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What's Up Magazine

Drive, She Said

Jan 21, 2014 10:23AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

For many of us, getting behind the wheel of car has been our passport to independence since we were teenagers. And we don’t want that passport revoked. Massachusetts General geriatric social worker Barbara Moscowitz says, “Most people I see don’t think they have any driving problems,” she says. “But even subtle changes in your health can affect your reaction time. You need to address them while you’re well, so you can keep driving.”

Arthritis, back problems, and other conditions can affect your dexterity. It is important to stay physically active. Hearing loss can also be a concern for drivers. The American Speech- Language-Hearing Association recommends getting hearing checks every three years after the age of 50.

Vision may be the biggest worry for most aging drivers. Changes in eyesight may make it harder to see at night and read traffic signs. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people over 65 have comprehensive eye exams at least every other year.

—S.H.

Bottom line: Exercise and stretch to help maintain the flexibility and strength you need to operate a car; keep noise inside the car to a minimum; avoid driving during the busiest times of day; and consider cutting back on night driving if your eyesight has been affected.
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