A new volunteer adult transportation service is being planned for the Comox Valley.

Volunteer adult transportation assistance program in the works in the Comox Valley

In a 2013 community needs assessment, local seniors identified transportation assistance as one of their greatest needs as they age.

In response, the Comox Valley Better at Home program will be launching a new transportation assistance program to help fill that need and the first step in the planning is acquiring volunteer drivers.

Most of us don’t plan for a time when we are no longer able to drive or get around on public transit, but if and when that happens, we are often faced with a lack of access to essential services and experience a loss of social independence. This is especially true when there are no friends or family members to help us get out for appointments or services.

Research indicates that older adults who are no longer able to drive attend fewer medical appointments or go shopping less often, and reduce the frequency of their visits to friends and family compared to drivers of the same age.

For some of us, it’s a lack of sufficient financial resources to secure transportation or a declining physical ability to use alternate methods of transportation. Even for those with family or friendship support, a non-driving senior may feel that s/he must always plan around others’ schedules and that the requested transportation is a favour that can’t be repaid. If you’ve always been independent and self-sufficient, these feelings can make asking a family member or friend for transportation very difficult, particularly on regular basis.

“There are many seniors in our community who are isolated and have difficulty getting out,” said local Better at Home co-ordinator, Kris Anderson. “These neighbours and community members would truly benefit from support and assistance getting to appointments from time to time.”

Jan. 23 is the date for the first of a two-part session for those who want to participate in helping local seniors get to appointments in the Comox Valley. What would be a small but meaningful commitment from a volunteer, could be a life changer for a local senior who needs occasional transportation. Better at Home Comox Valley is managed by the Hornby Denman Community Health Services Society, with its office in Courtenay. Call 250-871-1165 for more details about the meeting.

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