The Driving Dilemma
Being able to drive is so often a part of our identity and self-esteem, allowing us independence and freedom to undertake activities and participate in the community. The loss of the ability to drive can be one of the most challenging issues to face as we get older.
Knowing the right time to stop driving can be difficult. I was grateful that as my mother declined cognitively in her 80’s she made her own decision early on to stop driving. This certainly saved the family a lot of angst. But we are not always the best judge for ourselves, and it is not uncommon for family members to be anxious about whether mum or dad should still be driving.
The University of Queensland is conducting a study on ways to best support people with dementia adjust to life without driving. The researchers are currently recruiting volunteers to participate in the study which includes the opportunity to take part in the CarFreeMe program for free. This program offers information and support to people transitioning to life without driving. The study is open to people with dementia who are still driving, or have recently retired from driving. Carers can also participate.
Research shows us that social participation and engagement is important as we get older, and particularly important for our cognitive health and wellbeing. In this regard, it is important to explore and establish ways to continue engaging in the community post driving.
Shelby Carruth is coordinating the study in Perth, and for information on how to participate in the program, Shelby can be contacted on tel 0410043265, or email email@example.com