What to look for
When an applicant is walking around the office or approaching the counter, watch to see if they are lightly skimming the wall, furniture, or other objects with a hand. This is called "trailing" and it may mean that the applicant has vision problems.
Also, watch for applicants who have to look down frequently, like they are not sure about what may be in front of them.
A lot of people have arthritis. When arthritis is severe, it may make smooth, natural movement very difficult.
People with Parkinson’s disease may "shuffle" their feet, have stiff tight muscles, or move very slowly to the counter.
In addition to vision issues, if an applicant is holding on to furniture or walls, they may have a problem with balance.
If an applicant is using a walker or a cane, look to see if they are using it correctly: do they look safe walking, appear to understand how to use the walker or cane correctly, or look like they are going to fall?
When it comes to driving, applicants who cannot move their head and neck from side to side may be dangerous. Other problems with moving legs or arms may also cause dangerous situations behind the wheel.
Older adults at risk for falls also may be at risk for a motor vehicle crash. This makes sense since walking also involves intact visual, cognitive and movement abilities.
Some medical conditions that impact thinking or memory, like stroke, show up when an applicant is walking in the license office or approaching the counter.
Try to notice if an applicant drags a leg or foot on one side while walking, or has difficulty getting up from a chair. Also, watch for signs that the applicant is confused, or needs help making it to the counter.
They may be unsure of which line to be in, or may not be able to follow simple directions, such as, “next please.” A special problem with applicants who have thinking or memory problems is that they may not know they have a problem, or may not know that it impacts driving safety.
Pay attention to any signs of confusion, inability to understand directions, repeating statements or stories, or difficulty with “finding the right word” to say.
Progress: 1/3 done with Module 1