When older adults can no longer drive, transportation assistance is needed to insure access to critical services and programs in order to help them remain healthy and independent in their homes. The 60+ Ride Program provides free transportation throughout Weld County to meet this need.
Yvette's Story - Our volunteer driver picked up a woman named Yvette from Berthoud Care and Rehabilitation. She had been hospitalized for a fall and then sent to this facility for rehab, and she had been away from her home for more than a month. Our volunteer said she was so appreciative of her driving all the way from Greeley to Berthoud to pick her up. She said if it wasn't for 60+ Ride, she would still be there because she had no one to pick her up, and on the entire ride home, she kept expressing her appreciation and was very emotional. Since then Yvette has utilized our grocery delivery program and has received assistance from 60+ Ride to pay for them.
Tina's Story - Early this month we received a voice mail from Tina, a 74-year-old Windsor resident. She had just finished the 60+ Ride client intake process with staff member Ellie, and left the following message, "Hi, Ellie! I just wanted to tell you thank you sooo much for calling me and letting me know you got my information in the mail. I will be calling you for a ride in the near future. I just wanted to thank you. You are the sweetest thing. You try so hard, letting me know what's going on. I appreciate that."
The backstory, however, isn't nearly as cheerful as Tina's voice message. Tina's Meals on Wheels volunteer learned that she needed more food than what was being delivered so referred her to us, and with a few questions staff member Ellie learned that Tina hadn't been able to leave the house because both her car and bike had broken down. She'd had no way to get to the store or leave the house so had been isolated and eating only one meal a day. Her cabinets were bare, she hadn't had fresh produce in months, and her food stamps were soon to expire. Ellie offered our 60+ Grocery ordering and delivery services, a program which was created in response to the pandemic, but Tina really needed to get out of the house and wanted to go to the store herself. Ellie called a Windsor volunteer driver to take Tina to the store where she got both groceries and, equally important, socialization
Jerry's Story - Staff member El called client Jerry about making arrangements to take her to a hair appointment in June. Throughout the call Jerry remained positive, talking about how the pandemic would be over soon, and relating stories about the two World Wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic, polio, the Great Depression, etc. El told Jerry that she is one of our favorites because she is so positive and Jerry exclaimed that "she didn't know that!" Jerry talked about how she had lived a long time (she's 98) and had learned that negativity doesn't get you anywhere. She said, "I just love to be happy!" This story illustrates how important it is to recognize the long and meaningful lives our older adult neighbors have lived, and to realize that we can learn from them in so many ways.
Marge's Story -Marge is a new client who called for grocery delivery in March when she heard about our program from AAA. She "hadn't gotten anything" for two weeks. Those of us who have the financial resources to keep extra food on hand would find that difficult enough, but for Marge it meant nothing to eat, literally, and her Social Security payment was a week away. We were able to deliver Weld Food Bank Emergency Boxes and order groceries online to be delivered early the next week. Payment for her groceries was funded by a grant from Weld Recovers, organized by United Way of Weld County and Weld Community Foundation. Yay for teamwork and meeting needs in an emergency! For many of our clients, we are their safety net and lifeline to vital community resources and services. Access to transportation can be a matter of life and death!
Donna's Story - Client Donna called in early February, 2020 to thank volunteer driver Rhanda for taking her to all of her appointments over the past year. Her doctor told her that she is 99% better now. This client was discovered to be living in a converted shed in a back yard when 60+ Ride first did an intake on her. With our assistance and referrals to community resources, Donna now she lives with her daughter and she has regained her vision. Without the assistance of 60+ Ride, Donna might not be alive today.
Rose's Story - Client Rose informed us that she was moving from Firestone to Maryland to be near siblings who are much younger. She told us she would rather stay in Colorado, but with limited transportation she feels housebound and her younger siblings will be able to get her out more. Rose told us that she knew of five people doing the same thing because of lack of ample transportation...