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Free online resource empowers older adults to make difficult decisions about driving and dementia

October 19, 2022

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Toronto, ON – October 19, 2022 – The Driving and Dementia Roadmap, a first-of-its-kind, free, online resource launched across Canada to empower older adults living with dementia to make informed decisions about when to stop driving.

“At some point of disease progression, individuals living with dementia need to consider whether or not it is safe for them to continue driving. However, not being able to drive can result in a loss of independence for many older adults, making the decision to stop driving a difficult one. With the Alzheimer Society of Canada predicting that nearly one million Canadians will be living with dementia by the year 2030, more individuals and their families will soon be facing this challenge and need support,” says Dr. Howard Chertkow, Scientific Director of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) and Director of the Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness at Baycrest.

Researchers from Baycrest, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the CCNA have developed the Driving and Dementia Roadmap to address this challenge. Launched among leading experts in dementia during a recent CCNA national conference, this unique resource brings together information, videos, worksheets and other materials to help navigate the decision in a way that honours the individual while involving their family or close community.

"This is a one-of-a-kind Canadian resource that provides strategies to help individuals manage the emotional and practical aspects of the decision to stop driving,” says Dr. Mark Rapoport, geriatric psychiatrist, researcher and acting head of Geriatric Psychiatry at Sunnybrook. “The website addresses common concerns about a loss of independence or identity and can also help individuals make a plan to continue with their daily activities, even if they’re not driving anymore.”

Information in the Driving and Dementia Roadmap is tailored to three groups: older adults diagnosed with dementia, caregivers of people with dementia, and healthcare professionals. The Roadmap is available at drivinganddementia.ca and includes resources from every province and territory.

“Among many other topics, the Driving and Dementia Roadmap helps users understand how dementia can impact driving; identify when it becomes unsafe for individuals living with dementia to drive; and adjust to life without driving once the decision has been made,” says Dr. Gary Naglie, geriatrician, researcher and Vice-President, Medical Services & Chief of Staff at Baycrest.

The DDR does not incorporate information from individuals and provide them with a recommendation to continue or stop driving. The DDR is for educational and informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical guidance, diagnosis, treatment or care. For personal advice, patients and families are strongly encouraged to reach out to a qualified healthcare provider.

The Driving and Dementia Roadmap was developed by CCNA’s Team 16, led by Drs. Naglie and Rapoport with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and in partnership with the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Team 16 is a Canada-wide research team comprised of academics and clinicians focused on creating interventions and developing knowledge to support people with dementia through the driving cessation process. Additional funding and developmental support came from the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) and the Ontario Ministry of Health Academic Health Sciences Centres Alternative Funding Plan Innovation Fund.

Media contacts:

Orsolya Soos
Manager, Marketing and Media, Baycrest
OSoos@baycrest.org

Jennifer Palisoc
Communications Advisor
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
jennifer.palisoc@sunnybrook.ca

About Baycrest
Baycrest is a global leader in aging and brain health with a vision of a world where, with your help, we can all Fear No AgeTM. Baycrest provides everyone the tools they need to make their later years the best years of their lives. Through our work in research, innovation, care and education, we are working to defeat dementia and create a world where every older adult enjoys a life of purpose, inspiration and fulfilment.

Baycrest is a global leader in research, innovation, education and care for older adults, with a special focus on brain health and aging. Baycrest is home to a robust research and innovation network, including one of the world’s top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience, the Rotman Research Institute; the scientific headquarters of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, Canada’s largest national dementia research initiative; and the Baycrest-powered Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, a solution accelerator focused on driving innovation in the aging and brain health sector. For more information, visit baycrest.org.

About Sunnybrook
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is inventing the future of health care for the 1.3 million patients the hospital cares for each year through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff and volunteers. An internationally recognized leader in research and education and a full affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada’s premier academic health sciences centres. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for high-risk pregnancies, critically-ill newborns and adults, offering specialized rehabilitation and treating and preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological and psychiatric disorders, orthopaedic and arthritic conditions and traumatic injuries. The Hospital also has a unique and national leading program for the care of Canada’s war veterans. Learn more at sunnybrook.ca

About the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA)
CCNA is a network of 340+ clinicians and researchers throughout Canada working together to accelerate progress in research on age-related neurodegenerative diseases. CCNA provides the infrastructure and support that facilitates collaboration amongst Canada’s top dementia researchers and clinicians. CCNA is the premier hub for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research in Canada, and a global leader in research on all aspects of neurodegenerative diseases from prevention to treatment to improving the quality of life of those living with the disease Learn more at ccna-ccnv.ca

About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system. The Driving and Dementia Roadmap was supported by the CIHR.