Transport forum drives ways to help Howick’s seniors

By HBH - 14 December 2018

Transport forum drives ways to help Howick’s seniors

A transport forum and morning tea for Howick’s senior citizens held on Friday 30th November proved to be a great success. Hosted by the Virtual Village Howick, the event was designed to help seniors understand their transport options if they can’t drive now or in the future.

Many locals attended the forum and reported that it was very informative and helped create a real sense of community. Attendees found it particularly helpful to meet transport providers face-to-face rather than having to work out how to use the service online.

Barbara Davis, a member of the Virtual Village Howick establishment group, spoke of life when she was growing up and how people in her neighbourhood surrounded each other with support. “That’s the concept behind the Virtual Village,” she said. “The aim of the first event was to put this into action – to create a morning of fellowship and support by sharing information on transport options as you age.”

Many local providers of senior services attended, including representatives from Driving Miss Daisy, Age Concern, Freedom Drivers, St John, Citizen Advice Bureau and Independent Living. Charles Miller, who runs Driving Miss Daisy for Howick, spoke of the difference between them and a taxi service. “We aim to provide that little bit of extra help, such as bringing food shopping to the door and ensuring we have space for wheelchairs or walkers.”

He stressed that it’s a good idea to start using these services gradually – for example, using Driving Miss Daisy for longer, more stressful trips like going to the airport, hospital or if going out at night. That way, you don’t lose your independence but keep it ticking over by filling in the gaps.

The Virtual Village Howick is an initiative established by East Health Trust and HBH Senior Living for seniors in Howick. It’s designed to support older people in the community to age well by creating a ‘virtual neighbourhood’ of people who support each other to enjoy life, stay healthy and remain in their own homes for as long as they wish.

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Lisa Waldren