For Winnipeg seniors getting around the city can be difficult and costly. Now, CAA Manitoba is trying to encourage people to volunteer to drive them around with a new recognition program.
Joyce Rose has been volunteering her time to take Winnipeg seniors to appointments and on errands for over 30 years. It started with driving her mom to medical appointments, but soon she found she was driving her mom’s friends as well, from everywhere to a doctor’s office to shopping to social events.
“I saw a need, and I said, ‘We need to do this,’” said Rose. “Taxi drivers take you from point A to point B, but volunteer drivers will help you get into the right office that you belong in.”
Rose receives no money for her time but a few dollars for gas.
On Thursday, Rose was honoured with an award from CAA Manitoba.
CAA recently started The Driving Angels program, which recognizes the work of people like Rose.
“I’m taking this [award] on their behalf, not mine, because there’s all kinds of people that do what I do,” she said.
Rose is one of hundreds of volunteers work to help seniors who have few options for getting around, but many more are needed.
Seniors often have to choose between pricey cab rides or expensive services that drive seniors and help them get to their destinations once they leave the car.
One private driving service charges $40 an hour for accompanying a senior and driving them, plus a fare based on distance.
The problem is even worse when you get outside of the city. There are few Handi-Transit vans and many rural communities, she explained. Many seniors rely on volunteer-run services.
CAA hopes their new recognition program will help attract more volunteers and recognize the ones like Rose who have already spent a lot of time helping seniors.