National Volunteer Month with AOTA
Are you looking for a way to give back to your community? Are you passionate about road safety? Do you want to help older road users? Then CarFit may be the right fit for you.
April is National Volunteer Month, and ChORUS talked with Elin Schold Davis, an occupational therapist working at the American Occupational Therapists Association (AOTA) about CarFit, a program designed to help older drivers, but also every driver, “fit” their car. CarFit uses volunteers to help drivers learn the safety features of their vehicles. CarFit has both virtual and in-person options for the driver.
“CarFit’s trained volunteers take drivers through a 12-point checklist while seated in their vehicle. The conversation offers education on ‘how’ safety features work and what adjustments are required to obtain the optimal benefit,” says Schold Davis.
To become a CarFit volunteer, go to www.Car-Fit.org. “The training as a volunteer prepares you to better understand all the safety features and the options you have for obtaining the safest fit. And it allows you an opportunity to meet neighbors and learn more about the programs in your area through participation in this community event,” says Schold Davis.
Before becoming a CarFit volunteer, look at the list of vehicle safety features on the ChORUS website. These vehicle safety features may be available in a newer vehicle model and are an excellent first step for vehicle safety. However, there are vehicle safety features in every vehicle. At CarFit fittings, drivers learn what their safety features are and how those features are designed to reduce injury in the event of a crash.
“Using a seatbelt correctly is the number one safety feature, yet many are unaware of the need to adjust it to fit their body type and position in the car. Sitting too close or putting an uncomfortable shoulder strap behind one’s back reduces, if not eliminates, the protective functions of that seatbelt,” says Schold Davis.
CarFit aims to educate drivers on how to increase safety.
“For some, this education may extend to offering suggestions for possible aftermarket devices that may help make their cars ‘fit’ better for comfort and safety,” says Schold Davis. “An occupational therapy practitioner is also on hand to provide information and offer additional education to support drivers on how to maintain and strengthen driving health.”
You can make a difference by volunteering at CarFit this Volunteer Month or any time of year. There are several great opportunities for people who want to get involved in their communities and help their neighbors.
“CarFit is a community volunteer event and depends on volunteers to make it work! Go to www.Car-Fit.org and learn more. The training as a volunteer prepares you to better understand all the safety features and the options you have for obtaining the safest fit,” says Schold Davis, “and it allows you an opportunity to meet neighbors and learn more about the programs in your area through participation in this community event.”
CarFit is just one of several ways you can volunteer. Other volunteer opportunities include offering to drive an older driver's loved one or neighbor, or volunteering for an organization that helps older adults reduce driving, such as Meals on Wheels. Find community organizations to volunteer at using the My State Resources on the ChORUS website.