Via The Green Hills News
While Tennessee residents aged 65 years and older account for nearly 20 percent of the voting-eligible population in the state, it is difficult for many older residents to vote in elections—for the simple fact that they are unable to drive themselves to their polling locations. One non-profit organization is here to help. Senior Ride Nashville, a new community program that pairs older adults who no longer drive with volunteers who do, finds it important that their riders are able to vote on Election Day or vote early if they so choose.
“It’s important that all of our voices are heard this November,” commented Senior Ride Executive Director Carrie Brumfield. “While most of our rides are to essential destinations like doctor’s appointments or grocery stores, there is one trip that will be very important on November 6th, and that is to polling locations. We are working hard to ensure that our riders and all of our volunteer drivers help each other to cast their votes.”
Senior Ride Nashville, founded in November 2017, has grown rapidly to address the need for improved mobility options for our aging population. With now over 95 volunteer drivers and 150 enrolled riders, Senior Ride Nashville has expanded from their initial service area of West Nashville into additional communities and has provided over 2,500 trips in their first year. They now offer their services in Madison, Donelson, Hermitage, Old Hickory and East Nashville with the goal to grow to cover all riders in the entirety of Davidson County.
“Our services are vital to those in our community who are no longer able to drive themselves or who limit their driving. Our program has been designed to be an affordable, assisted option for older adults who find themselves without reliable transportation after they retire from driving,” stated Brumfield. “Studies show that rates of depression, isolation, loneliness and food scarcity increase when an individual loses the ability to drive. We are confident that by working together, we can create a community that is more supportive of all of us as we age, and provide not just rides, but caring relationships.”
The success of Senior Ride Nashville is due entirely to the willingness of Nashville’s driving population to serve as volunteers. Volunteer drivers are able to choose riders based on the time of day and destination, so it can best fit into drivers’ schedules. “We want to make sure that our volunteer drivers have flexibility when choosing the rides they provide,” explained Brumfield. “Without our volunteer drivers, our program would not be possible and the need for improved senior transportation would remain unmet for many. We need more caring, reliable volunteer drivers so that we can serve more seniors. Give a ride and make a difference!”
There is no more important place to be on November 6th than at a polling location. And for many of Senior Ride Nashville’s volunteer drivers and riders, that is where they will be. For more information on Senior Ride Nashville, visit their website at www.seniorridenashville.org or call (615) 610-4040.