The decision to give up driving is a difficult one for dementia sufferers – and their families or carers – to make.
The issue of driving retirement is sensitive and should be addressed as early as possible for individuals living with dementia. Forced driving retirement can lead to depression and low self-esteem, and family disputes are not uncommon.
A Dementia and Driving Decision Aid (DDDA) that gives families and medical practitioners guidance on how to initiate conversations about driving with someone who has dementia, has now been translated into Italian, Greek and Vietnamese. A Mandarin version will also be available soon.
The new community language versions were launched at a public Dementia and Driving Lecture presented by aged-care specialist Associate Professor Victoria Traynor from the University of Wollongong (UOW) School of Nursing, on Monday 3 July.
Professor Traynor said the response to the English language version of the aid had been very positive, and that having the community language versions would make it easier for many people to initiate that conversation about driving.
“There’s a large, older community who still speak the language from the country where they were born. And when people get old and unwell their English language skills can regress,” Professor Traynor said.
“Sometimes the person finds it easier to speak in their original language because the effects of dementia make it a challenge to speak in English, even though they may have been speaking English for a number of years.
“So if the resource is in the language of the person’s original country it makes it easier for the family members to talk about the issue. If it was in English the family members might need to translate it.”
The lecture aimed to increase participants’ knowledge and understanding of approaches to dementia and driving retirement. Participants learned how to support informed decisions by individuals with early dementia diagnosis, in partnership with their GPs, other practitioners, family members and carers.
The DDDA was developed by UOW researchers from a variety of specialist knowledge areas including medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, public health, psychology and road safety, under the auspices of UOW’s strategic interdisciplinary research program, Global Challenges.
It is available for free from the web, or hard copy booklets are available for purchase.
(Source: University of Wollongong)