The Community Mobility Needs of the Person with Dementia: Specialized Needs of a Vulnerable Population
Individuals with dementia are often unable to use public transportations systems if they are no longer able to drive safely (Rosenbloom, 2003). Those who become lost, easily confused, or cannot reason through complex situations while driving are usually unable to navigate public transportation systems that involve reading maps and schedules and understanding transit routes.
Little is known about what would make it possible for the individual with dementia to use public transportation. Studies to evaluate public transportation use by people with dementia have not yet been done (O’Neill and Dobbs, 2004). According to a case study carried out by Adler and colleagues (2000), transportation for those with dementia must involve as little waiting as possible, as well as hours and routes with few restrictions. Public transportation, however, offers none of these features. Applying the concepts of travel training and mobility management, such as is done for individuals with certain disabilities, might be a useful strategy for people with dementia, particularly those in the early stages of the disease process.