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Driving Independence: How physical rehabilitation keeps TBIsurvivors on the road

  • Broadcast in Health
Amy Zellmer

Amy Zellmer


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Join host Amy Zellmer as she chats with Penny Eissenberg of Health South.

While driving may be second nature to most, it is a privilege that requires sharp physical, visual and mental skills. As we age, tasks that once seemed simple can require increased focus, practice and dexterity.

Medical conditions that may affect driving skills include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury or arthritis. These conditions may affect vision, memory, attention and the ability to problem solve and act quickly, which are both necessary skills to remain safe on the road.

With physical rehabilitation, older drivers, or those who have suffered an injury, can practice the movements and skills needed to travel safely, such as getting in and out of the car or reacting to unexpected hazards on the road.

Since maintaining mobility is one of the most important aspects of preserving independence, older drivers can greatly benefit from participating in these activities.

During the week of December 5-9, 2016, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) will recognize Older Driver Safety Awareness Week to promote the understanding that mobility and transportation are crucial to keeping older adults active in their communities.

Penny Eissenberg is the director of therapy operations at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Virginia and has special interest and expertise in driver rehabilitation. Penny personally directs all aspects of the driver rehabilitation program including evaluation of cognition, vision, visual-perceptual skills and physical abilities. Penny also performs on-road assessments of driver competency, trains in the use of adaptive equipment and develops driving re-entry plans.