Author: Chris Edwards, Divisional Director of Community Impacts, Jewish Family Services
The "On the Go Navigator" program is helping San Diego seniors who struggle to get around get rides to where they want to go. The program, offered by Jewish Family Services, serves as a middleman between seniors, who can no longer see well enough or physically use a smartphone, and rideshare companies, such as Lyft.
"It really is a life-saver for so many of our seniors," says program coordinator Maureen Glaser. "Getting from point 'A' to point 'B' helps them keep their quality of life."
While transportation services for seniors are not new, many required advanced booking of as much as a week.
With the "Navigator" program, rides can be booked within an hour. The senior simply makes a phone call to the dispatch center. A team of volunteers is standing by to arrange the Lyft ride. The volunteer then tracks the ride in real time, to make sure the senior gets where they want to go and safely returns home.
Beryl Hart, an 82-year-old La Mesa woman who uses the program, said the service is necessary to mobility.
"It's the difference between getting up in the morning and knowing you can go somewhere and getting up in the morning and feeling you're up against a brick wall," Hart said.
The senior pays the Lyft fare, along with a $4 service charge. The program also gets a grant from The San Diego Foundation to help fund the dispatch center.
More information about the program can be found on the Jewish Family Service website.