Transportation for older adults is a common topic of discussion for communities looking to become more age-friendly in both urban and rural settings, and Age-Friendly Berkshires will be testing a solution for their region.
Inclusive of 32 cities and towns in a predominantly rural part of Massachusetts, Age-Friendly Berkshires joined the AARP network of age-friendly communities as a region in 2015 and is coordinating a wide range of organizations, planners, businesses and local leaders to improve healthy aging policies and practices.
The new pilot project, which will run from June to December of 2017, is funded by the National Aging & Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) and will provide transportation to pre-arranged medical visits for older adults and those with disabilities without other transportation options.
Funding will reimburse Councils on Aging in Adams, Dalton, Lanesborough, North Adams, Pittsfield, Richmond and Sheffield, which will provide rides under the program to surrounding municipalities along with other transportation providers who cross jurisdictional/municipal boundaries. Individuals requesting rides will call a centralized number at Elder Services of Berkshire County and that organization will determine if older adults in the area can be accommodated by participating transportation providers. Transportation providers will enter information on rides provided into a real-time, on-line system to facilitate reimbursement.
Information on need will be made available after the pilot is over.
For audio and video of the announcement, see media coverage from WAMC – Northeast Public Radio.