OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Health & Well-Being
Drive A Senior Van Program
Senior Access' Drive a Senior program focuses on the individualized transportation needs of seniors in the Greater Austin area, who live independently in their own homes but are no longer able to drive.
Senior Access' Drive A Senior program focuses on the individualized transportation needs of seniors in the Greater Austin area, who live independently in their own homes but are no longer able to drive. pick up prescriptions, visit banks and rehab facilities. It also reduced isolation for home-bound older adults by giving them an opportunity to interact weekly with area seniors.A
The van program funded by Impact Austin’s grant wildly exceeded the hopes and expectations of Drive a Senior.
The goal upon receiving the grant was to hire two part-time drivers to expand van services for seniors in additional regions around Austin. The organization also planned to train three new volunteers to help coordinate van schedules. Instead, Drive A Senior hired four new drivers and trained 15 new volunteers which has allowed the organization to greatly expand services in Elgin, Hutto and all suburbs of Austin. Executive Directors of the regional offices and other drivers also are trained as back ups to ensure continuity of service for clients.
Throughout the program, each region developed schedules for the vans that allowed them to best serve the needs of their constituents. In Elgin, for instance, Drive A Senior has expanded from providing 20 rides weekly to more than 40 rides for their clients to choose from thus allowing more seniors to get out of their homes and connect with their communities.
The vans, which operate five days a week, dramatically helped seniors in each region as Drive A Senior was able to organize more planned trips for groups of seniors to destinations like the grocery store, library, senior center, etc. which freed up other volunteer drivers to take more seniors to needed one-on-one trips for medical appointments. Each region promoted the new van schedules via their newsletters, postcard mailings and schedules posted on local websites.
At the start of the program and the end of the year, each van rider was given a survey to ascertain the impact of the program on their life. At the end of the year:
97 percent of riders reported a decrease in isolationism due the weekly van rides; and
98 percent reported that they would not have left the house without the van rides.
One client, Virginia, has found a new sense of purpose and enjoyment as a volunteer van program coordinator.
Prior to the program, Virginia scheduled an average of two doctor appointments each week because they were her only time to get out of the house and interact with others. A year into the van program and Virginia has not been to a doctor in several months and is greatly enjoying the interaction she gets with other van riders and through her volunteering.
The Impact Austin grant also has inspired Drive A Senior
to expand fundraising efforts to get more and newer vans to continue to expand their services.