Crossroads: Navigating Driving and Dementia

Older woman with sun glasses driving.

In honour of Canada Road Safety Week, the latest Community of Innovation podcast episode looks at driving and dementia. In this episode, hosts Drs. Allison Sekuler and Rosanne Aleong chat with Mary Beth Wighton, Dr. Gary Naglie, and Dr. Mark Rapoport about the impact of dementia on driving ability, safety, and the emotional journey of older adults losing their licenses. Our guests will also look at resources like the Driving and Dementia Roadmap, which can support individuals living with dementia, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

Key Highlights

Dr. Allison Sekuler: “One of our guests, Mary Beth Wighton (who’s an international dementia advocate), pointed out that ‘if you’ve met one person with dementia, you’ve met one person with dementia’ – in other words, every person has a different journey. Every person needs to be treated in an individual way. That personalized approach to dealing with, in this particular case, driving and dementia is just so critical.”

Dr. Rosanne Aleong: “I loved our guests having a conversation about not only the technical aspects of driving, not just about transportation, but also that there’s an entire emotional journey associated with driving. They talk about the fact that it relates to identity; it relates to confidence; it relates to their own sense of personhood. So, when you have this conversation, it’s not only getting from point A to point B. It is so much more all-encompassing in a person’s life. I really encourage our audience to think more holistically about this topic.”

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Learn more about our guests

Mary Beth Wighton is an international dementia advocate and author who has greatly impacted Canadian government policies on dementia and human rights. After being diagnosed with probable behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia at the age of 45, she had her driver’s license revoked immediately. Mary Beth has been involved in a multitude of projects, presentations, and organizations, including serving as a witness for the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for its study on dementia in Canadian society. She was instrumental in helping design the first Canadian National Dementia Conference and was a member of the first Canadian Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia. She is currently a Behavioural Supports Ontario Provincial Lived Experience Facilitator and a past co-chair and co-founder of Dementia Advocacy Canada.

Dr. Gary Naglie is a Professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is a geriatrician and the Vice President of Medical Services and Chief of Staff, and Chief of the Department of Medicine at Baycrest. He is a Scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute. His research focuses on driving issues in older adults with cognitive impairment and dementia. Dr. Naglie is the Co-Lead with Dr. Mark Rapoport of the Driving and Dementia Research Team for the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.

Dr. Mark Rapoport is a Professor and the residency program director in the geriatric psychiatry division of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, past-president of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP, 2012-2016), and acting head of Geriatric Psychiatry for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  He created two widely recognized annual national review courses in geriatric psychiatry, and his main area of research focuses on motor vehicle collisions associated with neurological and psychiatric illness in older adults. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Rapoport is the Co-Lead with Dr. Gary Naglie of the Driving and Dementia Research Team for the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.

About the Podcast

CABHI’s Community of Innovation podcast is where topics on ingenuity, aging and brain health collide. Join us as we talk to experts in healthcare, research, technology, and business, as well as older adults and their caregivers, about the innovative practices and healthtech solutions helping us all lead longer, healthier lives.

Hosted by Dr. Allison Sekuler (President and Chief Scientist at CABHI) and Dr. Rosanne Aleong (Director of Research, Innovation, and Translation at CABHI).

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