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Arizona

When Is It Time to Hang Up the Keys?

Free seminar helps families talk to older drivers

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It spells out methods of observing driving skills over time, with an eye to assessing whether a parent can make adjustments to decreasing mobility and other common results of aging. It emphasizes taking note of changes in driving behavior, such as running yellow lights.

"It's the subtle clues that count, and a real friend will notice them," said Mindy Fain, M.D., codirector of the Arizona Center on Aging at the University of Arizona. "The little things can make people no longer want to be with you as the driver. So ask a loved one. That's a good test."

Alternatives to a car
The seminar encourages people to think about alternatives to driving. For instance, it points out how taking taxis for errands throughout the year may turn out to be a far cheaper alternative to maintaining a car.

To help a parent see a bus ride as a normal event, adult children are urged to ride the bus with the parent several times before the parent needs to make a solo bus trip.

For all drivers, AARP Arizona offers two related sessions:

The AARP Driver Safety class covers new laws and techniques that can help counteract the physical consequences associated with aging. Enter a ZIP code at the AARP Driver Safety classroom course locator find a class.

In Arizona, auto insurers aren't required to offer a premium discount for taking the class. Some do, but only for customers who take the in-person class, not the online version. The four-hour class costs $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. The Driver Safety online course is $15.95 for AARP members; $19.95 for nonmembers.

CarFit is designed to adjust vehicles to fit drivers' bodies and accommodate physical limitations that often come with age. Participants drive their own automobiles to a CarFit session for a free, 20-minute one-on-one assessment.

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