Abstract

Background: driving is an increasingly important form of transport for older people. Dementia is common in later life and will eventually lead to driving cessation, which reduces the public health risk of impaired driving but also impairs access to services. The factors associated with driving cessation in dementia are uncertain.

Objective: to examine the demographic, psychometric and personal factors associated with driving cessation in patients attending a memory clinic in a European setting.

Design, subjects and setting: a retrospective study of 430 consecutive patients referred over a 21 month period to the memory clinic at a university teaching hospital.

Methods: the data collected included a questionnaire administered to their carers regarding demographic and personal fac-tors as well as driving practices. All subjects had standardised neuropsychological and functional assessments. Dementia diagnosis was recorded using DSM IV criteria.

Results: driving cessation in this population was associated with poorer cognitive and functional status, older age, and living in the city. Of those studied, 22% continued to drive: 63% of these were driving daily, 71% were driving unaccompanied and 31% reported an accident. There was no difference in the neuropsychological testing between those who reported an accident and those who did not report an accident.

Conclusions: driving cessation was affected not only by psychometric performance but also by demographic and personal factors.

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