Kurt Hoffman’s life has been anything but routine since 2010, when he had a stroke.
“It affected my right side quite dramatically,” said
Hoffman. He completed four weeks of inpatient rehabilitation followed by two
years of outpatient rehabilitation. Fortunately, he was able to resume work
within a year of his stroke. “It’s been a continuing process of building
strength and flexibility,” he said.
Then came more changes – all of which have been decidedly
more positive than having a stroke. First he retired. Then he got married. And
then he and his new husband moved “up north” to Outing, Minnesota.
In anticipation of the move, Hoffman wanted to be better
prepared for his new lifestyle. Because of continued weakness on his right
side, he had been unable to drive since his stroke. “But I knew I would want to
be more independent when we moved,” he explained. Hoffman hoped to find a
part-time job after retirement, and he was also concerned because the nearest
doctor is 25 miles away.
His physical therapist referred him to Courage Kenny
Rehabilitation Institute’s Driver Assessment and Training service. Hoffman was
assessed for vision, reaction time, memory and problem solving, upper and lower
body strength and coordination, and cognitive processing skills.
Following this assessment, Hoffman progressed to
behind-the-wheel training. Recommendations were made for adaptive equipment,
including a modified gas pedal allowing him to use his left foot for
acceleration. He also uses a knob on the steering wheel to make turning corners
a bit easier.
Hoffman’s driving instructor was very thorough, helping him
practice all the skills he would need to pass the Minnesota driver’s test. He
even mastered parallel parking, something he had struggled with even before his
stroke. “For the first time in 45 years, I understand the concept of parallel
parking,” he explained.
Hoffman passed the behind-the-wheel driver’s test on his first
try, despite it being a snowy, slippery day.
Now Hoffman has settled into his new home and his new life.
Being able to drive means he can get to communities in his area as needed for
his new part-time job as an elections judge, and it allows him to maintain his
independence. “This has made a huge
difference in my life,” he said.