When it comes to transportation for seniors, A Helping Hand is not the only option. Ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber are working to make their rides more accessible to older adults. Both Durham and Orange counties also provide accessible transit options, in addition to the regular bus routes which are free for seniors. However, AHH provides a few key services that others don’t. We go beyond simply getting our clients from point A to point B.
One of the most unique aspects of AHH’s transportation is that we provide assistance door-through-door. At the doctor’s office, volunteers can help clients fill out paperwork, or take notes during the appointment. They can wait in the waiting room throughout the duration of a procedure (typically, procedures or surgeries require an escort in the waiting room), and can help make sure a client understands the discharge instructions. On a grocery run, AHH volunteers can help a client make a grocery list, find items in the store, and help manage payment at the checkout. When they get home, a volunteer can carry bags of groceries into the house and unpack them once inside. AHH doesn’t just drop you off at your destination; we accompany you throughout the trip.
Because volunteers stay with the client throughout the visit, clients can easily make multiple stops when running errands. Clients can even use drive-through windows at pharmacies, banks, or restaurants, which is an easier option for clients with reduced mobility. And unlike transportation options provided by cities and counties, AHH volunteers are not restricted to stay within one county, or limited in drop off or pick up stops by proximity to bus lines.
Many of our clients have benefited from the unique aspects of AHH’s transportation. Ms. B lives in Durham, but loves to go to Maple View Farms in Orange county. For her, this is a little escape to the country and it reminds her of her childhood – not to mention an opportunity to stock up on farm-fresh eggs, dairy, and ice cream. Without AHH, she wouldn’t be able to get there.
Other clients have used AHH to take them to procedures, which would not have been possible without our assistance. Ms. S recently had a minor procedure, and needed someone to stay in the waiting room throughout the appointment. Although it wasn’t supposed to take longer than an hour, she ended up being at the hospital all day. Two AHH volunteers were able to cover all those hours that she needed someone to wait with her, when she had no family or friends available to help out. Other clients have been able to get cataract surgeries, which pose a number of logistical problems. Often the time of the surgery is not set until the day before, so it’s difficult to arrange transportation in advance. In these cases, AHH looks for a volunteer who would be available throughout the day, so transportation is available whenever it’s needed.
AHH’s transportation is truly unique, and fills a need for many older adults and adults with disabilities in our community!