Senior Ride Nashville, a new transportation call center and volunteer ride service for older adults, recently completed its first ride, matching its first official member, 76-year-old Yves, with its first volunteer driver, Porter.
Yves – who currently lives with his adult son and his family – signed up for the ride service in order to visit his wife who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and resides in an assisted living facility in Bellevue. “I try to visit my wife twice a week, but it’s hard – she’s about 15 minutes away and I can’t get there on my own,” he said. Yves’ trip also included a quick trip to the grocery store on the way home. “It was wonderful. I’ve been isolated, and it’s hard to be isolated. It’s refreshing to see that there are people that are willing to help.”
The ride was provided by volunteer driver Porter, who was in the first group of volunteers to be trained by SRN. “I wanted to take an opportunity to help those in need,” Porter said when asked about why he volunteered to drive. “Yves has lived quite a life and it was a pleasure to get to hear his story while also providing him an easy way to visit his wife.” A Nashville resident for two years, Yves was born, raised, and completed his graduate studies in Paris. He left Paris for Southern California in his mid-20s to do research at the University of Southern California, where he met his wife, who was from Lithuania. After the university, he worked at Boeing and then moved to Washington, DC and directed the country’s poverty reduction strategy project in Mali, West Africa.
Helping seniors stay connected in the community and reducing isolation are primary objectives of SRN. “Yves is exactly the type of senior that our program strives to serve and we look forward to continuing to match older adults with volunteer drivers in the Bellevue area as part of our program launch,” said Carrie Brumfield, executive director for SRN. The program, which is now serving Bellevue, expects to expand into at least three additional service areas in 2018.