After a two-year pause due to COVID concerns, AgeWell Pittsburgh’s Rides and Visits program is relaunching this spring. AgeWell Pittsburgh is a collaborative program of the Jewish Association on Aging, the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, and JFCS Pittsburgh that assists older adults and their caregivers in maintaining a healthy and independent life. In addition to a helpline to answer questions and make referrals to resources, the program relies on volunteers to provide local seniors with transportation options, companionship, and support.
Almost 90% of older adults in America choose to age in place, in their own homes and neighborhoods. Programs like AgeWell Pittsburgh provide key services to help seniors live independently and avoid isolation, which is especially important as COVID restrictions ease and more people are leaving their homes on a regular basis. With considerations for health and safety precautions, AgeWell Rides and Visits is starting back up this spring to ensure that older adults in our community can get the support they need through friendship and transportation.
Accessible and affordable transportation is a key part of older adults being able to age in their own homes as they continue to live active and social lives. Through AgeWell Rides, volunteers take seniors grocery shopping, to the pharmacy, to medical appointments, or even to social events while also providing conversation and companionship throughout the drive. This free service is available for individuals over 60 who do not drive and who live in the Oakland, Squirrel Hill, and Shadyside neighborhoods.
AgeWell Visits provides much-needed companionship for seniors over 65 in the Oakland, Squirrel Hill, and Shadyside neighborhoods. Seniors host the volunteer visitor in their home once a month. In the past, families, high school students, college students, and adults of all ages have volunteered for this program. Because social isolation in older adults can lead to increased physical and mental health risks, this program is a key part of helping seniors live healthy, independent lives.
Aimee Haldeman, the new Older Adult Care Coordinator at JFCS, talks about what this relaunching means for the community: “We’re excited to be able to provide these programs for our community’s seniors again,” she said. “With COVID, many older adults faced extreme social isolation, especially with concerns over health risks. Now that we can safely provide AgeWell Rides and Visits again, we can ensure that all those in our community who are choosing to age in place can feel supported and access the services they need.”
With the restarting of these two programs, AgeWell Pittsburgh is in need of volunteers. They are looking for drivers for the AgeWell Rides program, as well as families, students, or any other individuals interested in supporting older adults for the AgeWell Visits program. Past volunteers have expressed how meaningful these opportunities have been for them. And for older adults, the programs can be life-changing and make the difference in their ability to live independently.
To learn more or sign up to volunteer, call 412-422-0400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.