CarFit Trainings and Events Benefit Older Adults

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Safe car tips for seniors

CarFit is a community-based education program that was created in collaboration with AAA (American Automobile Association), AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Its focus is to help seniors better use the safety features of their cars. In early June, a CarFit technician training course was held at SALMON Adult Day Health at Northbridge, led by Beaumont at Northbridge’s Director of Rehabilitation Services Diane Tonelli. Participants are volunteers, and the training course is offered free.

“Seniors are more likely to be seriously injured in low-impact collisions. A CarFit check-up process is meant to help seniors use the safety features in their cars to both prevent the likelihood of low-impact collisions and to decrease the injuries in a collision,” says Tonelli.

The training involved a background presentation, a review of the entire CarFit process and an outdoor “lab” at a car, demonstrating the process in the actual driver and vehicle setting. Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant at Beaumont at Northbridge Michelle Gemme, SALMON VNA & Hospice Rehabilitation Manager Suzanne Lukovics and Executive Director at Northbridge Mike Quirk completed the first part of the training under the direction of Tonelli and Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant at Northbridge Public Schools Julie Gonynor. Tonelli and Gonynor were previously trained as certified Event Coordinators at a CarFit conference in Nashville, TN.

That training was the first of the two-part process to complete the “technician” role; participants are required to put the training into action at a CarFit event under Event Coordinators’ guidance as part two.

“The training went beautifully,” states Diane. “Our goal is to continue to reach out to local communities, training volunteers and holding events to enhance driving safety in older adults. CarFit is new to Central Massachusetts; we’re excited to be part of this important program that can benefit so many.”

Tonelli held a CarFit event July 21 and a second training session for volunteers August 11. Another CarFit event will be held October 3, 2105, at Northbridge High School in Northbridge for communitywide participation. Contact Certified CarFit Event Coordinator Diane Tonelli at 774-253-0898 for more information.