When Doris Jones isn't gardening, she's driving seniors to their medical appointments.
Ms. Jones has a busy life; she spends time with her family, takes her granddaughter to ballet and, of course, tends her flower beds. Plus, twice a week she drives seniors in Beacon Hill and the Central District to medical appointments through Senior Services' Volunteer Transportation Program.
Ms. Jones became involved with Volunteer Transportation when she found herself with a little extra time on her hands. She had been driving an elderly friend from a nursing home to medical appointments until her friend passed away. She wanted to continue helping seniors and she likes driving. When she heard about Volunteer Transportation at church, it seemed like the perfect fit. With her busy family life, the program's flexibility appeals to her – she can drive when she wants to and where she wants to.
"If you want to help seniors, this is the program," she says. "The people that I take to the doctor are each unique, and I like hearing their stories."
Transportation is one of the top problems facing Seattle's elderly population. For seniors who no longer drive and have no families or friends to help out, getting to medical appointments can be very difficult. More and more seniors are turning to Volunteer Transportation for help.
Unfortunately, the program doesn't have enough drivers to meet this demand. In the past month, Volunteer Transportation turn down ride requests for an average of 15-20 seniors per week. The program urgently needs to recruit more volunteer drivers like Ms. Jones.
Volunteers use their own vehicles and choose the weekdays, times and areas in which they want to drive. They also receive mileage and parking reimbursement, as well as supplemental liability insurance. But, as Ms. Jones can tell you, the biggest benefit from driving with Volunteer Transportation is seeing the direct impact of her actions in the lives of the people she serves.
For more information on helping seniors in your community get to their medical appointments, please call Melissa at (206) 748-7588, email [email protected] or visit our website at www.seniorservices.org.