Volunteers needed to take older adults to medical appointments

If you enjoy driving and making a difference for older adults, consider becoming a volunteer for Care Connection’s Provide a Ride program.

Volunteer Provide-a-Ride (PAR) drivers transport aging adults to and from out-of-county medical appointments in the volunteers’ personal vehicles. Drivers may be reimbursed for their mileage.

“This program is important because it allows us to have someone local to take a client without transportation to a medical appointment out of town without having a wait,” said Penny Humphrey, Care Connection Transportation Coordinator. “The driver also will wait and transport the client back home after the appointment.”

Liz Rooks, of Sedalia, has served as a volunteer PAR Driver for several years.

“I enjoy doing it and feeling like I am providing a good service,” she said. “It’s not just being a driver. If a person needs help,you are there.”

Rooks said the car rides allow for plenty of companionship, and she has been able to help connect clients with other services that Care Connection offers.

A good volunteer PAR driver “would have empathy for folks. Someday, you may be in a position to need the help,” Rooks said. “Some people just don’t have family. If in the future, I need to get to a doctor’s appointment, I hope there will be a program like this that can help.”

PAR volunteers can help older adults who are able to drive locally but need a driver for an out-of-town medical procedure, Humphrey said.

To volunteer or learn more about PAR, call Humphrey at 1-800-748-7826.

Volunteers must be 21 years old, a licensed and insured driver, and agree to undergo background checks. They will be asked to accompany clients to cities and communities from one to two hours from home.

PAR volunteers are needed in all 13 counties in Care Connection’s area: Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Saline, St. Clair, and Vernon.

The PAR program is one of many services offered by Care Connection, a nonprofit area agency on aging that serves people 60 and older in 21 locations. The mission is to provide opportunities to create healthy aging experiences. For more information, visit www.goaging.org.