Today I interviewed Ellie about something new helping Village members in Montgomery County. Two years ago several Village leaders, County leaders and the Jewish Council for Aging (JCA) started to meet together and dream about ways to collaborate that would help local Villages thrive. All the Villages agreed that their number one “ask” was for rides. JCA and The Senior Connection, a non-profit community based organization with a 20 year history of volunteer driver services, decided to apply for federal funds from the FTA, available through the Metro Washington COG. The project was approved for a two year funding period and Village Rides was born in the fall of 2013.
The goal is basically to give more rides to more seniors more quickly! Sounds like an abundant plan! The pilot project includes five participating Montgomery County Villages: OHFL-Olney Home for Life
NAN-Neighbors Assisting Neighbors
BTV-Burning Tree Village
TPV -Takoma Park Village
SSV-Silver Spring Village
They hope participation will create a “buzz” across the Village community in Montgomery County and lead eventually to large scale implementation. The funding means that the participating Villages have expanded transportation resources, including a new, user-friendly web-based software, a call center, background checks for drivers and assistance in recruiting new ride users and new volunteer drivers.
Across the country and here in Maryland, participants in villages and other Aging in Place programs identify transportation needs as paramount to maintaining an independent lifestyle. This is even more pronounced in suburban or rural locations. Often loss of driving capacity is what creates a barrier to remaining in one’s home, unless there are resources such as this to make independence possible. Many people find it more comfortable to rely on a system like this rather than on the kindness of friends alone. So far it appears that this project has been a win-win solution for all involved.
Thanks for the information on this story Mike!
Further questions for reflection:
How has your area or Village solved the transportation dilemma?
Have you had any situations dealing with a neighbor who is reluctant to stop driving even though they show signs of being dangerous on the road?
We’d love to hear what solutions have been created in your community!
Or give us a lead on some newsworthy happening in your area!