Valparaiso University to Host CarFit Event

LeBein Carfit

The Occupational Therapy Program at Valparaiso University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions is partnering with CarFit — a national program developed by AAA, AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), to help mature drivers create a better “fit” with their cars. On April 11, motorists aged 65 and over are welcome to come to the front parking lot of LeBein Hall, 836 LaPorte Avenue in Valparaiso, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. CDT for assistance adjusting the settings and seat positions on their vehicles to ensure they are set for optimal safety, comfort, and mobility. This event is free and open to the public. 

“As we age, changes in our vision, flexibility, strength, range of motion, and even size and height may make us less comfortable and reduce our control behind the wheel,” said Sara Story, Ed.D., OTD, OTR/L, BCG, CAPS program director and associate professor of occupational therapy. “CarFit provides older adults with the tools to understand and apply their car’s safety features.”

At a CarFit event, trained volunteers complete a 12-point checklist with each driver. Among the items checked: 

  • Correct position of driver’s seat
  • Driver’s ability to easily reach pedals
  • Proper adjustment of mirrors

Occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) will also be on-hand to provide a consultation, if needed, that will educate drivers how to maintain and improve aspects related to their driving health. The OTP can also provide information to participants addressing individual needs, including information about local community resources on exercise, nutrition and other programs to help keep them safe on the road.

OTP Students

“It is critically important that mature drivers make safety a personal priority,” said Professor Story. “Driving today is more difficult than ever because of increased traffic congestion, longer commute distances, new technology and faster speeds. Mature drivers can take important measures to mitigate the stress associated with driving.”

Mature drivers can also check with their local AAA club or AARP office to take a driver safety refresher course for older road users or look into occupational therapy driving evaluation programs for individualized assessments and recommendations. CarFit represents an extension of those classroom programs, and an opportunity for mature drivers to make sure their personal vehicles are adjusted to their needs.

CarFit is just one of the ways that occupational therapy students at Valpo are living the University’s value of service in the community and the region. To learn more about how Valparaiso University’s occupational therapy program is making a difference for health care in the region and the nation click here