Dear Smart Seniors: Do you know of any car gadgets that can help older drivers? I have arthritis in my neck, back and knees which makes it harder for me to get in and out of the car, looking back at my shoulders back. — nearly 80
Dear almost: To help keep older drivers safe and extend their driving years, there are many inexpensive products that can easily be added to your vehicle to help meet many different needs. Here are some popular car aids to consider:
For elderly people with limited mobility who have difficulty getting in and out of the vehicle, there are various support handles and special seat cushions to help.
Some examples include the Stander HandyBar ($40, stander.com), a portable support handrail that plugs into a U-shaped striker on a door frame, and CarCaddie ($20), a nylon support handle that snaps into the top door and window frame . The Stander also has an auto-rotating seat cushion ($40) that rotates 360 degrees to help the driver and passenger turn their bodies in and out of the vehicle.
rear view improvement
For those with neck and back issues who can’t look over their shoulders to back up or blend into traffic, you can add special mirrors as well as backup cameras.
To increase rear visibility and eliminate blind spots, Verivue Mirrors (verivuemirrors.com) offers a universal 12-inch panoramic rearview mirror ($13) that clips onto existing mirrors, as well as a variety of blind spot mirrors ($5 for two) that are sticker Small convex mirrors in the corners of the side mirrors.
Another useful device is the Auto-vox CS-2 Wireless Backup Camera Kit ($120, auto-vox.com). It comes with a night vision camera mounted on the rear license plate and a small monitor mounted on the dash or windshield.
seat belt extender
For plus-size people or people with limited mobility, there are seatbelt extension products that can make it easier to fasten your seatbelt. Seat Belt Extender Pros, for example, offer vehicle-specific seat belt extenders ($13-$26, seatbeltextenderpros.com) that fit into the buckle receiver to add a few inches of length, making it easier to fasten.
If your arthritis makes your grip difficult or painful, consider the SEG Direct Steering Wheel Cover ($17), which makes the wheel larger, softer, and easier to grip. To help unscrew tight air caps, Gascapoff’s Air and Oil Cap Opener ($17) is a long-handled tool that acts like a wrench to loosen and tighten the air cap.
If you need more help, consider contacting a driver rehabilitation specialist trained to assess older drivers and advise on safety and driving equipment.
To find a driver rehabilitation specialist in your area, visit ADED.net or MyAOTA.aota.org/driver_search.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.