Years Ahead

RACV offers free Years Ahead presentations to organised groups of older people throughout Victoria. There are three to choose from. 

Years Ahead – Road Safety for Seniors - (03) 9790 2915 or book online

This one-hour road safety awareness presentation is designed for older road users. It covers information and advice on driving safely and aims to promote safer road user behaviours, continued mobility and quality of life for older people.

Years Ahead - Lifestyle Series -  (03) 9790 2915 or book online

Two 45-minute presentations are available in the Lifestyle Series that provide advice and information on topics that become more important to us as we age. 

Personal and Home Safety discusses how we can take action to maximise the safety and security of our belongings in different situations, how to prepare for an emergency and preventing falls in the home.

Healthy Ageing and Staying Connected covers the importance of being healthy and active as we age, as well as how we can stay connected with family, friends, and the community. Scams that target older people and how they can be avoided are also discussed.

Years Ahead videos

These videos outline important road safety topics covered by the Years Ahead – Road Safety for Seniors presentation.

Introduction to Years Ahead

This video introduces the Years Ahead program and the topics it covers.

 

Vehicle Safety

Buying a car involves many decisions and is one of the largest and most important purchases we make. This video outlines the importance of driving a safe vehicle. 

 

Health and Driving

Different health and ageing issues may affect your ability to drive. This video covers some of those issues and what you can do to stay safe on the roads.

 

Your Driving Future

RACV encourages all drivers to drive for as long as they are fit to do so. This video outlines what you should do if you are not as fit as you used to be and driving is becoming difficult.

 

These videos outline important topics covered by the Years Ahead – Lifestyle Seriespresentations, including falls prevention in the home and physical activity for older people. 

Falls Prevention in the Home

Over 50% of hospitalisations from falls are people aged 65+. This does not mean falls have to be part of growing older. This video shows that identifying and removing hazards is a cheap and easy way to reduce the risk of a fall.

 

Physical Activity for Older People

It is very tempting for us to think that we are “too old” or “too frail” to participate in physical activities. This video shows that no matter your age or health condition there is an activity to help you improve your health and fitness.

Choosing a safe car

Even though older drivers have fewer crashes than other age groups, they are more likely to sustain serious or life threatening injuries if involved in a crash. 

This is caused by an increased level of frailty in older people, making them more susceptible to injury.

As we age:

  • It takes less force to cause tissue damage and fractures.
  • Pre-existing health conditions tend to exaggerate the level of injuries sustained.
  • People are less able to recover from injuries, resulting in more complications, longer hospital stay and more rehabilitation.

It is particularly important for older people to consider safety features and options when choosing a car.

The full list of topics covered in the guide request a copy publicpolicyadmin@racv.com.au

A large number of safety features now available in cars can help keep you safer in the event of a crash.

If you are buying a car, consult RACV's Make the right choice - Vehicle safety advice for older drivers guide for essential vehicle safety and a checklist of important features that you should look for when buying a car.

Dementia and driving


 

Medical conditions can impact driving ability and may affect someone's driving future. 

RACV's guide to dementia, driving and mobility guide

This guide is for professionals, carers, families, friends and for people with dementia. It summarises key issues surrounding driving and dementia including mobility options for people who can no longer drive.

How dementia affects driving - what a diagnosis means

People diagnosed with dementia will eventually need to stop driving. 

Early diagnosis allows more time for effective future planning. The time someone will need to stop driving depends on:

  • the cause of the dementia
  • other health conditions
  • when diagnosis is made
  • how quickly the disease progresses.

Benefits of getting a diagnosis

Getting medical help means treatment strategies can delay the progression of dementia or better manage the consequences of the disease.

Legal requirements

People who are diagnosed with medical conditions, such as dementia, impairing their ability to drive safely are required to notify VicRoads.

A Medical Report Form is completed by a medical specialist for VicRoads and a driving assessment may be needed.

Warning signs

Some indicators of potential problems include:

  • becoming disorientated or lost whilst driving in familiar areas
  • forgetting the purpose of trips
  • losing the car in familiar car parks
  • having difficulty making quick decisions at intersections or busy roads
  • driving through Stop/Give Way signs or traffic lights without giving way
  • not seeing vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists sharing the road
  • difficulty parking or driving into carports or garages
  • slower reaction times
  • difficulties using the brake, accelerator or steering wheel
  • unexplained dents and scratches on the car.

How dementia affects driving

Often people will lose insight into their illness and may not be able to make judgements about their driving capacity. Dementia symptoms cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. 

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia.  

It is important that anyone displaying these characteristics see a doctor

Contact information

Many organisations provide support to people with dementia and their carers.

