Mind the Gap!
by Claire Ramsay
Being able to bridge the gap between your front door and your choice of transport is the most important aspect of being able to join in. If you can’t bridge that gap, you can’t get out.
Have you ever thought about that or is it really easy for you to walk through your front door, down the two little steps and into your car? Have I taken for granted the ability to walk 20 minutes to the train station or 10 minutes to the main road for the bus or even being able to phone a taxi?
Now I want you to think about it. What would you do if your mobility changed and you couldn’t get out? How frustrated would you become if your friends and family kept telling you to make the effort and go out? How lonely and isolated would you feel if you couldn’t get out to do the most basic of tasks such as food shopping let alone not being able to see your friends?
Bring in the cavalry in the form of Anne from Driving Miss Daisy. Anne is like a guardian angel, a shining light of hope and compassion who bridges the gap supporting people to get out. Anne spoke to me about “relaxed departures” by which she means giving people the time they need to make their own choices that enables them to go shopping, to their club or wherever they fancy. Anne offers people more than transport; she offers people the opportunity to live independently and to make decisions for themselves to retain control of their life.
Then there’s The Wee Red Bus. Have you seen them driving around taking people to afternoon teas and on shopping trips? They are supporting people to socialise, reducing the likelihood of social isolation and loneliness. They also offer an invaluable driving service taking people to medical appointments (GP referral required). They also are supporting people to live independently, to make decisions for themselves and retain control of their life.
So, as we get older it’s important to consider our options and think about how we navigate changes in circumstances. This way we retain choice and above all we retain our ability to remain active within our community and with our friends. Local enterprises like Driving Miss Daisy and charitable organisations like The Wee Red Bus play an important part in ending loneliness for tomorrow’s older people.
Note: Other service providers are available in East Renfrewshire.