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AIP Bulletin April 2013

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Quote of the Month

"Fish and visitors stink in three days."

Benjamin Franklin

Want To Keep Driving? Keep Moving!

Exercise can enhance certain aspects of flexibility and range of motion for mature drivers according to The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and MIT AgeLab’s Exercise for Mature Drivers research.

“Our focus with this research was to examine the impact physical exercise might have on driving skills as you age,” said Jodi Olshevski, gerontologist and executive director of The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence. “Driving can be essential to older adults’ sense of independence and autonomy. We encourage drivers to consider exercise as one way to stay safe on the road over a lifetime.”

Drivers in the study who were asked to exercise daily for eight to ten weeks:

  • Reported greater ease in turning their heads to see blind spots when changing lanes or to back up

  • Were able to rotate their bodies further to scan the driving environment while making right hand turns; and

  • Were able to get into their cars more rapidly, demonstrating increased overall flexibility.

“We know that exercise is valuable as we age, but we were interested in looking at connections to specific driving issues associated with aging,” said Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD, director of MIT AgeLab. “Our research contributes to a better understanding of the impact that exercise may have on driving skills as you age, and it provides simple exercises that can help contribute to a more positive driving experience.”

The new research also includes a companion survey of drivers 50+, which found that half have not considered how exercise might be beneficial to their ability to drive. Those surveyed identified the physical aspects they find the most challenging when it comes to driving. The leading factors for drivers:

Video: Mature Drivers Benefit From Exercise

“Our research contributes to a better understanding of the impact that exercise may have on driving skills as you age.”
Click here for video.

  • Turning their head and body to look behind when backing up (41%);
  • Getting in and out of the car (22%); and
  • Turning their head to see blind spots when changing lanes (19%).

The Hartford and MIT AgeLab tracked experienced drivers ages 60-74 as part of a randomized controlled study and armed them with physical fitness programs to practice for 15-20 minutes daily using Microsoft Kinect for Xbox systems. The exercise program focused on four areas – flexibility, range of motion, strength and coordination. Participants’ driving skills were assessed before and after the exercise program with a combination of in-lab tests, a driving simulator and the instrumented MIT AgeLab Aware Car.

The Hartford and MIT AgeLab suggest a two-step action plan to empower drivers to exercise as part of an overall driving wellness plan.

  1. Check with your health care provider on the best exercise plan for you. Review our list of exercises and come up with your own plan.
  2. Follow a regular exercise program. Connect with friends, build it into your calendar, and make sure you spend at least 15-30 minutes a day being active.

did you know...

Simultaneous digital use is on the rise. According to a Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, Americans spent more than 34 hours per week in front of a TV set in Q2, 2012, where they watched traditional TV, DVDs and played games. The 55-64 age group is the heaviest websurfer and email checkers on tablets during commercial breaks and programs. ~ Nielsen

A DIY Barrier Free Shower - No Engineering Degree Required

Redi Free™ barrier free shower pans are specifically designed without a curb to provide accessibility into the shower. The shower pans are ready for tile to match or complement your bathroom tile design.

Tile Redi® offers the only one-piece, pre-pitched shower pan with integrated ADA entrance, splash walls and drain on the market. Available in more than 50 standard models with a variety of sizes and drain locations to fit your bathroom design it's fast and easy to install, leak-proof and mold & mildew free. The tileable surface allows you to place tile directly on the shower pan surface so you can choose any tile design for your shower to match, coordinate, or accent your overall bathroom tile design. Their site offers in-depth instruction manuals and videos. For more information go to:

did you know...

In only 3.8 percent of American married couples (of different genders) is the wife taller than the husband. ~

Occupational Therapists Can Help With Aging in Place

April is Occupational Therapy Month! Do you know how an OT can help your parents - or other older loved ones - remain in their own homes?

They can help determine if the home is safe by evaluating the home to assess skills, abilities, and safety, and make recommendations that meet their needs and other family members. An occupational therapist will also evaluate your loved ones ability to get around in the community to get groceries, go to doctor appointments, attend religious services, participate in social activities, etc., and provide options for doing so.

Occupational Therapists can provide non-intrusive assistance. Recommend simple to complex home modifications, community support groups, options for getting around in the community, and other services that will help your parent continue to do valued activities safely and easily. Evaluate how well your parent is able to do the things he or she wants and needs to do, and provide personalized recommendations to increase safety, ease, and ability now and in the future. Suggestions may include adding adaptive equipment such as grab bars or stair lifts, lowering counter heights, adding railings, replacing door knobs with lever style handles, widening doorways, etc.

If you're looking for ways to modify the home and on a fixed-budget an OT can suggest low-cost equipment and other changes (e.g., increase wattage or change the type of fixture for better lighting or reduced glare, use a reacher to avoid bending over or standing on a stool, use the microwave and not the stove to reduce fire hazards, etc.). An occupational therapist will also provide training on adaptive equipment and address any concerns to be sure it will be used.

Have you hugged an Occupational Therapist today? :-)

did you know...

The chance that an American provides financial support to both adult children and elderly parents is 1 in 9. ~ Harper's Index

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