More than 20 years ago Katherine Freund, a young mother from Portland, Maine, learned first-hand the terrible consequences of elders who continue to drive despite failing health, poor eyesight and loss of quick reflexes. Her young son, was suddenly critically injured by an elderly driver.
What do we do when aging parents should no longer be driving? How do we take that last bit of independence from them? There is never a simple solution, but after her son’s long and difficult recovery it became Katherine’s quest – to allow elders to maintain their independence and dignity despite giving up their car and license. That quest became the Independent Transportation Network (ITN)), a national organization dedicated to finding solutions for transportation needs for seniors and others with vision problems. One of those solutions is the door-to-door, arm-to-arm program that offers transportation on demand, either at no cost or greatly reduced cost. Transportation is provided mostly by volunteers using private cars (instead of vans and buses), giving elderly riders more comfort and attention.
ITNAmerica has grown tremendously since we first met Katherine. Today there are sixteen ITN affiliates scattered across the country with more communities in various stages of program development. The Good People Fund has offered support to one of the newest affiliates in Central Connecticut which began offering rides only a few years ago. Our offer to match new funds was quickly met and today ITNCentralCT offers 24/7 service to the area’s many seniors and visually impaired residents. As one woman mentioned, "I think it’s like having my own chauffeur."
Indeed it is.