Macomb County, Oakland CountyJune 19, 2012
Free program aims to match seniors with transportation
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
While being an older driver does not mean, in itself, being an unsafe driver, most seniors outlive their ability to drive safely by seven to 10 years.
This poses challenges to those seniors who may otherwise be able to stay in their homes, but who need to find transportation to doctors appointments, the grocery store and a friend’s house for a visit.
In an effort to help seniors with transportation needs, the Area Agency on Aging I-B, in partnership with Jewish Family Services, will offer a new free service to seniors and adults with disabilities to help them get around called myride2.
The program is funded through a federal grant with a state match through Jewish Family Services. The program is available to all seniors and adults with disabilities in Oakland and Macomb counties.
Yuliya Gaydayenko, older adult services director of Jewish Family Services, explained that Jewish Family Services has been providing transportation services to the general community for 20 years.
“We understand there’s a huge gap in services, as we could only fulfill so much,” she said. “So we try to work with other organizations to fill the gap.”
She added that they hope to expand the myride2 program in 2014 to serve seniors and adults with disabilities in Wayne County.
Roberta Habowski, program coordinator for myride2, explained that while there is no charge for volunteers to provide information about transportation options to those who request it, there are charges for the actual transportation services, which will vary depending on the service.
For example, if transportation is available through the city in which the senior lives, the cost could be $4 roundtrip for a five-mile ride. Private transportation costs could range from a pick-up fee of between $15 and $35 or a per-mile cost of $1.50.
“We find connections for people and do the leg work for the different options they might use,” Habowski said.
Seniors, adults with disabilities and caregivers may request the information online at www.myride2.com or by calling (855) myride2, that’s (855) 697-4332. The website features information on transportation providers that serve different areas and safe driving information. Multilingual service is available via phone. Habowski suggests at least two days advance notice. Mobility specialists are available by phone 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Area Agency on Aging 1-B offers these tips to older drivers:
• Stressful driving situations.
• Rush hour.
• Backing up.
• Foul-weather driving.
Heed these signs of declining performance:
• Repeated fender benders.
• Being honked at often.
• Counseling sessions with police, family or friends about driving.
• Getting lost on familiar routes.
• Feeling overly stressed when driving.
• Impaired driving due to medical conditions.
• Slow reactions to driving situations.
• Making poor driving decisions.
• Decision making may take longer — leave more distance between cars.
• Take alternate routes.
• Do mental exercises.
• Have your eyes examined regularly and wear prescription lenses while driving.
• Keep headlights, taillights and windshield clean.
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