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Letter: Nonprofit transit program helps seniors maintain lives of mobility
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It is time to think about our older adults and what they need to stay active, healthy and independent. It is time to think about our grandparents, older parents, older neighbors and friends. It is time to make them a priority. It is time to adopt and embrace a senior transportation program that keeps them from being isolated.

iTNLanier is a nonprofit transportation service that addresses this critical need for 60 and older and the sight-impaired in Hall County and has given over 500 rides since our doors opened in April.

I recently drove to Alabama to pick up my 64-year-old sister-in-law who has MS, uses a walker and can’t drive. We have been good friends over the years. She is a proud, independent lady who hates asking for help. Like many older adults, she has three sons who live out of state and lead active lives of their own with families and jobs. They care about their mother as do I.

A year ago she was driving and was in an accident, broke her wrist and ended up in a hospital with a brain bleed. Should she have been driving? Probably not. Would she have been driving if she would have been connected with a trusted alternative? Probably not.

While in Alabama, I drove her to a doctor’s appointment, bank, grocery, to lunch, her pharmacy, her church and to get her nails done. I thought to myself how hard this must be when a trusted relative or friend is not around.

Sure, I know there are other transportation options besides iTNLanier in Hall County. There are dial-a-rides, taxis, home care, Uber, friends, family. But how many of these options provide 24/7, door through door, arm in arm, safe, affordable transportation? How many have rides provided by trained, insured volunteer drivers, with background and driving record checked, who are fellow caring citizens? How many provide peace of mind to older adults allowing them to maintain their dignity and not feel that they are a burden to their family and friends?

It is time. If you are a business owner, set up a team of volunteer drivers, an annual fund drive or ask your employees if their grandparents or relatives could use this service.

If you are a physician or nurse, join iTNLanier’s Healthy Miles Program and set up rides for doctors’ appointments, therapy, or clinical procedures. We will work out the details to make the program run smoothly for you and your patients.

If you are a church leader, we will help you set up a program to connect your senior members with rides.

If you are family members or friends. We will answer all of your questions and do our best to meet your needs. Don’t wait until your loved one gets hurt or becomes isolated.

It is time! Contact iTNLanier. Become a member, volunteer driver or donate to help provide rides for older Hall County citizens. We need you and you need us.

Erika Walker
Board Chair, www.itnlanier.org

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