different needs. Here are several to consider.
Entry and Exit
If your mom's limited range of motion is hampering her ability to get into and out of her vehicle, consider these products:
If your mom has a difficult time looking over her shoulder to back-up or merge into traffic, or struggles with sensitivity to glare, these products can help.
If your mom's arthritis makes turning the ignition key, twisting open the gas cap, or gripping the steering wheel difficult and painful, consider these devices:
If your mom has shrunk a little over the years to the point she needs help seeing over the steering wheel or reaching the pedals, consider a "wedge seat cushion" which is an orthopedic cushion that supports the back and elevates her a few inches. Or, "foot pedal extensions" (see pedalextenders.net, drive-master.com or summiteasy.com) that allow her to reach the pedals while keeping her 10-to-12-inches from the steering wheel.
Seat Belt Aids
The "Easy Reach Seat Belt Handle" is a 6-inch rubber extension handle that attaches to the seat belt strap to make it easier to reach for seniors with mobility loss. And a "seat belt shoulder pad" that fits around the shoulder strap protects the neck and shoulder from rubbing and chafing.
All of these items (except the pedal extensions and backup camera) cost under $50, and can be found online at Amazon.com. Type the product name in the search bar to get a variety of options.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.