CarFreeMe for people with dementia

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Stopping driving has been highlighted as one of the most challenging issues for people living with dementia, their families and health professionals to manage. It can represent a huge change in people’s lives and, if not supported, can lead to isolation, reduced participation, depression and conflict for people living with dementia and their family members.

Particular challenges may include not knowing when is the right time to stop driving, unlicensed driving, difficulties in learning to use alternative forms of transport and worries about how to keep people engaged in valued activities without driving.

Research conducted by the CarFreeMe team indicate the need for a flexible, individualised program that included the retiring driver and their families. The program modules range from learning about the impact of dementia on driving, learning strategies for coping with change and loss, and developing an individualised plan for staying engaged in valued activities.

Low contact delivery trials are currently underway in South East Queensland, Townsville, New South Wales, ACT, Perth, and Western Australia that involve retired and retiring drivers with dementia and their families. The translation and feasibility of telehealth delivery of CarFreeMe for people with dementia will also be explored.

Please contact Dr Theresa Scott for more information.

CarFreeMe would like to acknowledge the funding provided by:

  • NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship scheme
  • NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Initiative
  • The University of Queensland’s HaBS-M+BS Research Collaboration Seeding Grants
Some academic publications

Scott, T.L., Liddle, J., Sidhu, R., Mitchell, G.K., Beattie, E., Gustafsson, L., & Pachana, N.A. (2020). Adaptation of the CarFreeMe driver retirement intervention to provide driving cessation support to older people living with dementia. Brain Impairment, 21 (3), 1-12. doi: 10.1017/brimp.2020.16

Scott, T.L., Liddle, J., Mitchell, G.K., Beattie, E., & Pachana, N.A. (2019). Implementation and evaluation of a driving cessation intervention to improve community mobility and wellbeing outcomes for people living with dementia: study protocol of the ‘CarFreeMe’ for people with dementia program. BMC Geriatrics, 19 (1) 66, 66. doi: 10/1186/s12877-019-1074-6.

Scott, T.L., Liddle, J., Pachana, N.A., Beattie, E., & Mitchell, G.K. (2019). Managing the transition to non-driving in patients with dementia in primary care settings: facilitators and barriers reported by primary care physicians. International Psychogeriatrics. DOI:

Scott, T., Liddle, J., Mitchell, G., Beattie, E., & Pachana, N. (2019). Implementation and evaluation of a driving cessation intervention to improve community mobility and wellbeing outcomes for people living with dementia: study protocol of the ‘CarFreeMe’ for people with dementia program. BMC Geriatrics. DOI:

Liddle, J., Bennett, S., Allen, S., Lie, D. C., Standen, B., & Pachana, N. A. (2013). The stages of driving cessation for people with dementia: needs and challenges. International Psychogeriatrics, 25(12), 2033-2046.

Liddle, J., Tan, A., Liang, P., Bennett, S., Allen, S., Lie, D. C., & Pachana, N. A. (2016). “The biggest problem we’ve ever had to face”: how families manage driving cessation with people with dementia. International Psychogeriatrics, 28(01), 109-122.

Meet our research team

Dr. Theresa Scott

Read her complete profile

Dr Theresa Scott is a Psychologist whose research focuses on older adults and Geropsychology. Theresa’s NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship focuses on the complex issues around dementia and driving. The aim of this research program is to translate a comprehensive support- and education-based driving cessation intervention for people with dementia and their carers, into clinical practice. Contact Theresa to collaborate.

Dr. Jacki Liddle

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Dr Jacki Liddle is a research fellow and occupational therapist with the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. She focuses her research on community participation, life transitions, community mobility, and technology.  She works with older adults, people living with dementia, people with neurological conditions and family carers. Researching the experiences related to retirement from driving for older adults led to the development of the UQDRIVE program, now known as CarFreeMe.

Prof. Nancy Pachana

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Dr Nancy A. Pachana is a clinical geropsychologist and professor in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland, and is co-director of the UQ Ageing Mind Initiative, providing a focal point for clinical, translational ageing-related research at UQ. She has an international reputation in the area of geriatric mental health, particularly late-life anxiety and driving in later life. Nancy was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2014.

Prof. Geoffrey Mitchell

Now in full time clinical practice

Geoffrey Mitchell is a former Professor of General Practice and Palliative Care, and the former head of the University of Queensland’s MBBS Program at Ipswich. His main research interests are in the role of General Practitioners in palliative care. Most of Professor Mitchell’s impact was in influencing the conduct of palliative care in the community. He also had input into major policy initiatives at local, state and national levels and initiated the International Primary Palliative Care Network.

Prof. Elizabeth Beattie

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Professor Beattie (RN, PhD, FGSA) has an international reputation in psychogeriatric nursing, specialising in dementia-related behavioural symptom aetiology and nonpharmacological intervention development. Professor Beattie has extensive involvement with the aged care and dementia communities via her associations with local, State, national and international care providers and institutions. Her work focuses on establishing research-based clinical change programs.

Would you like to collaborate?
Does your organisation have a research strategy that aligns with CarFreeMe? Are you interested in funding further research? We’d love to collaborate.

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CarFreeMe is supported by UniQuest, the commercialisation company of The University of Queensland