Calgary group recruiting volunteers to drive seniors to appointments

If you have a couple of hours to spare, the Calgary Seniors' Resource Centre can help you fill them.

Calgary Seniors' Resource Centre will need extra help when vaccination rollout gets underway

The Calgary Seniors' Resource Centre says more volunteers are needed for its escorted transportation program, as the number of people in need has increased during the pandemic. (Emma Mattos)

If you have a couple of hours to spare, the Calgary Seniors' Resource Centre can help you fill them.

The agency needs drivers for its escorted transportation program, which would include taking seniors to medical appointments and COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Emma Mattos, the program's supervisor, says there are 87 seniors waiting to have access to the program.

"I think basically the more volunteers we have, the more seniors we can help," she told the Calgary Eyeopener. 

She says the program has always been in high demand, but since the pandemic, the need has increased.

"Seniors, we're finding, are less comfortable taking public transit if that's what they relied on before the pandemic," she said.

"And we've also seen an increase in demand because the Cancer Society has paused their Wheels of Hope program."

Mattos says volunteers have tried their best to accommodate all those that need rides, but it's expected there will be an increase once the vaccination rollout accelerates.

"We've created kind of a branch of our escorted transportation program called "Transportation for Vaccination," and it's just designed to kind of accommodate the requests we anticipate coming," she said.

The organization plans to expand its services to make rides available on evenings and weekends.

"Just to try to get to make it open to more volunteers who might not be available during the weekday and then to accommodate as many of those rides as we can as well," she said.

Mattos says they're making the program more flexible to attract more volunteers.

"The volunteers make their own schedule. They can do one ride a week. They can do one ride a month. It's very open in terms of commitment," she said.

And if you are looking for other ways to help, you can also volunteer for the organization's Friendly Check-In program, where volunteers call seniors a couple times a week.

"It's social support, but it's also kind of a wellness check to see if there's any essentials that they're missing," she said.

If you want to learn more about the efforts or how to apply for a variety of volunteer work, check out the Calgary Seniors' Resource Centre website.

  • Listen to the full interview below:
On today's podcast: The latest COVID 19 rules for gym and fitness club owners; the healing effects of music, we speak with a music therapist and a patient recovering from brain surgery; an oh so Canadian story involving a rink, kids playing hockey, and a beaver; but to start, remittance. The sacrifices made by Filipino-Canadians who call Calgary home, but send money back to friends and relatives. 29:05

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.


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