This paper reviews the available literature on community mobility and dementia. The document provides a starting point for addressing the policy, program and research needs implicit in finding solutions for meeting the community mobility needs of a population for whom driving is no longer safe.
The focus of concern surrounding transportation for those with dementia has until recently been on driving cessation. However, while it is important to be aware of issues related to driver screening and assessment, equal attention should be devoted to cessation counseling and helping the driver move to the passenger seat. Currently, alternative modes of transportation are not very “elder friendly,” let alone “dementia friendly.”
Concern is warranted as best illustrated by demographic data. By the year 2030, 70 million Americans will be 65 or older (AARP, 2004). Approximately 80 percent of this population will likely be driving themselves. Current estimates suggest that, 2 percent of the population 65 to 74, 19 percent of the population 75 to 84, and 47 percent of the population 85 and older are likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or a related disorder (Alzheimer's Association, 2005). By the year 2050, the number of Americans with AD could range from 11.3 million to 16 million (Alzheimer's Association, 2005). This significant portion of the projected aging population will eventually have its community mobility affected by the disease progression.