10:35am Saturday 21 October 2017

Help for people who are stopping driving

The study involves researchers from the Schools of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Psychology, and Medicine.

Alzheimer’s Australia estimates 245,400 Australians are currently diagnosed with dementia, and in addition, it affects the lives of a further one million Australians involved in caring for a family member or friend with dementia.

The illness process can affect the ability to drive safely and it is anticipated that all people with a diagnosis of dementia will have to stop driving at some stage.

“We are aware that making the decision to stop driving, adjusting to life without a car, and still staying involved in an active lifestyle can be very challenging for anyone to cope with,” Dr Jacki Liddle, occupational therapist and postdoctoral research fellow with the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said.

“We need to know more about the particular needs for people with dementia and their family members. This would help us to develop resources, review current practice and improve outcomes for retiring drivers with dementia.”

Participants sought for the study are those with early to moderate dementia (and their carers) who have stopped driving or will need to stop, and also health professionals working in the area.

Participants would be involved in an interview about their experiences, concerns and needs related to driving and stopping driving.

To participate or find out more information, please contact Dr Liddle on (mobile) 0422 223 527 (and leave a message) or j.liddle@uq.edu.au or the UQDRIVE team on 3346 7487 or email uqdriveteam@uq.edu.au

This study will build on the body of research completed by the UQDRIVE (University of Queensland Driver Retirement Initiative) team, with involvement from the Schools of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Psychology and Medicine.

Previous research by the team has led to the development of resources to support older people who are stopping driving and training for health professionals detailed on the UQDRIVE website.

The team is currently nearing completion of a randomised controlled trial of UQDRIVE intensive education and support groups for older people (who do not have dementia) who have stopped or are stopping driving.

The University of Queensland study began in 2007 and is funded by a three-year, $340,000 National Health and Medical Research Council grant.

According to UQDRIVE postdoctoral researcher Dr Liddle, preliminary results of the trial were encouraging in terms of helping those retiring from driving to meet their personal goals including accessing public transport, remaining engaged in their communities and not becoming housebound, isolated and/or depressed.

Free participation in the groups is still available for people aged 60 years and over, who do not have memory problems and have stopped driving or are planning to stop.

For more information about participating in the groups, please contact the UQDRIVE team on 3346 7487 or email uqdriveteam@uq.edu.au

Media: Dr Jacki Liddle on mobile 0422 223 527 or Shirley Glaister at UQ Communications on 3365 1931.


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