BrainMatters - Spring 2023

Baycrest Health Sciences & Baycrest Foundation Publications

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14 • BrainMatters • Spring/Summer 2023 DRIVING AND DEMENTIA: How do you know when it's time to stop? The quintessential rite of passage that is obtaining a driver's license profoundly embodies a sense of freedom. The independence that driving provides offers lifelong opportunities to live responsibly and on one's own terms. For many, driving begins in one's teenage years and ceases some time in their older years. But how do you know when it's time to stop driving? A change in health status can mark the time to reconsider lifestyle habits, including driving. A decline in one's cognitive health should be an integral part of this evaluation. In Canada, approximately 597,000 people are living with dementia, and this is expected to rise to 955,900 by 2030, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Compared with healthy control subjects, people with mild dementia have a marked deterioration in their driving skills and double the risk of crashing, according to Dr. Mark Rapoport, a geriatric psychiatrist and Acting Head of Geriatric Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. However, the decision to stop driving after a diagnosis of dementia is a complicated, difficult and emotional one. To address this challenge, Dr. Gary Naglie, Vice- President of Medical Services and Chief of Staff at Baycrest, and Dr. Rapoport, along with a team of researchers through the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), have developed the Driving and Dementia Roadmap ( This unique online 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. 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.

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