With support from the United Fund of Talbot County, Partners In Care (PIC) has completed its third year of operation with the mission to help older adults remain independent in their own homes and engaged in the community.
Access to transportation is one of the most important requirements for healthy aging. Most people want to stay in the homes and communities they know and love, and PIC’s Ride Partners transportation program, provides arm-in-arm rides to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and other essential errands to help people age-in-place. Volunteer drivers use their own cars to pick up a rider at their front door, take them to the appointment, wait with them, then take them safely home again. It is a kind, customized service that accomplishes the transportation requirement, and also provides an important social interaction that helps a person stay connected to the community.
In 2012 volunteer drivers traveled 12,345 miles (almost double the 2011 figure), nearly the equivalent of driving from Easton to the tip of Argentina and back again. In local terms, three rides a day of approximately 20 miles each are provided.
The mileage is interesting, but the real story is Partners In Care’s commitment to helping members stay connected to their community. In addition to providing rides, the organization advocates to help members obtain benefits they may be entitled to, provides reassurance and social support, and provides a unique way to keep people engaged and connected.
PIC operates as a time bank and all participants, referred to as “members,” are encouraged to give time and talents to the community pool. Every person has something to contribute and is valued for it. Anyone who helps out will get help back from the community when they need it. This “parity rather than charity” concept affirms that the community needs the resources of all its members and helps people maintain their dignity.
Going forward, PIC will add the Repairs With Care program to its services, as volunteer handymen are engaged to help people make small repairs to maintain their homes for safe and independent living. PIC is also documenting the effectiveness of its advocacy and intervention efforts to show the depth of services provided for area seniors.
In a short time, 200 volunteer members have become engaged in PIC’s innovative programs that provide essential services and a safety net for the often hidden or forgotten members of our community.
New participants are always welcome. Orientation programs are held monthly. For more information, contact Pam O’Brien, Coordinator, Partners In Care, 400 Brookletts Avenue, Easton, 410-822-1803, firstname.lastname@example.org.