Laurie, Kari, and John

Laurie Solotorow and Kari Sederburg of the Health Fund posing with their Bridge to Wellness t-shirts, courtesy of John Greenslit, Bridge to Wellness program manager for RSVP.

For many people, getting to the doctor’s office is as simple as getting in the car. But for seniors and individuals with disabilities, making it to a medical appointment can be onerous, and sometimes impossible. Many of these residents don’t have the option of driving themselves, and public transportation or paratransit services aren’t always adequate.

This is a compounding problem: if you’re unable to get to the doctor because of your condition or disability, your health is more likely to worsen—so you need more health care, which you still can’t get to. In other words, those most in need of medical attention might face even worse outcomes simply because of a lack of transportation.

To help seniors get to the health care they need, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Ingham, Eaton and Clinton Counties (RSVP) is launching Bridge to Wellness. The initiative will coordinate RSVP volunteers to drive seniors and individuals with disabilities to and from medical appointments, both for those who need occasional service and those who need regular transportation for active treatments.

The Health Fund is supporting Bridge to Wellness by helping with startup costs including staff, technology needs, and communications. Our funding will help cover mapping and coordination software to optimize volunteer time, as well as a medical driving coordinator to manage operations. The program will begin operating in Ingham County, but could expand in the future.

RSVP anticipates receiving dozens of calls a day once they launch the program. That means dozens of people receiving vital health care they would not otherwise be able to access—in other words, a true Bridge to Wellness.

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