Tackling decreased independence for Scots living with dementia

The new project will help those with dementia maintain their independence
The new project will help those with dementia maintain their independence

The Scottish Government has estimated that almost 18,000 people will be diagnosed with dementia this year.

As a result, many will be told that they can no longer drive. Loneliness is already an issue for Scotland’s elderly population – 200,000 individuals spend half a week or more with no visits or phone calls from anyone.

This, coupled with a diagnosis of dementia, and being forced to give up driving, can have a massive impact on lifestyle, independence and mobility. This can lead to real issues of isolation.

In a bid to help people maintain their independence once forced to hang up their car keys, public transport expert ESP Group, has launched Onwards, a 16-month project to develop practical solutions to keep those living with dementia both mobile and connected to their community.

Thanks to research by sister project Upstream, ESP already recognises the complexity and emotional challenges of the process of retiring from driving, a transition which is particularly heightened for people affected by dementia. Onwards’ mission is to ensure every person has the means to get out into the community.

Supported by the Life Changes Trust, the project will design and deliver financially sustainable, tangible solutions for Scottish people living with dementia who have had to retire from driving – whether this is a car sharing scheme, adjustments to public transport or a community mobility programme. Crucially, these solutions will be co-designed by people living with dementia, drawing on their own direct experiences.

Beth Garner, project director at ESP Group said: “Giving up driving is a widespread challenge, but surprisingly people rarely talk about it. We tend to worry about losing the ability to drive because we face difficulties of maintaining social connections and usual activities. Confidence can be severely affected and individuals may feel uncomfortable asking others for a lift. Despite these challenges, people living with dementia can live well without a car.

“Onwards will pool resources to provide tools and services to make the transition to hanging up the car keys less painful and traumatic for those living with dementia. Our hope is that this project can make transport and mobility even better than when people were driving, and, the ultimate goal is to create a sustainable scheme that can be rolled out not just in Scotland, but across the rest of the UK.”

Thomas Saveall won the Project Spotlight Volunteer award at the Citizens Advice Scotland conference. He was presented with a silver Quaich by HRH Princess Anne. Picture - Stewart Attwood''''All images � Stewart Attwood Photography 2019.  All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission. No Syndication Permitted.

Taylor Wimpey have confirmed directly with local Councillor Nathan Wilson that the organisation retains its commitment to building a park and ride at Shieldmuir Train Station. In response to recent enquiries made by Councillor Wilson, Taylor Wimpey have advised that engagement is taking place with Network Rail over the latter’s approval procedures and that once this process is complete, work will be able to begin on site. The developer has informed the Motherwell Councillor that during the period of investigation undertaken since the commencement of building work was delayed in January 2018, an unrecorded service chamber has been discovered on site. The project cannot move forward until further clarification is provided on the nature of the service chamber and Taylor Wimpey are in the process of commissioning a contractor to assess the situation. The developer’s initial judgement is that this is likely a redundant service. A senior representative of the organisation has also informed Councillor Wilson that a member of the Taylor Wimpey production team will be sent out to inspect the vacant land following a request he made at the beginning of 2019 for maintenance work to be carried out on site should construction of the park and ride remain some time away. Councillor Nathan Wilson said: “Taylor Wimpey have communicated to me directly that the park and ride facility is a project that the organisation remains committed to delivering. “However, it goes without saying that the lengthy delay is still very disappointing and frustrating. “An unrecorded service chamber has been identified on site and progress is unable to be made until this has been investigated. “Taylor Wimpey have relayed to me that an on-site inspection of the vacant land will take place and I hold to the view that maintenance work should be carried out in the short term to improve it’s current condition. “I will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders and re-inforce to them the importance of the park and ride project locally. Motherwell and Wishaw CAB takes home 40 per cent of the prizes