The Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JF&CS) in collaboration with Repair the World: Pittsburgh, recently launched AgeWell Rides to serve seniors in the city. AgeWell Rides is a new, free volunteer transportation service that matches local volunteer drivers with seniors who do not or cannot drive and need reliable transportation to go to medical appointments, grocery shopping or simply to get out in the community.
According to Jordan Golin, JF&CS COO and director of elder/clinical services, the project came about from hearing about transportation challenges faced by the seniors they serve. There are other transportation services for seniors in the city, but they don’t cover all their needs. For example, the County’s ACCESS service, while providing guaranteed rides, gives a 90-minute window at both ends of a individual’s trip which is a hardship for many seniors.
Volunteer drivers can apply through the Agewell web portal and once screened can also put in their availability. Seniors can either sign up through the portal or by calling. The portal will match drivers with seniors in need.
The service tags unmatched requests as they approach and sends an email blast to volunteers to see if the request can be covered. Since its launch in April, AgeWell has made 35 ride matches. Golin adds, “It’s a key tool in helping seniors stay active and independent when it’s time to give up the car keys, and a great way of connecting seniors and community members.”