Eric Ehst, Executive Director
If you live in Sun Lakes or south Chandler you know how important driving is. There’s virtually no other way to get around. We have no public transportation. Most of us are in areas with no Dial-a-Ride service. Even if it’s available, it’s inconvenient. Taxis are expensive and they won’t wait while you are at your doctor’s appointment or in the grocery store. Driving is the only reasonable way to get around to the essential destinations in our lives.
For more and more of us this indispensable mode of transportation (driving) is becoming difficult or impossible. Although we’ve been driving our entire lives, things are changing. We no longer see as well and cannot safely drive at night. We are uncomfortable driving on freeways or outside our local community. We have physical limitations or memory lapses. Eventually we have to give up the car keys altogether. What a loss of freedom and independence. How do we get to the doctor; get groceries; get to the weekly bridge game? I know that many of you can relate to this. You may be in this boat yourself, or surely you know a relative or friend in this position.
This is where Neighbors Who Care comes in. The most essential service our volunteers perform, the one that started our organization over 20 years ago, is providing indispensable transportation to their neighbors who can no longer drive themselves. In 2015 our caring volunteers took frail, non-driving, community members to almost 4000 vital medical appointments. Many of those trips were for lifesaving dialysis or chemotherapy treatment. They also took people shopping or on essential errands 1500 times, in some cases shopping for neighbors who are too infirm to leave the house.
If you can imagine being stuck at home, unable to get to the doctor or the grocery store; if you can sympathize with your less mobile neighbors; if you have a driver’s license and a little time, we need your help. Volunteering with Neighbors Who Care is easy, comes with no preset time commitment, and is spiritually rewarding. The people you assist are friendly and tremendously grateful for your help. Our volunteers regularly tell us that the rewards are more than worth the little time and gasoline it takes to make someone’s day and to keep them healthy and independent.
As an added service to the community, Neighbors Who Care partners with AARP to host a monthly Senior Driver Safety Class at our office (second Thursday of the month). Sign up to learn how our driving skills change as we age; catch up on changes to the rules of the road; and get a discount off your car insurance.
To volunteer, sign up for the class, refer a friend, relative, or neighbor who may need a little help living independently, or just to find out more, call us at 480-895-7133 or visit www.NeighborsWhoCare.com.