Getting from here to there can be challenging for seniorsPosté le May 20, 2015 par Ressources Soins Aînés Québec en Bénévolat, Blog - English, Centre pour Ainés, Communauté de retraités, Éducation aux Aidants, Personne Autonome, Ressources communautaires, Transport
Last Updated: September 24, 2013 4:59 PM EDT
This is the fourth in a series of articles about services for seniors in the West Island.
Giving up the driver’s license because of health or mobility issues brought on by age or because the spouse who did all the driving is gone is a huge blow for a senior.
It signals the loss of a measure of independence. Suddenly, driving to the supermarket to buy fresh vegetables or getting to the hospital for outpatient treatment becomes a major source of stress.
“Transportation for seniors is a huge challenge,” West Island community Resource Centre director Katie Hadley said. “For seniors who are still independent but can longer (or never did) drive, taxis can be expensive. There’s a local service in Pointe-Claire and Dorval called Navette Or, but what if you need to get to and from a downtown hospital for your cancer treatment?”
The cities of Pointe-Claire and Dorval in collaboration with the Société de transport de Montréal offer Navette Or – a shared, local taxi service which costs the price of a bus ride.
There are 30 stops in Pointe-Claire and 34 stops in Dorval.
To register in Pointe-Claire, call Aid for Seniors (514-630-1248) and to register in Dorval, call Community Aid (514-280-9055). To find complete details about the service and where it stops, visit http://bit.ly/16fuVba for Dorval, andhttp://bit.ly/18bt0Y4 for Pointe-Claire.
Some municipalities also offer a monthly number of free bus tickets. Check with your borough hall or city hall for details.
NOVA West Island has a free Palliative Transport program available for seniors with cancer who don’t have friends or family to help out and are financially strapped. A NOVA nurse completes an evaluation to see if a senior fits the criteria.
Each client is eligible for a maximum of two rides a week. Over the last fiscal year, NOVA gave 1,994 free rides.
“We have 52 volunteer drivers who serve around 33 clients a month,” NOVA executive director Marie-France Juneau said. “We do background checks on each volunteer driver and each car is equipped with a first aid kit.”
Volunteers claim gas costs and can drive a round trip, offer a one-way drive there or a pickup after the appointment. Drivers do not stay with the patients during their visit.
ABOVAS is a companion-driver service that serves Dorval to Senneville. The client pays a fee based on the number of kilometres travelled. Fees can range from $15 to $40. Clients with cancer, other life-threatening conditions and eye conditions are given priority.
In this case, the driver is also the companion, helping the senior to and from the car and staying for the duration of the appointment.
“Rehab centres refer patients to us, as do CLSCs,” director Denise Hupé said. “Clients can request our services by filling in an application online or by calling us.”
ABOVAS has around 50 volunteer drivers and averages around 42 companion-drives a week.
Volunteers are needed for a new ABOVAS initiative which will involve only companionship and not driving. The volunteer would accompany a client to and from appointments using adapted transportation booked by the client.
Dial-a-Daughter is run by Teresa Costa. She helps out in a myriad of ways, adapting to the needs of her clients, be it grocery shopping or doing paperwork. She also drives clients to medical appointments, stays with the client for the duration and, if so requested, have a discussion with the doctor with the client present.
Bookings are for a minimum of 2.5 hours. The fee is $55. If the booking runs longer than 2.5 hours, the hourly fee is $17. There is also a mileage fee of 45 cents per kilometre.
Costa recommends clients call a few days in advance of a doctor’s appointment to book her. Call 514-630-1982.
Seniors living in Lachine have three transportation options:
The Club des personnes handicapées du Lac-St-Louis offers rides to people with physical disabilities. The cost is a voluntary donation. First come first serve, so it is recommended you call well in advance of the appointment to reserve a ride. Call 514-634-0447.
The Teapot – 50 Plus Centre offers rides to doctors’ appointments to Lachine residents who are also members of the centre. For details, call 514-637-5627.
The Centre multi-ressources de Lachine offers accompanied rides to medical appointments. For details, call 514-634-3658.
For West Island seniors with mobility issues there is STM’s Paratransit. To find out if you are eligible for the service, call 514-280-8211 or visit www.stm.info/en/paratransit.
The private company Médicar also offers transportation to medical appointments for people with restricted mobility. For information, call 514-766-3342.
In May, the West Island Community Resource Centre celebrated 30 years of informing West Islanders about the many services and programs in the region. One of the centre’s most popular publications is the West Island Seniors’ Index which lists all types of services, programs and initiatives targeting seniors, including a list of transportation options. The 2011 edition is still available at the centre (114 Donegani Ave. in Pointe-Claire) and the 2014 edition will be published this Spring.