In a recent Huffington Post article, the Independent Transportation Network – known to Central Kentuckians as ITN – was recognized as a program that’s “making a difference in the lives of the nation’s aging population.”
According to the article, baby boomers have long proclaimed their desire to stay in their homes post-retirement, a practice known as aging in place. They want to stay in the communities where they have friends, know their way around and have a support network.
Cities and communities have heard them and many places are preparing for the groundswell of what happens when their residents creep up in years. Building a senior citizen center is nice, but clearly there’s more to it than having a place to play Bingo.
In a list of eight smart ideas people have had about aging in place, ITN is mentioned.
According to the article: “Older drivers have slower reaction times and more vision issues. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But the ability to drive is synonymous with independence and independent living, so many older people are reluctant to give up their automobiles.
“Twenty years ago, inspired by a desire to keep unsafe drivers off the road after an 84-year-old motorist struck and seriously injured her toddler son, Katherine Freund started the Independent Transportation Network. ITN was launched in Portland Maine and has now spread to 25 cities. People who are 65 or older (or visually impaired), pay a modest fee and are provided a ride to where they need to go, a door-to-door escort and assistance. Forty-six percent of ITN customers have an annual income of less than $25,000 and only 2 percent found the service too expensive.
Best of all, seniors can trade in their cars and earn ride credits. Rides are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any purpose.”
Other ideas from the article included: The Bernard Osher Foundation which is the OLLI program at the University of Kentucky; doctors who make house calls; a NYC program that provides benches so folks can sit down and rest, and encouraging the building of lifelong housing – including a certification program for it – for houses with no step entries and a full bath on the first floor.
To learn more about ITN Bluegrass, visit: www.itnbluegrass.org