Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today announced he has secured $12,000 in the 2008-2009 State Budget for a senior transportation program operated through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Columbia County.
The R.I.D.E. program (Retired Individuals Driving Elderly) matches people ages 55 and over in need of transportation for medical appointments or treatment with volunteer drivers. Volunteers are reimbursed for mileage and receive insurance coverage. In 2007, volunteer drivers made 1,370 round trips and the client list now tops 900.
"It is vitally important that seniors who wish to remain in their homes be able to do so as long as possible," said Senator Saland. "Being unable to drive, however, is one of the reasons seniors must leave their homes. The R.I.D.E. program is a lifeline for many seniors, enabling them to get to needed medical appointments safely and without expense. I am pleased to have been able to once again provide funding for this worthwhile program."
"Some clients of R.I.D.E. have been with the program from the beginning 15 years ago, and Senator Saland has been providing help every year for the entire time to help us stay on the road. This program is literally a life saver, transporting people to chemotherapy appointments, eye operations and doctors visits. Very few of our clients have been forced into nursing homes because R.I.D.E. was there to transport them to vital health care appointments. It helps to keep them in their homes where they want to be. We are so happy to know that Senator Saland supports our work and provides us with grants to help keep this essential program running," said Marcella Beigel, Director, RSVP.