One of the most difficult aspects of aging is the loss of independence. When driving is no longer feasible, senior adults in Cherokee County must look for ways to buy groceries, make doctors’ appointments and attend social events. Usually, the first option is to rely on family and friends. This can quickly become a burden on family relationships and friendships. So, one must ask, “What are the transportation options where I live?”
I learned about an unexpected option while waiting for an exercise class to begin. I saw one of the seniors get out of the backseat of a car, and the driver exit the parking lot. I asked him who his driver was. “He’s my Uber driver!” the gentleman said.
I was surprised at his response because he is in his late 80s, and I underestimated his technical knowledge. He explained, “My son doesn’t want me driving anymore, so he told me he would pay for my Uber transportation. See this app on my phone? I just type in where I want to go and wait for the driver to arrive. From Woodstock to Canton doesn’t cost very much, and my son would rather pay for me to ride than worry about me driving.”
This is one example of how families can easily solve the issue of no longer wanting their loved one to drive. Most seniors have smartphones, and the app is one of the simplest to use. After this experience, I downloaded the app and have since used Uber a number of times.
Another option is through the office of Cherokee County Senior Services. CATS (Cherokee Area Transit System) operates five days a week to provide transportation for all county residents. Rides are provided to many popular destinations such as:
- Northside Cherokee Hospital
- Major shopping areas
- Nursing homes
- Employment sites
- Medical facilities in Woodstock and Canton
Reservations must be made in advance. Dates book up quickly, so call early to schedule transportation. Fares vary based on mileage. The cost is $1.50 per trip for the first 5 miles and an additional 30 cents per mile over 5 miles. Limited service is available for adults with disabilities. For information, call 770-345-6238 or visit www.cherokeega.com.
There also is the Volunteer Driver Program at Senior Services. Screened volunteers assist seniors with transportation to critical appointments, grocery shopping, errands, etc. Currently, there is a waiting list. Call 770-345-1224 for information.
– Nathan Brandon, retired from Cherokee County Senior Services, and remains involved in community organizations that focus on senior adults.