J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2022 Sep 23:gbac151. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbac151. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: We adapted the CarFreeMe™-Dementia program created by The University of Queensland for drivers in the United States. CarFreeMe™-Dementia aims to assist drivers living with dementia and their care partners as they plan for or adjust to driving retirement. This semi-structured program focuses on driving retirement education and support. Topics include how dementia affects driving, lifestyle planning, stress management, and alternative transportation options. This study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and utility of the CarFreeMe™-Dementia intervention.
METHODS: This pilot phase of the study included 16 care partners and 11 drivers with memory loss who were preparing for or adjusting to driving retirement. Participants completed 4-8 CarFreeMe™-Dementia intervention telehealth sessions. Online surveys (baseline, 1- and 3-month) and post-intervention semi-structured interviews informed evaluation of the intervention program using a mixed methods approach.
RESULTS: This study established initial support for CarFreeMe™-Dementia in the United States. Participants indicated the program facilitated dialogue around driving retirement and provided guidance on community engagement without driving. Respondents appreciated the program’s emphasis on overall well-being, promoted through lifestyle planning and stress management. They also reported the program offered practical preparation for transitioning to driving retirement.
DISCUSSION: The CarFreeMe™-Dementia intervention, tailored to an American audience, appears to be a feasible, acceptable, and useful support program for drivers with memory loss (and/or their care partners) who are preparing for or adjusting to driving retirement. Further investigations of the efficacy of the CarFreeMe™-Dementia intervention in the United States, as well as other countries and cultural contexts, are warranted.
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