Driving - Living better on the road
What a wonderful day – the day we got our license to drive! How amazing to be able to get to the movies, store or our friend’s house by ourselves! Most of us will remember this forever. Keeping our driver’s license is also important. As we age, having our driver’s license impacts our ability to live alone, to stay in our home, to continue our social life and sense of control and independence. Chronic diseases, such as arthritis and back pain, can dramatically impact this important activity and skill. There are three guidelines to follow so you can continue this important activity: be safe, use helpful products and make driving as easy as possible!
Safety when driving is a must. Make sure you have a charged cell phone, On Star or AAA so you can communicate and get help, if you have a car problem. For extra safe driving strategies, you can sign up with AARP for their safe driving course. Other strategies for comfort and safety include drive when you are refreshed, make short and frequent stops along the way, leave yourself plenty of time, map out your route ahead of time, make sure you are up to date with car repairs and maintenance, get a handicapped parking sticker or hand controls, if needed, and drive when the roads are less crowded. Activities such as stretching arms, legs and back help reduce pain and can be done during stops while on a long drive. Regularly doing range of motion exercise for our necks can also help with safe driving.
Luckily, there are many products that can help us continue driving independence. Exercises to keep our arms and hands strong and our necks flexible are important. Products such as wide angle mirrors with safe visibility when the driver has a stiff neck. Key turners and gas cap turners help us hold and turn hard to use car parts. Swivel seat cushions make it easier to get in the car and to see over the steering wheel for people who are short. Seat belt straps help organize and put in place those wonderful though sometimes difficult seat belts and the handy bar helps to get out and in the care more easily. Back support cushions such as a lumbar cushion can make sitting in the car for a long time much more comfortable. All these are available through the www.aidsforarthritis.com website and the catalogue by calling the 1-800-654-0707. And remember a little luxury goes a long way. Make sure your car is comfortable to drive easy to maneuver and good on gas mileage. You might even consider a car that parks for you or at least helps you see behind you when back up. And the best gadget ever, purchase and install an automatic garage door opener! Make it all easy as possible. Live better and enjoy!