Senior rides

Shaw

Plans to unveil a rideshare program for the ages 65 and older community is in the works for Wilson County, according to Susan Shaw, project administrator for the county mayor.

“It’s essentially an Uber for our seniors,” Shaw said. “We are the fastest-growing county in Tennessee. Over 15 percent of our population is over 65. Our county has the fifth-highest numbers of seniors out of 95 counties.

“And that segment is expected to rise by 44 percent by 2030.” 

The program is expected to be operational by the end of the year and will provide rides for seniors. Pharmacies, doctors’ offices for appointments and grocery stores are expected to be places of high interest.

Shaw said that there will be a scheduling software that allows participants to schedule rides, and those rides will be provided by a pool of volunteers.

“We have a large 55-plus population that have retired early and they have the skills,” she said, about likely volunteers.

“We also want people to stay in their homes longer and stay independent. In order to do that they need transportation. Wilson County is spread out and there are not a lot of public transportation options,” Shaw said.

Although Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency has public transit, Shaw and others helping to create this program believe that the new program fills gaps.

“Mid-Cumberland is for anybody while this program is just for seniors,” Shaw said. “What exists currently is not enough. The other thing is the individuality of it. So, you don’t need to go to three different stops. 

“And the driver will wait there with you. So, we see that as a pretty big benefit.”

Shaw said that the senior ride program is also part of a bigger effort to use volunteerism to cater to the aging issues in Wilson County. An ongoing seminar series has covered topics like decluttering, financial scams and fire safety.

“The best thing about this is that it is that no taxpayer dollars are being used,” Shaw said.

Shaw said members of the Wilson County Health Council have joined with her to help develop the ride program.

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