With an estimated one new case of dementia every six minutes in Australia, more information and resources are needed to help people driving with dementia and their families, according to the National Roads & Motorists’ Association and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW.
The NRMA and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW have launched a new, free guide, Staying on the Move with Dementia, to help people with dementia to understand the impact the condition has on driving and help prepare them for life without a driver’s licence.
The guide also provides advice to the families of people with dementia so that they are better able to provide a support role. The free guide is available on the NRMA community hub www.livingwellnavigator.com.au and on Alzheimer’s Australia’s website here.
Dementia is one of the conditions that drivers are required by law to report to the Roads & Maritime Services. While having dementia doesn’t automatically mean a person can no longer drive, it will require them to get a medical assessment and possibly undertake a practical driving test.
Staying on the Move with Dementia provides a raft of helpful measures around driving with dementia and alternatives for people when they can no longer drive. These include:
NRMA President Kyle Loades said with around one in 10 people over 65 and three in 10 over 85 living with dementia the nation needed to do more to prepare itself for the impact dementia would have on drivers and their families.
“More and more Australians are diagnosed with dementia every day and some are as young as 30,” Mr Loades said. “It’s critical that these people and their loved ones have all the information they need to make the right decisions around independent mobility and safety.
“As a nation we need to do more to help people prepare for the impact dementia will have on their mobility and invest in more alternative transport options so that a person’s quality of life isn’t impacted when they can no longer drive.
“That’s why the NRMA and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW have joined forces today to release Staying on the Move with Dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins said the issue of driving once there has been a diagnosis of dementia is a highly complex one and is often one that is fraught and emotional for everyone involved.
“Our members time and again tell us that this can be such a difficult and highly emotional issue,” Mr Watkins said.
“We need to ensure the person with dementia is supported to remain independent and to keep driving for as long as it is safe to do so. And then we must make sure there is appropriate support and information available to the person and their family and carers to make what can be a really difficult transition from driver to non-driver as smooth as possible.
“Staying on the Move with Dementia is an important tool to arm people with the information they need during what can be a difficult time.
“With the number of people living with dementia in Australia expected to soar from an estimated 332,000 people this year to more than half a million by 2030, resources like Staying on the Move with Dementia are so important to ensure people are informed of and understand their rights and responsibilities and, importantly, are aware of alternative solutions to help retain their independence and mobility.”