Date: February 6, 2018 | Category: News
Care Connection for Aging Services is emphasizing options for seniors who need transportation to medical appointments and to its centers for meals and activities.
The agency offers transportation to senior centers, shopping and medical services through OATS transit buses, which operate according to routes. The agency also has a “Consumer-Directed Transportation” option for medical appointments. In some communities, the volunteer-operated “Provide-a-Ride” program provides transportation to medical appointments in other cities.
“We have renewed our focus on transportation because it’s a major obstacle for many older individuals who need a ride for meals, shopping and medical needs,” said Care Connection Executive Director Diana Hoemann.
Nationally, more than 20 percent of Americans age 65 and older do not drive, according to a nationally recognized study by policy analyst Linda Bailey. The reasons include declining health, concern over safety, a lack of access to a car and personal preference.
Many non-drivers stay home rather than seek alternative ways of getting around. The numbers may be even higher in Care Connection’s rural West Central Missouri service area because of the lack of public transportation.
“That means seniors make fewer trips to the doctor, to go shopping, to restaurants, church and family visits,” Hoemann said.
The lack of transportation contributes to social isolation, which can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to an AARP study.
To help, Care Connection offers at least two transportation options in all of its senior centers and PAR in those where volunteers have agreed to help.
OATS provides transportation to meals and activities at senior centers, as well as essential shopping and medical appointments. While a donation is suggested, it is not required.
Provide-A-Ride uses volunteers who donate their time to drive seniors to non-emergency medical appointments, usually out of town. PAR is currently available in El Dorado, Osceola, Nevada, Sedalia, Stockton, Warsaw, Wheatland and Warrensburg. Volunteers are needed in other locations.
A third option, called Consumer Directed Transportation, allows seniors to enlist someone they know to take them to non-emergency medical appointments, usually out of town. The senior submits the paperwork with the agency and receives a reimbursement for mileage. The senior has the responsibility to reimburse the driver for mileage expense.
Care Connection serves Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Saline, St. Clair and Vernon counties. To find out more about transportation options, call the senior center near you, visit the oatstransit.org or call 1-800-748-7826.