LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Northwest Outpatient Therapy Clinic, 1125 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville, will host a CarFit event from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 16 with free checkups of vehicles intended to improve comfort and safety for older drivers.
Appointments are not required but drivers are encouraged to call (479) 713-8630 to reserve a time for their checkup.
CarFit is national program developed by AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association that is designed to offer a quick, yet comprehensive check on how well an older driver and his or her vehicle work together. An estimated 10,000 U.S. drivers are turning 65 every day and mobility experts can help ensure those drivers find a better “fit” with their cars.
“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 Kandy Salter, an occupational therapist at the UAMS Northwest Outpatient Therapy Clinic. “CarFit provides older adults with the tools to understand and apply the safety features of their car.”
At a CarFit event, trained volunteers complete a 12-point checklist with each driver. Among the items checked:
- Correct position of driver’s seat
- Driver’s ability to easily reach pedals
- Proper adjustment of mirrors
Occupational therapists also are available to provide a consultation, if needed, which will teach drivers how to maintain and improve their driving health. The therapist also can offer information to address individual needs, such as local community resources on exercise, nutrition and other programs to help keep older drivers safe on the road.
“It is critically important that mature drivers make safety a personal priority,” Salter said. “Driving today is more difficult than ever because of increased traffic congestion, longer commute distances, new technology and faster speeds. Older drivers can take important measures to mitigate the stress associated with driving.”
Older drivers also can check with their local AAA club or AARP office to take a driver safety refresher course or look into occupational therapy driving evaluation programs for individualized assessments and recommendations. 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.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.