The Chelsea Senior Center is developing an innovative transportation network called Rural Older Adults in Motion (R.O.A.M.): “We are free to roam”.
We need your vote to win a $50,000 People’s Choice award that will help us launch R.O.A.M.
Starting Oct. 1 through Oct. 21, you can view a 30-second video about our project and vote for us to win. Follow this link to view the video and cast your vote to support rural transportation solutions for older adults.
As we age and give up our keys for any number of reasons, we become dependent on other modes of transportation to connect us to the larger world. But many of these modes of public transportation are not even options in our rural communities. Or if they do exist, there are often limitations.
While our existing transit system connects us to many popular destinations, there are places we can’t go and times when mass transit is not possible. Ride share services, like Lyft and Uber are not widely available in our rural communities and are technology dependent. Many older adults are not comfortable using technology, or may not have access to it, which means these app-based transportation services aren’t solutions. And in a rural community, there are few Lyft or Uber drivers.
This is the reality older non-driving adults must cope with every day while trying to stay connected to the community they know and love. Losing our freedom and independence can have a serious impact on our health and well-being. 50% of non-driving older adults isolate themselves by staying home on any given day, they take 15% fewer trips to medical appointments, 59% fewer trips to shop or eat, and 65% fewer trips for social, family or religious activities.
This is where Rural Older Adults in Motion addresses a real community need. R.O.A.M. will integrate the unique services from existing transportation providers to create one, reliable, on-demand and seamless transportation network serving our community. As the hub for R.O.A.M., the Chelsea Senior Center will overcome the geographic availability and technology barriers. With one simple phone call to us, older adults can get a ride, when and where they need it. We’ll match them with the best transportation provider for their location, unique ride situation, and ability to pay for the service.
Being the hub for R.O.A.M. will also give us important data and insights to continuously improve the program. We’ll promote R.O.A.M. within the community to encourage trusted residents to enroll as drivers. with Lyft and Uber. This will ensure we have enough local capacity to quickly meet the demand.
We believe our innovative solution has many advantages. For older adults, the experience will be simple, repeatable, and dependable. An older adult only needs to call the dedicated R.O.A.M. telephone number to schedule a ride. We’ve built our solution on the existing strengths and technology of our partners, which means the model will be sustainable and adaptable as we move forward. Our program will also spur local job opportunities and economic growth as older adults will have greater access to support local businesses. It’s a perfect opportunity for community members to earn extra income and provide a meaningful service. We believe our model will work elsewhere. Once established, we are committed to sharing our program and best practices with other communities to better serve older adults.
The Chelsea Senior Center strives to enhance the quality of life of older adults and their caregivers, helping them age by staying connected to their community and living where they choose. By supporting our innovative transportation solution, we will enable the freedom and independence we will all need to have the quality of life we deserve. Think of all the places we can go, and all the things we can do, when we are free to roam.
The Vital Seniors Community Innovation Competition is intended to catalyze and create enduring impact for the vulnerable seniors in our community and their caregivers. This exceptional initiative and its focus on innovation is in response to the lack of available resources to meet the current and future needs of Washtenaw County’s vulnerable seniors.
The Vital Seniors Competition is being funded by the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation through the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund. Please visit www.vitalseniorscomp.com for information.
The Chelsea Senior Center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit located in the Washington Street Education Center at 512 E. Washington St. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.