With advances in care, more and more aging parents, spouses, and other seniors are successfully staying behind the wheel for longer periods of time than in years past. That’s a big plus for senior independence; however, elderly ones may have different needs to consider now than they did when shopping for a vehicle twenty years ago.
With that in mind, here are a few considerations that aging parents who plan to purchase a new car may wish to take into account.
- Getting in and out. It’s unfortunate but true that as most people age, they have a bit more trouble getting in and out of cars. Those fancy sports cars that look so sharp but are so low to the ground may cause a bit of strain, especially for taller drivers. Conversely, SUVS that are too high off the ground make the risk of a fall more likely. Ceiling height can be an issue as well, as can the heft and weight of the door. Prospective buyers definitely need to spend some time practicing entering and exiting a potential purchase to make sure it’s the proper fit.
- A readable dashboard. There are significant variations between the features included on dashboards, as well as how information is presented. Seniors with vision issues need to make sure that the most important features – the speedometer, odometer, gas gauge, etc. – are positioned where they can be easily seen and are large enough to be read easily.
- Pushbutton start. Handling tiny keys can present a challenge for some seniors, especially those with arthritis. Finding the keyhole and properly inserting the key can also become a nuisance. Selecting a car that has a push-button starting mechanism may be a better bet, and selecting a car with push-button locking and unlocking mechanisms so that one doesn’t waste time trying to insert a key into the locked car on a dark night is a must.
- Alerts. Many car models now come with features that alert drivers to potentially difficult or dangerous situations. Audio parking aids use a series of sounds to let one know if one is nearing the another car while parking. Blind-spot warning systems and collision avoidance systems help drivers to become aware of potential impacts before they happen.
For those aging parents who are in good shape and continue to be good drivers, these and other features can help make the driving experience even better – and safer.