The Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter and Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation announced a partnership to provide free driving evaluations for persons living with dementia.
A grant from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is providing funding to enable the Chapter and ECMC to offer the evaluations at no cost to individuals and families who seek a referral from the Chapter.
Alzheimer’s Association Chapter Executive Director Jill Horner said, “The evaluations are a vital tool for helping families make difficult decisions when facing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. We are delighted by this partnership and the opportunity to provide this valuable service in conjunction with ECMC.”
ECMC Corp. President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, said, “We are grateful to the New York State Department of Health for funding this important initiative. We are also pleased to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association on our Driver Evaluation Program. The Alzheimer’s Association offers support and advocacy for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and ECMC provides patient-centered evaluations to assess the driving abilities of people living with Alzheimer’s. Together, both organizations are working to remove barriers and enable the greatest level of independence for these individuals within our community.”
ECMC’s Driver Rehabilitation Program, established in 1984, provides outreach, education and formal driver evaluations to assist patients in reaching or maintaining their highest level of safe driving. Licensed occupational therapists specializing in driver rehabilitation complete a two-part patient assessment including an in-clinic and behind-the-wheel evaluation. At the conclusion of the assessment, post-evaluation counseling is conducted to review results and provide necessary education and support.
This partnership enables patients and families identified and referred to ECMC by the Alzheimer’s Association to utilize another valuable community resource to support safe community mobility without financial burden. The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia is not an automatic reason to remove driving privileges since ECMC offers a safe and graded plan for continued driving or community mobility if driving is no longer indicated.
For additional information about dementia, other Chapter programs and resources, and how to be referred to the ECMC Driver Evaluation Program, please call the Alzheimer’s Association at 626-0600.