Some older residents in need of
rides to medical appointments
TRI-CITY AREA — Providing safe and sufficient transportation for local senior citizens was the focus at a series of meetings held last Tuesday and Wednesday at various locations in Lapeer County.
The meetings were coordinated by the Lapeer County Transportation Coalition and based on the findings of a community survey conducted by the Four County Community Foundation.
The results of the survey indicated that transportation to and from medical appointments was at the top of the list of seniors’ needs.
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, Christy Campoll of RLS & Associates facilitated a public discussion on the matter at the Almont Village/Township Hall.
On behalf of the Lapeer County Transportation Coalition, Campoll has been seeking community input as it relates specifically to senior citizens.
Campoll said meeting the transportation needs of seniors in rural communities can be particularly challenging.
“Because there is usually limited public transportation available in rural areas, some seniors remain stuck at home and unable to get to their medical appointments,” she said.
Campoll added that a recent survey conducted by McLaren Lapeer Region Hospital found that a significant number (one-third) of seniors do not get regular medical checkups; nor do they get their annual flu or pneumonia shots.
Most of those in attendance at Tuesday’s forum in Almont said they can usually get a family member or friend to take them shopping or drive them to appointments.
However, others said finding a driver when they need one can be difficult.
Role of GLTA
One transportation option for seniors is the Greater Lapeer Transportation Authority (GLTA), which is based in the City of Lapeer and operates on a budget of about $2 million per year. However, not all of Lapeer County’s townships participate in that service.
Near the conclusion of the meeting, there was a suggestion that a countywide millage request be placed on the ballot to pay for senior transportation.
In 2018, Lapeer County residents approved the renewal of a 4-year. .25-mill levy to maintain senior citizen services, including Meals on Wheels, personal care and respite care.
Providing transportation for seniors to and from appointments was not included in the ballot language.
In addition to the meeting in Almont, Campoll hosted similar public forums at the Hadley Town Hall, the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds, Lapeer County EMS Education Facility in Lapeer, the Imlay City Senior Center, and the Goodland Twp. Hall.
For further information regarding the transportation needs of senior citizens, contact Four County Community Foundation Director Kathy Dickens at 810-798-0909, or e-mail to email@example.com.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.