Driver Assessment for Loved Ones

By Eunice K. Neubauer, CSA

Elderly Senior Citizens Driver Assessment Information Twin Cities MNRecently I was able to meet with Kathy Woods the Manager of Driver Assessment and Training Services of Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Services. She was informative and gave me some tips to help those concerned about a person driving:

  • Put the blame on the doctor or another family member and take it off the senior.
  • Use this type of language: ‘Dad, I’m concerned about you hurting yourself or you hurting someone else. They have specialists at Courage Kenny that can test your driving ability to make sure you are able to drive safely’
  • If cost is an issue, don’t share the costs and divide it among the children. If income is low and they are Medical Assistance Eligible ask about a discount due to low income. If they are an AARP or AAA member there is a $20 discount. If a Veteran contact the VA about a driver assessment.

Before a behind the wheel test is given a vision test is given they must pass and they are asked if they have lost consciousness due to a stroke or seizure or the like.

There are many adults that can drive but may need restricted driving, driving within 1-2 miles of their house for example.

A test you can do yourself if you are the adult child is to ask yourself: are you ok with your elderly parent driving your children? Or, if you are the spouse and are co-piloting, how much directing do you do? You don’t want to be telling your spouse when to change lanes or to stop or go or slow down, according to Kathy. To see a video that Kathy did on Fox 9 go to http://www.allinanews.com/2016/10/when-is-it-time-to-take-away-the-car-keys/

More information about Courage Kenny’s program is below:

For more than 30 years, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute (formerly Courage Center) has been a leader in driver assessment and training for seniors and people with disabilities. The majority of our clients participate in a Comprehensive Driver Assessment which is 3 hours long. Courage Kenny Driver Assessment service is a MN state licensed driving school. Due to working within a medical facility, we require all clients complete the Assessment prior to beginning any training.

We begin the Comprehensive Driver Assessment with an interview to better understand the reasons the client is present for an assessment, medical concerns, his/her goals for driving, and status of everyday living skills.

The first portion of the assessment is clinical testing where we get a baseline for critical skills that are used when driving. Those skills include: coordination and physical abilities, vision, physical reaction time, quick decision making, processing of information, ability to divide attention, and memory.

The second portion of the assessment is behind-the-wheel where we look at the driver’s current driving habits or abilities, awareness of the environment and the ability to follow rules of the road. Instruction on safe driving skills is provided during the drive portion as needed. We observe ability to change habits and/or retain new information. After the drive, we come back to the clinic and review the test results with the client and family, discuss concerns and/or recommendations. Recommendations may be to continue/return to driving with or without restrictions, training/driving lessons, driving cessation, or other recommendations.

The cost of the comprehensive driver assessment in the sedan is $414 at any of the following Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s facilities:

  • Buffalo
  • Burnsville
  • Cambridge
  • Coon Rapids
  • Forest Lake
  • Golden Valley
  • New Ulm
  • Owatonna
  • Stillwater

There is a $20 discount for those who show a valid AAA or AARP card at check-in.  You can schedule an appointment by calling 612-262-7855 or 888-846-8253.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you!

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