Sarasota Memorial Hospital Program Helps Seniors, Others, Gauge Driving Ability

Independence is one of the things that seniors value the most. That’s why asking seniors to stop driving because they could be a hazard to themselves or others is particularly hard. In the Sarasota/Bradenton area, we have an additional local resource that can take the pressure off caregivers. 

The Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Driver Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program is designed to assess and improve driver safety. It’s operated by occupational and physical therapists who are certified in driver evaluation and rehabilitation. 

The program includes the following, according to its website:

  • Measurement of vision, thinking, visual perceptual, physical skills, and reaction time
  • Exercises behind the wheel in a customized driving program car; it starts in a parking lot and then advances to more complex tasks. “Behind-the-wheel assessments are performed in your community where the area is familiar,” according to the website.

The program requires a referral from a physician. Results of the assessment are sent to the referring physician for follow-up. Sometimes, referrals for further services are made as well. Program participants must be able to get into and out of a vehicle independently. 

The program also offers training and re-education that includes in-vehicle education and practice, including practice in challenging situations, correcting unsafe habits, and use of adaptive equipment to facilitate safer driving habits (if needed). 

“The Driver Evaluation and Rehabilitation program is about assessing and training — not about forcing anyone to retire from driving,” according to the program website. “If you think you could benefit from an evaluation or driver rehab (if needed), ask your primary care physician to refer you for a driver evaluation.”

Although many of the program’s clients are seniors, there also are younger drivers looking to drive again after a severe injury or debilitating illness, according to a July 2019 article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 

The cost for the program, $100 an hour, is not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, according to the Herald-Tribune article.

To find out more about the Sarasota Memorial Driver Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program, call 941-917-2183, or visit its website.

Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Living Independently

At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at

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