ATLANTA — With metro Atlanta's senior population increasing by double digits every year, the need to provide seniors with adequate transportation for medical appointments and activities at senior centers is a top priority.
Local county governments are aware of the needs and are doing something about it. Once a month, Diane Dawson, 62, of Clarkston, visits a doctor’s office to keep up with her medicines and her exams.
And DeKalb County's volunteer car service, I Care, makes sure she gets there and gets home. And it is all free.
“They stay with you and it’s not like an hour turnaround," Dawson said. "Once you ride with them, they pick you up, curbside service, they open the door and they are very very nice.”
She is one of a thousand DeKalb residents that I Care will transport this year. They do it with volunteers who even pay for their own gas.
“We have 65 drivers that are active and clients into the thousands and we've done over 5,000 since we've been in business for over 20 years,” said Paul McNulty, president of I Care.
For I Care volunteer drivers like Mary Jo Duncanson, it’s a most rewarding way to spend her retirement.
“The satisfaction comes from really helping someone who needs help," she said. "I drive people that I would not have met in any other context in my wife or theirs.”
And with Forbes Magazine calling Atlanta number one in the nation in its expanding senior population, a big problem is getting from here to there. Now for seniors, there are many options.
In addition to I CARE for Dekalb seniors; MOST and Starline serve Fulton; Common Courtesy volunteers handle Cobb, Fulton and Forsyth; Get-in-Gear and Demand Response are available in Gwinnett; the CATS program serves Cherokee; Senior Aging Services is available to residents of Clayton.
Other senior transportation services include Cobb Paratransit; Gwinnett Transit and MARTA Mobility.
Ms. Dawson summed up the transportation services best: “So cool. I love it. I love it.”
Senior Transportation Services
(Some are free and some require a small registration fee and a $1.00 per ride charge)
I CARE: Go To ICARESeniors.org
MOST and Starline: Call 404-613-6000
Cobb, Fulton and Forsyth
Common Courtesy Rides. Go to: CommonCourtesyRides.org.
Get-In-Gear/Demand Response: Go to the county senior services page.
CATS: Call 770-345-6238
Senior Aging Services: Go to the county aging program page