Scottvale’s initiative to bring back happy driving memories for residents

In Liz Ngari’s experience as Home Manager at Japara Scottvale (Dandenong, VIC), one of the hardest things a person living with dementia may face is dealing with the loss of their driving licence as their dementia progresses. It was an aspect of care that she and her team at Scottvale were particularly eager to address.

“We really wanted to think outside the box on this one and see how far we could take our ideas,” she said.

“What could we do to assist individuals to get their independence back?”

After meeting with a local mechanic, Godfrey Fernandes, they came up with a concept that exceeded their initial dream of what was possible. Godfrey generously donated a late-model automatic Astra, which he then cut in half, added a third stabilising wheel, and devised an ingenious way for staff members to assist residents to ‘drive’ without actually being in the car with them.

Watch the video below to see it in action!

Watch Scottvale’s car initiative featured on Nine News

Liz said that it was hard to put into words how positive the outcomes of the project had been.

“We’ve all felt privileged to see the effect it has had, particularly on our male residents living with dementia,” said Liz.

“We believe those who ‘drive’ experience a flood of happy driving memories. On the day we unveiled the car, it was fantastic to see that our first driver automatically knew what he needed to do. For example, when the sun shone in his eyes he immediately reached up to pull down the sun visor. That confirmed to us that we were on the right track; we were witnessing our resident re-connect with something he thought was lost. When he drove around the corner, he started to cry and his whole family, who we’d invited along, were madly cheering him on. It was the most moving sight.”

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