On this episode of Advice from Your Advocates, we sit down with Matt Gurwell, who founded Beyond Driving With Dignity in an effort to ensure that our seniors are safe behind the wheel, and if they no longer are – how to best handle the transitions that follow. Prior to founding this initiative, Matt was an Ohio State Trooper for 24 years, so when he retired, he knew he was passionate about filling the void regarding information and solutions in this often overlooked space.
On this podcast recording, Bob discusses with Matt, where the warning signs might lie for aging drivers. For example, are there dents and scratches throughout the car? Have you heard any complaints from the neighbors or family nearby? Sometimes those around us can see things before we do, or even before our loved one lets us in on them. Did you know that if an older adult has had 2 or more falls throughout the year – they are three times as likely to be an at-fault driver in a potential car crash? These statistics are informative and helpful to consider as you begin to put plans in place. Matt’s program offers various testing options where a professional sits with your aging loved one to test their cognitive responses and overall physical and mental state.
Getting ahead of these difficult conversations and normalizing the topic is key to making progress for the elder in your life. Even if the time seems too soon, or not applicable, the day will eventually come when it is no longer safe to be driving – as Americans are living longer than they ever did. Addressing plans or revisiting the topic at various times will help to ease the transition for you, and the elder person in your life, so that a plan can be developed and put into place to preserve the senior’s independence.