As we go through life, our needs change in what we seek in a job, a home, clothing, and yes, even the cars we drive.
When we get our first driver’s license, our parents usually try to force us into something practical. When we land our first job out of school, we might go for something a bit flashier. When “you” becomes “us”, we often turn to safety and space for packing ourselves, our kids, and all their gear into one vehicle, and when we enter our senior years, those needs often change again.
Among adults of the driving age, seniors often require more assistance when it comes to operating a motor vehicle safely. Chronic problems with our legs, knees, feet, or other joints can make prolonged use of the legs on brake, clutch, and accelerator pedals into a painful burden, while weakened strength in the arms and upper body can make steering more of a chore, particularly in cars without power steering.
Vision often decreases as we grow older, as does our reaction time, which can be especially critical when driving, as a slower reaction between what the eyes see, what the mind processes, and how the arms and legs react can be the difference between a safe drive and a tragic accident.
Modern vehicles are designed more and more to help us ease the burden that lots of driving can put on us, and this is good news for senior citizens who want to remain behind the wheel for as long as possible. Things like navigation systems that can give us directions to our destination with a series of voice commands are now commonplace, as are buttons built into the car’s dashboard that allow us to connect to a live operator if we run into some sort of mechanical trouble, or simply need help locating a business or other type of service in our area.
With so many Baby Boomers on the cusp of retirement, the number of cars being bought by senior citizens is on the rise, and with it the desire of automakers to make cars suited for seniors’ changing needs.
There are several online resources that devote their research solely to testing new cars with seniors in mind. If you’re over 60 and looking to purchase a new car, here are a few makes and models that you might look a bit more closely at, as they are built with the needs of seniors specifically in mind.
Acura RDX SUV
Many SUVs might seem like behemoths to drive, but this Acura is a nice blend of car and minivan that gets good fuel economy – 20 miles per gallon in the city, 29 on the highway. It features larger dashboard, audio, and climate controls to make locating and grasping buttons and knobs easier, as well as extendable sun visors. The RDX also improves your ability to see the entire 360-degrees around the car with a backup camera and large, wide-angle power mirrors that are both auto-dimming and low-glare for adverse light conditions. Perhaps it’s most impressive features though, are how easy it can be to get going in a hurry, especially in inclement weather. The vehicle features keyless entry and ignition as well as an automatic tailgate closer, meaning no more reaching up to try and grasp the back hatch in a rainstorm after you’ve put up your groceries.
Ford Taurus Sedan
One of the best-selling cars of all time, the current model Taurus features a low door threshold, which means you aren’t having to feel like you’re climbing into an airplane to get to the driver’s seat. There’s not a person among us who hasn’t given an accidental ‘love tap’ to another car, the curb, or a pole while parking, and the Taurus goes a long way to eliminate that by featuring both front and rear parking sensors, as well as an active parallel-park assistance module that will use cameras and lasers to pinpoint exactly how much room you need and when to turn the wheel.
Hyundai Sonata Sedan
If you’re retired in Florida but still want to see more of the Sunshine State, road trips are the way to go, especially with the craziness of lines and security that airports are enduring these days. The standard package Sonata gets a fantastic 35 miles per gallon on the highway and 24 in the city, seating five. Although it lacks the high-end navigation system of other vehicles in this article, it also comes in a hybrid model which increases the miles per gallon to 36 in the city and 40 on the highway and does feature the navigation package. For purchasing a hybrid in general, you may be eligible for a tax credit up to $7,500 for doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
Lexus ES 350 Sedan
If you’re looking for luxury, safety, and comfort, it’s hard to beat this Lexus, which features heated, power-adjustable seats with lumbar support that will make long drives a lot more comfortable if you have back, neck, shoulder, or leg issues. The warranty lasts for four years or 50,000 miles, and the instrument panel is high-contrast, making it a lot easier to pick up on the warning lights that sometimes blend into the glare of the daytime. While they are a bit pricier than most sedans, their resale value is excellent.
Aston Gardens At Sun City Center is a premier senior living community in Sun City Center, Florida. Our state-of-the-art independent living community provides residents with gourmet dining, social events, senior fitness classes, and more. Learn more about our senior living options by contacting us online or giving us a call at 813.642.0860 today!