CarFreeMe™-Dementia: Potential Benefits of a Driving Retirement Intervention Supporting Persons With Dementia and Their Families

Colleen M. Peterson, Stephanie Ingvalson, Robyn W. Birkeland, Katie W. Louwagie, Theresa L. Scott, Nancy A. Pachana, Jacki Liddle, Louise Gustafsson, Joseph E. Gaugler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Driving retirement can be a necessary but challenging and emotionally complex transition, especially for people living with dementia. This pilot study evaluated the utility of CarFreeMe™-Dementia (CFM™-D), a telehealth intervention providing tailored education and social support to those living with dementia and their care partners, as they prepare for or adjust to driving retirement. Delivered by empathetic health professionals, CFM™-D is a person-centric, flexible program tailored to address challenges specific to the participants’ driving retirement stage and individualized contexts. Research Design and Methods: A single-arm, mixed-methods design was used to follow participants over a 6-month period. Participants received CFM™-D, a 7–8-module semistructured intervention, including education and planning support for driving retirement (impact of dementia, transportation options) and emotional adjustment (grief and loss, stress management). Surveys evaluated the perceived utility of intervention components as well as changes in well-being and readiness for driving retirement over time. An open-ended survey item and semistructured interviews provided additional feedback and a contextual understanding of the empirical data. Results: A total of 50 families enrolled (17 care partners, 16 retiring/retired drivers with memory loss, and 17 care partner-retiring/retired driver dyads). Nearly all participants would recommend the intervention. Care partners reported significantly reduced (p < .05) isolation and relationship strain, and retiring drivers reported significant reductions in depressive symptoms. Driving retirement preparedness scores improved. Driving retirement phase, enrolling as a dyad, and retiring driver cognitive/functional impairment were associated with these outcomes. Participants also engaged in more driving retirement activities outside of the intervention (e.g., talking with health professionals). Discussion and Implications: CFM™-D is a useful intervention for retiring drivers with dementia and their family members, with preliminary data suggesting it supports improved well-being and driving retirement preparedness. A randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the efficacy of the CFM™-D intervention and future translation needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberigae022
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.


  • Caregiver stress
  • Dementia
  • Driving
  • Evaluation
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Thematic analysis

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'CarFreeMe™-Dementia: Potential Benefits of a Driving Retirement Intervention Supporting Persons With Dementia and Their Families'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this