Elder Friendly

There are certain things that happen when people reach their golden years; things that were once simple become a little bit more complicated. Your body can’t do all the things it used to do, at least not without a struggle. Aging is a process that many of us have difficulty coming to grips with, because we don’t like to admit that we’re less than what we previously were. However, there is honor is growing older gracefully, and accepting what your limitations are.   When it comes to driving, senior often have different limitations than that of younger drivers.

For some seniors it’s difficult to get in and out of some cars, due to aging joints and lowered flexibility.   Today, it’s estimated that over 10,000 people turn 65 years of age, every single day. This means that there are more seniors on the road than ever before, and many of them suffer from some sort of ailment that can affect their driving abilities. From poor vision to aching and painful joints, the cards are stacked against senior drivers, and no car manufacturer has started making vehicles that cater to their age group. However, there are certain features to look for when trying to find the right vehicle for a driver in their golden age.

  • Simple Entrance and Exit – Too many cars these days give more thought to styling than to function. For this reason, doors are often longer, windshields more sloped, and this makes it difficult for adults of a certain age to get in and out of. Let’s face it, sometimes it makes it harder for anyone to enter and exit! When looking for a car for a senior, avoid cars that sit very low to the ground, because they tend to sit a lot lower and they’re hard to get into and out of.
  • Adjustable Steering Wheel and Pedals – Both of these options are ideal for elderly drivers, as they make it easier for them to reach all of the necessary functions without sacrificing their clear view out the windshield. If the senior is suffering from osteoporosis, or they’re simply getting up there in years, they may not be the full height they used to be, therefore a car without these features may make it difficult for them to be in full control of the vehicle. Think about it, if they can’t reach the brake easily, it’s a danger to themselves and the other people on the road.
  • Multi-Way Power Seats – It’s all well and good if a seat can move forward and backward if need be, but for a senior driver, this may make for an uncomfortable ride. You want to look for a car that has a multi-way option, especially one with lumbar support that can be adjusted. You’ll the seat to be able to be raised and lowered, and provide the right mix of support and comfort that won’t hurt a senior in the long haul. Also look for vehicles that have started making specialized seats that take the pressure off of the joints and the spine.
  • Easily Read Gauges – If you’ve got vision problems, you don’t want to put yourself behind the wheel of a car in which you can’t read the gauges. Digital displays will be better, as they are typically larger in size and more easily read. Check out vehicles that have a display that allows drivers to see their turn signals and headlight information clearly so they’re not a danger OR an annoyance on the roads.   Even better, look into the vehicles that pop the aforementioned information up on the windshield, so drivers don’t have to look down.
  • Heated Features – For arthritis, heated seats will be a dream. The heat will keep the joints warmer, more easily moved, and much less painful. For longer drives, this type of comfort will be essential for senior drivers who suffer from the agonizing joint disease. Also pay close attention to the steering wheel. For some drivers, a heated steering wheel will keep painful hands from becoming too stiff to drive properly. If a heated steering wheel isn’t an option, make sure that the wheel is thick and padded, as it will make for a more pleasant drive.

It’s easy in this day and age to say someone who reaches a certain age shouldn’t be driving, but that’s not really a fair judgment to make. Some seniors lead very active lives and a perfectly capable of driving just as well, if not better, than us. However, we have to take their concerns seriously, and make sure they’re getting a vehicle that is the right fit for their age.

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