It dives deep into the community’s most pressing issues and explores the changes happening throughout Boulder County through the experiences of community members, especially those often rendered invisible by commercial media, to shed light on community challenges, solutions, and pathways forward for the county and the country.
Listen to all TRENDS episodes over at KGNU’s website at https://news.kgnu.org/category/trends/.
An excerpt from the episode TRENDS Podcast: Isolation Among Seniors:
Transportation is a crucial part of the puzzle. While many seniors still drive, physical and visual impairments can stop many others from getting behind the wheel. If seniors can’t leave the house, they run the risk of being further isolated. That’s where organizations like Via Mobility come in. The non-profit provides transportation services and resources to older adults and people with disabilities. Anybody living with any sort of mobility limitation.
One of the regular passengers, Diane Ferguson, relies on this service to get to her different appointments.
“I’m 70 years old and I’m very grateful that they have taken me a lot of places in and around Boulder, and I’m glad I didn’t have to isolate. I live alone with my cat.”
Joyce Bowen, another Via passenger, says that for her “the service is invaluable.”
“About three months ago, something hit my eyes. And for about a month I was blind, and I think they called it a hemorrhage in the eyes. And so, I work out twice a week – or did and so – I had to find some way to get over there.”
Joyce has lived in Boulder for 60 years and has deep roots in the community. Roots that she doesn’t want to lose just because she is having challenges with mobility.
“I taught school for 30 years. I taught mathematics, and before that, I was a geophysicist. And so, I’ve always kind of been in control of where I work and what I do, until I, well, I guess everybody is, they grow older even, you may have problems of some sort. So, I don’t know. And I did a lot of volunteer work, but I can’t get around so that’s out. So, I have to completely rethink my life and what I’m going to do. But I have to work out because if I don’t work out, I may just get to be somebody that just sits around and does nothing. And I don’t want to do that.”
Lyndsy Morse, the communications manager at Via, says the service helps people stay engaged with the community.
“It’s something that I think, in general, as a whole in society, is kind of diminishing. So, people who are used to it, who may have had friends, I’m really close to them and easy access to drive to different social engagements. Or, let’s say an older couple who lives in Boulder, but their family has all moved away. They don’t have the same social engagements that they were used to when they were in their younger years. So, having a way to get to and from social engagements that they still want to participate in can be one of the biggest hurdles for folks. So, we want to make sure that we can provide transportation, not just to those essential medical appointments, to get people to work. We want to be able to provide services to folks to just experience quality of life activities, whether that’s a trip to the library or to go play bingo with friends, or to go to church.”
Morse says that the need in Boulder County is much greater than the capacity they have at Via.
“We provide about a hundred thousand trips a year, and that doesn’t scratch the surface of the need, realistically.”
Having a social connection to other people and a sense of belonging in a community makes a huge difference to the quality of life of seniors.