Growing older comes with challenges. It can be isolating, at times lonely. Some seniors can no longer drive, others choose not to but they still need a way to socialize and get around. Senior Access, formerly known as “Drive a Senior - Senior Access,” gives older citizens their freedom back. This nonprofit does so much. That's why they are in this week's spotlight.
Laura Opheim is a woman on the move. Today, she is taking Minnie to the pain doctor. It's one of many stops she'll make. Her granddaughter Sophie is her co-pilot.
"You meet so many neat people," Opheim said. The organization provides transportation and support services to seniors 60 and older in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto, and East Austin. Seniors like Minnie, appreciate the lift.
"I don't drive and my daughter is at work and so when I can't get a friend to take me I will call," Minnie said.
While Minnie heads to the doctor, volunteer Jim Savage is wrangling his troops a few streets down.
Jim drives the Senior Access van service and he's taking a large group to HEB.
"Many of them don't buy very many groceries, they just go for the social time," Savage adds.
Senior Access does it's best to help seniors stay independent. But to do that, they need volunteers.
"If you can give one hour a week, one hour a month it’s all appreciated," said Executive Director Serita Lacasse.
In addition to rides, the non-profit offers handyman services. Have a grandma who loves to chat? Don't worry, volunteers can give them a call or pay them a visit.
"Somebody just going in and visiting and listening to that story that they've told their kids a million times, it’s someone new to tell that story and it’s amazing," said Lacasse.
Opheim remembers how hard it was to travel cross county to take care of her folks. They've since passed and so she volunteers now in their memory.
"My desire was to help others because I couldn't be here to help my own parents," she said.
Whether you volunteer to honor a loved one or just to gain a new friend, the reward on both sides is greater than you can imagine.
"You can bring your kids, you can bring your grandchildren and show them what it’s like to give back because we are all going to need help, and we are all getting older," said Lacasse.
Senior Access provides services to more than 1400 clients and offers about 250 rides per week.
They also have a loan closet which provides wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and other mobile devices to those who are in need. TAP OR CLICK HERE if you'd like to donate or become a volunteer.