I am writing this in the hope that all Seniors will learn that ageism is alive and well. I was sent to the Motor Vehicle Department, by my GP, for a Medical Assessment for no other reason than a stiff neck and being old. It has had a huge impact on my well-being. I tried for several months to get this referral overturned but even with my Physiotherapist’s report in hand, I was unable to accomplish anything.
Before I even had the Assessment, they suspended my license, so I was unable to drive for months. The Assessment is very intrusive. For a simple neck problem I had to have a vision test with a report from my Optometrist, a two-hour physical evaluation for my range of motion, joint movement, strength, sensation, balance, reaction time and mobility, as well as cognitive and visual assessment relating to attention, concentration, memory and divided attention. This was followed by an on-road driving test with an instructor, a physiotherapist as well as an intern physiotherapist, in the car. I had to spend nearly an hour driving through the city and on the freeway.
This referral started a bewildering list of tests that were completely unrelated to my neck, and for all this, I had to pay them over $670.00. This would not have happened to a 25 year old person with a stiff neck. I know I, and many Seniors, cannot afford to hand over that amount of money for something that was not of our making. Needless to say, I’m no longer seeing the Doctor that made this disastrous referral with no thought to my well-being. I finally received a letter informing me that I had passed the Assessment in the top 90% and that my License Renewal Application was being sent. After receiving it, I was told to phone for an appointment for another Education session, for which I must wait another two months and pay more money. For people on a pension, the cost of this Assessment can cause great financial strain. The last ten months have caused me great stress and has had a huge impact on my quality and enjoyment of life.