Grandpa may be thinking about giving up his car keys, but then what? How will he get around without his wheels? Does he need to hang up his keys altogether?
An expo next week looks at these nagging questions. Older adults and family members will learn about transportation options and driver safety at the “Get up and Go: Older Adult Driving Expo” from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. next Wednesday in the Regnier Center at the University of Kansas Edwards Campus, 12610 Quivira Road. The event is free and open to the community. Registration is not necessary.
“It’s a public safety and public education event for the Kansas City community,” said Dawn Staton, director of older adult initiatives with Jewish Family Services.
Sponsored by Jewish Family Services, Johnson County Human Services and Americans for Older Driver Safety, the expo features a speaker, vendor fair with area transportation companies and advice on older adult driver safety. The event will educate older adult drivers on how to keep themselves safer as they age and continue to drive and to become aware of limitations.
“If they are thinking of retiring from driving, to feel less stressed about it, … there are options available,” Staton said. “I’m really excited about it. I love it that we are all able to collaborate.”
From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. keynote speaker Susan Cohen, co-founder of Americans for Older Driver Safety, will discuss maximizing safety through good driving habits, understanding medical conditions that affect driving and transitioning to “driving retirement.” Cohen, of Leawood, co-founded the nonprofit with her husband, Mitchell Krasnopoler, after their adult son, Nathan, was killed by an older driver. Their mission is to raise awareness and educate the public and professionals about driving as a necessity, a skill that can change due to aging and disease.
“They need to plan for not driving at some point in the future,” Cohen said. “They need to plan well in advance for driving retirement. They can proactively stay safe behind the wheel by making some modifications as they age.”
Cohen authored four booklets she will give attendees: “Driving for the Experienced Driver,” “Equipping your car for comfort and safety,” “How aging and disease affect driving” and “Lifelong driver education and transitioning to retirement.”
Nobody wants to stop driving because of a horrible collision, Cohen said.
“It’s so individual. It’s not about age. It’s about function,” Cohen said. “Function changes very, very gradually. It’s hard to know when your reaction time is now going to make you unsafe. It’s very subtle.”
There is a great need for individuals to consider what options are available for transportation, said Anna Collins, volunteer coordinator with Johnson County Catch a Ride.
Catch a Ride and Jewish Family Services’ JET Express are two of a dozen transportation services on hand at the expo. Catch a Ride is free and transports riders for essential trips such as the grocery and doctor appointments. JET Express charges $5 each way, but extends services to destinations such as friends, theaters and hair appointments.
Other vendors at the expo include The Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City; University of Kansas Landon Center; MTM Inc.; Olathe Transportation Services; Lenexa; Shepherd Center Central; Shawnee Mission Medical Center; CarFit; 10/10 Taxi; Advance Suburban Taxi; AARP; and Home Instead.
“The expo will provide attendees with in-depth and practical ways for older adults to continue driving, safety and transportation resources and services for when an older adult needs to retire from driving,” Staton said.
To learn more
▪ For more information about the transportation expo, visit jocogov.org/dept/human-services/event/2015/05/11/5464 or contact Dawn Staton at 913 327-8239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.