GEORGE BROWN
Senior transportation allows many to live at home

August 25th, 2011    Author: George Brown    Filed Under: Opinion

George Brown

Each year the Clermont Senior Services vans drive over three quarters of a million miles. This year we are on track to provide nearly 70,000 trips, taking older adults to medical and other appointments that allow them to continue living at home.

Transportation is one of the most important services we provide. Getting where you need to go can be a real problem if you don’t have a car, especially if where you need to go is for chemo therapy treatments or other critically needed medical services.

This is why we have vans on the road as early as 4:30 a.m. to pick seniors up for 6 a.m. dialysis appointments. It is also why we transport seniors from all over Clermont County to appointments in Cincinnati, Anderson, Blue Ash, and other areas for medical appointments.

Most older adults are in relatively good health and can still drive to get where they need to go, and some have family or friends who can help when needed. But many are not so fortunate. Who are the seniors that use our transportation service? Over 75 percent are older women, most of whom live alone. Close to 50 percent of all riders are in their 80s and 90s, and many of the older women never learned how to drive. Some did, but low fixed incomes and declining health have long since required that they give up their keys. As an older gentleman recently said, “I’m thankful for your service, I can’t leave home without it.”

Each year we mail a survey to the older adults who use our services, including transportation, to ask if they are happy with the services we provide and if they have any suggestions for improvement. We occasionally do get suggestions about ways to possibly improve services, but mostly we receive comments of appreciation. Here are a few examples.

“My husband and I are unable to drive. If I didn’t have this service, I would not have a ride to dialysis.”

“Without this service we would not be able to live at home. I cannot thank you enough.”

“If it weren’t for your service I would probably be in a nursing home.”

“This keeps my friends from having to take off work to take me to the doctor.”

“My husband is in a nursing home. I don’t drive and I have had cancer surgery twice in the last four years. I don’t know what I would have done without this service to take me to the doctor and to visit my husband. I love the drivers and appreciate all that is done for me.”

Despite their modest incomes, the seniors who ride our vans help pay for the cost of the service. Each year Clermont Senior Services receive about $300,000 in total donations from the older adults who use transportation and other services.

We also receive support from United Way, and some state and federal assistance. But the Senior Services Levy is the most important source of funding, comprising over 75 percent of all revenue for transportation, meals-on-wheels, adult day care, in-home personal care, home repair and other services.

The Senior Services Levy will be on the ballot on Nov. 8. This will be a renewal levy which means it will not raise taxes. I’m asking you to be a partner in this important work by voting for the Senior Services Levy and to encourage your family and friends to do so as well.

George Brown is the executive director of Clermont Senior Services.

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