  • Alzheimer's Australia Vic. - 1800 100 500
  • VicRoads - 13 11 71
  • Carers Victoria - 1800 242 636

More resources

Resources from VicRoads aim to help older drivers to continue driving safely and alert them to factors that may affect driving. RACV and Alzheimer's Australia Vic have partnered to develop a resource kit with information about the challenges associated with driving and dementia.

Drivers and passengers with a disability

Vehicle modifications for drivers with a disability

Vehicle modifications might be needed for some drivers with a disability to enable them to drive legally and safely. Some passengers with a disability might also need vehicle modifications to enable them to access and travel in a vehicle.

Vehicle modifications are any alteration to a vehicle, and can be minor or major. Examples of minor modifications include spinner hand-grip devices and back support cushions, whereas major modifications may include installing a ramp or hoist and special steering systems.

Before modifying a vehicle there are many things to consider, such as costs, registration and licensing requirements and whether modifications are the best option for you.

Download RACV’s Keeping Mobile brochure for further information about modifying a vehicle for drivers and passengers with a disability.

 

More information on vehicle modifications for drivers and passengers with a disability

Independent Living Centre (ILC) - The ILC provides a free internet database, telephone advisory line, and also runs special display days. Visit the ILC website for more information. 

Disabled Motorists Association (DMA) - The DMA is a volunteer run self help and advocacy group which assists individuals with disabilities to gain driving independence. They can advise on a range of issues and many of their members are drivers with disabilities who have practical firsthand experience.

Transport Accident Commission (TAC) - The TAC can provide information for people who are injured in traffic accidents. Information includes eligibility for compensation, application forms, and vehicle modifications.

VicRoads - VicRoads are responsible for ensuring that all drivers can drive safely. VicRoads provide advice and information about driving with long-term or permanent medical conditions or disabilities and occupational therapy driver assessment. The Vehicle Assessment Signatory Scheme (VASS) is also apart of VicRoads, which aims to ensure all modified vehicles meet construction and safety standards.

OT Australia (Vic) - OT Australia (Vic) can provide information on how to find an OT generalist or driver assessor.

Royal Children’s Hospital - The Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne) has a Safety Centre which provides information about safety issues for all children – including those with special needs.

Vehicle Modifications Subsidy Scheme (VMSS) - The VMSS is part of the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program and is funded by the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS). Eligible drivers/passengers with permanent disabilities living in Victoria may receive a subsidy of up to $10,000 (over a seven-year period) for the cost of certain modifications.

 

There are also several advocacy and support groups for people with different medical conditions and disabilities:

MS Australia - MS Australia has been supporting and helping people with multiple sclerosis since 1956. MS Australia informs people with MS how best to live as full and healthy a lifestyle as possible while managing the symptoms of MS.

AQA – AQA is a provider of support and services for people who sustain spinal cord injuries (quadriplegia and paraplegia) and similar physical disabilities. AQA is a member based organisation who enable people affected by physical disability to achieve maximum independence.

Independence Australia – Independence Australia is a not for profit organisation that supports people with a disability or other physical needs to achieve their optimal quality of life.

Mobility planning

f you have relied on a car to get around for most of your life, the prospect of one day having to give up the wheel can be daunting, particularly if you’re not familiar with the alternatives. While the decision to stop driving can be a difficult one, it doesn’t mean that you can’t stay connected to your friends, family, community or the services you need. 

Transport Options for Seniors Guide

RACV’s Transport Options for Seniors guide provides advice about how to plan your trip, use myki and other special things you’ll need to consider when you’re travelling without a car. The full list of topics covered in the guide is shown below or request a copy publicpolicyadmin@racv.com.au

  • Reducing the need to travel
  • Travel discounts
  • Planning your public transport journey
  • Paying for public transport
  • Catching a metropolitan train
  • Catching a V/Line train or coach
  • Catching a bus
  • Catching a tram
  • Catching a taxi
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Motorised mobility devices
  • Travel assistance
  • Years Ahead, and
  • Useful contacts

RACV Senior Driver Program

No one wants to stop driving, but there are legal and ethical considerations for older drivers whose ability to continue safely driving a car may be in doubt.

RACV can help. Our Senior Drivers’ Program provides professional advice about your driving ability and practical solutions to help maintain your mobility for as long as you are safe to do so.

RACV’s Drive School has instructors who have been specifically trained to provide senior drivers with the best driver instruction and feedback possible. We provide guidance and offer an honest assessment of your driving.

What the program covers

The RACV Senior Drivers' Program is tailored to your individual needs. It covers local driving and complex driving situations, focuses on specific skills needing improvement and provides verbal and written feedback so you can monitor and record your progress.

The program is suitable for senior drivers who

  • Would like an assessment of their own driving ability
  • Have family members who are concerned about their safety
  • Are undergoing a VicRoads licence assessment or
  • Have lost confidence in their driving ability and feel a refresher course may help