Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Greetings

It’s Halloween!  In honor of this special occasion, we’d like to share a festive display made for us by a Volunteer Transportation client:
It's a full-sized poster featuring all of the Halloween standbys, as well as Tweety Bird and Daffy Duck.  Amazing!

The text reads: Dear Cindy & staff, We really appreciate the rides you have provided for us throughout the year.  The drivers and your staff are so courtous [sic] and caring.  Hope the poster isn’t too scary.”  --The Caplan’s
The artist of this creative masterpiece is 85-year-old Meyer Caplan, who regularly receives rides from our volunteer drivers with his wife, Doris.  It must be noted that Meyer used no stencils or tracing paper to create these whimsical cartoon drawings; they were all carefully drawn by hand and patiently colored with impeccable precision.  Meyer says, “When you retire and you don’t have anything to do, you go nuts!  This has become my hobby.  I’ve been doing it for quite a few years now.”  He sends out similar posters to family and friends for all holidays and birthdays; he even reports that we can expect to receive another unique artistic message for Thanksgiving.  We can’t wait!
Meyer and Doris are very grateful for Volunteer Transportation.  He adds, “The drivers are so caring and just wonderful people.”  We are happy to display his token of appreciation in our office.

Our staff is lookin' good!

On that note, we wish you HAPPY HALLOWEEN from all of the “jolly jack-o-lanterns” at Senior Services’ Transportation Program (including “Chief Pumpkin,” Cindy; Lead Scheduler, Donald; Eastside and West Seattle Scheduler, Amy; and South King County Scheduler, Kailan)!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pained but Positive

Life is challenging for Barbara.  At 86, her body isn’t what it used to be.  She's had both knees replaced; she has a herniated disc in her back; and she suffers from extreme sciatic nerve pain.  She often feels overwhelmed and out of sorts.  “Sometimes, it’s like we’re drowning in everything.  All we want to do is just lie down,” she says as she talks about how she and her 88-year-old husband, Charles, spend their time. 

But the two of them still manage to get out and about.  Barbara and Charles both have frequent medical appointments, and they rely on Volunteer Transportation drivers to get them to clinics and home safely again.

Barbara didn’t feel up for an interview at this time, but she was very clear over the phone that she had a message to share with all those involved with the Volunteer Transportation program: “It has been tough to lose our independence, but you have made it easier.  It is an awesome program, and I think everyone who is a part of it is awesome.  I really do.  I can’t imagine life without it.” 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Accepting Help

When seniors first sign up for Volunteer Transportation, they frequently express a sense of relief to have discovered the program.  They are eager to receive rides from our volunteer drivers and thankful to have the service available to them.   Their spirits are high. 

But this is not always the case. Often times, there’s a sense of reluctance as seniors prepare to become Volunteer Transportation clients.  They are hesitant, even resistant, to register for the program.  Family members sometimes clue us in to their states of mind, “My dad really did not want me to contact you guys!  He is just so stubborn.”

It’s more than just stubbornness that prevents clients from embracing our transportation services with open arms.  Accepting help is hard.  Our society generally frowns upon those who can’t manage things on their own; independence is a fierce American value.

Anne Togher of Philips Lifeline also reminds us of the generational factors at play.  She writes, “Most seniors today are part of the generation called the Traditionalists, or the Silent Generation,
and the way they grew up is considerably different than the generations following them and the generations serving them. They are the generation who experienced some part of the Great Depression, they worked hard, stayed in their jobs for decades, and saved their money. Their values include sacrifice, loyalty and contributing to the collective good. Asking for help has not been part of their vocabulary and accepting it is even harder.”

It is important for us to acknowledge that, especially initially, clients of our program may come to us from this place of ambivalence.  It may not have been easy for them to reach out to us at Volunteer Transportation, but we hope that they will be forever grateful that they did. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Volunteer Transportation in AgeWise King County

The October edition of AgeWise King County features a thoughtful reflection about Volunteer Transportation.  You may recognize the three clients it describes from their more detailed profiles found on this blog.  Check it out by clicking here!

About Me

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“Behind the Wheel” offers stories, reflections, news and updates about Sound Generations’ (formerly Senior Services') Transportation Program. Throughout King County, our inspiring volunteers provide needed mobility to local seniors, supporting them in their efforts to remain independent, healthy, and happy. Please drop by to read more about the unique experiences of our volunteers, clients and staff!
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