Community Care offers an escorted volunteer driving program to help seniors get to medical appointments and shopping. The fact that our drivers will take seniors to do their essential shopping is often an overlooked part of this program. Sometimes seniors need the driver to take them to several locations – bank, grocery store and the pharmacy. A stop at the doctor’s office might be combined with this trip. Community Care’s volunteer drivers only receive a small stipend of 40 cents per kilometre for their trouble. The goal is to cover a small part of expenses not as a revenue stream for the driver.
The thing is that we have more success finding volunteer drivers for the longer medical drives than for the time consuming in-town shopping drives. Both are important to helping seniors live at home in the community, however. Both types of drives are a support to caregivers who have their hands full tending to the needs of their loved ones often along with working and caring for children as well.
We are in need of people willing to do these kinds of shopping trips. You will spend several hours with the senior that you’re carefully matched with. At the end of the excursion there will be no doubt that you’ve made an impact upon the life of the person you’ve just spent the time with.
In the words of one of our drivers: “I enjoy meeting new people and helping those in this community.” “What goes around comes around,” said another. “Being involved in this program keeps me active and interested.” “I’ve been a volunteer driver for 16 years and I love it. I love the people and get great satisfaction from being involved.” Another driver said “Someday I’ll need the help. Also, I learn so much about Prince Edward County.”
One volunteer driver said that his experience with the staff of Community Care is very positive. “They are professional, well organized and always cheerful. Everyone at Community Care is very concerned about client confidentiality,” he said.
Everybody at Community Care values the time of those that volunteer to help seniors. We work with people to make sure the volunteer experience fits with their schedule. We strive to create a process where our drivers can always tell the office staff that they are unavailable, without any regrets, without any twinges of guilt.
There are benefits both for the seniors who are clients of this program and for the volunteer as well. After all, studies show that volunteers live longer, healthier, happier lives. “I’m very happy with doing it and there is obviously a need in the community,” said one volunteer driver.
To get involved as a driver call the Community Care office and arrange a time to meet with a co-ordinator to start the conversation about volunteering. As noted above, we’re in particular need of people willing to put in the extra time it takes for shopping. If you need a ride, call 613-476-7493 today.
The Community Care office will be closed for Canada Day, Monday, July 2 reopening Tuesday, July 3 at 9 a.m. Community Care’s Thrift Shop at 153 Main Street in Picton will be open, Monday from 1-4 p.m. To celebrate Canada Day there’s a storewide half-price sale on until 4 p.m. on Monday.
Recreational and social programs
Watch this column and our web site, www.communitycareforseniors.org, in the coming weeks for a full schedule of upcoming social and recreational programming.