Earlier in the year, Car Free Me was featured on Channel 9 News. This blog is shared from Car Free Me’s website – for information click here.
The reporters talked to the team about how to prepare for a car free life. Driving cessation is a big step for most people. But it doesn’t mean that it takes away your freedom and independence. In this two minute segment, Channel 9 introduces the Car Free Me program and how it can help senior drivers in Australia.
Watch the video: Older drivers in Queensland preparing for a car-free
Car Free Me is for people who are still driving and are considering stopping, and for those who have already stopped driving. It is an interactive and supportive program that runs for 6 weeks. Every week, a group of people gets together with their Car Free Me accredited coach. During each workshop we will give you with the building blocks to becoming car free.
“The important thing is that people take that time to plan for it, to think about stopping driving”, said Dr Theresa Scott, academic at The University of Queensland and member of the Car Free Me research team.
“We are here to support you in your decision and preparation for a car free life. We help you evaluate the options that suit your lifestyle so you can continue to do what you love, without needing a car.”
The participants so far have been very pleased with the program. A Brisbane workshop participant wrote: “I have learned about finding alternative means of transport, planning with more wisdom, the search for best retirement options. The information supplied, support and encouragement, professionalism of the program have all been very useful”.
Recommended reading: How does Car Free Me work?
Did you know that elderly drivers are the safest drivers? Age is not a factor determining whether or not one should stop driving. However when you start facing new health challenges (like mobility issues and vision impairment), this is when you need to start thinking about alternatives.
At 79, Ross McKinnon still drives everyday and has a clean bill of health. But he told Channel 9 that “it’s important to recognise that everybody will have to make that change.” Safe mobility is essential to healthy ageing.
“Don’t leave it to the last minute to start preparing for your car free life.”
Everyone should be able to have access to the help they need. Thanks to telehealth trials, the Car Free Me program will be trialled outside of urban, metropolitan areas.
What is telehealth? The Department of Health defines it as “the use of telecommunication technology for the purpose of providing health education over a distance”. That is, you will be able to chat and see your Car Free Me coach using video-conferencing. Easy and effective.
Please contact me at Driving Well Occupational Therapy if you have concerns about an elderly client’s / patient’s / loved one’s driving.
#olderdrivers #occupationaltherapy #practicaldrivingassessment #drivingcessation
I recently sat down with my Mum (Barbara) the other day, and had a chat about her experiences in supporting her mother (my dearly missed, late Nanny) in retiring from driving.
Thanks for sharing your insights Mum. What initially concerned you about Nanny’s driving?
She had been using a wheelie walker because of her bad hip and difficulty getting out of the car – I was concerned about her reflexes to brake quickly. She always passed the eye test – but there didn’t seem to be any other regulations at the time. I wasn’t aware of any assessment programs at the time.
How did you feel about this challenge
For me – it was hard, but it was the only way. She was fiercely independent and was always the one helping others, not the one being taken care of.
How did you approach the conversation with her – that it might be time for her to give up driving?
I told her, you’ve had a perfect driving record – “you’ve only ever had one accident 50 years ago which wasn’t your fault and you don’t want to be the old lady on the news who has crashed into a childcare centre.” At that time a number of elderly drivers were involved in some serious accidents as reported in the media. Mum understood the implications.
What strategies did you use to encourage her to stop driving?
Various family members would borrow her car for a few weeks at a time, to get used to not having a car around.
Did you do anything else to support her transition to non-driving?
I would take her shopping, then we had a family conference to try to organise rotations of transport assistance. One advantage for family members driving her places and taking her shopping was the social aspect, having coffees or lunch and chats, just getting out and seeing the world. She also had access to transport assistance through DVA. She was concerned about the costs of taxis, but I pointed out if she sold the car she would have heaps of money for taxis.
And what was the outcome?
She said she had liked having the car there “just in case” – she actually stopped driving about a year prior to selling the car. It took time, but she got used to not having the car around. In the end she was convinced, and her grandson (a mechanic) did up the car and sold it for her.
Please contact me at Driving Well Occupational Therapy if you have concerns about a client’s / patient’s / loved one’s driving.
#practicaldrivingassessment #driving #occupationaltherapy #drivingcessation #olderdrivers #disability #olderdriver
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