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Lewisboro Seniors Can Stay Mobile with New Ride Program

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Lewisboro Parks and Rec Department and its adult senior program have long sought to help its senior population be more mobile, and now they’re getting some help from private agencies and the county.

A new program, known as RideConnect, is an initiative of Family Services of Westchester (FSW), a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian agency. RideConnect is designed to be a transportation referral program – a clearing house of sorts that will help seniors find the fastest and most cost-efficient options to find rides to doctor’s appointments, hairdresser appointments, shopping trips and even visits to a friend’s house.

Pam Veith, Lewisboro’s senior adult director, said that the town offers seniors its “white bus” for regularly scheduled shopping trips and has one volunteer on tap to take people to things such as doctor appointments. She said RideConnect will help spread the word and offer additional options as well.

“Lewisboro offers transportation to medical appointments, and the senior white bus provides transportation to to specific shopping destinations,” she said. “If someone was new to the community and wasn’t aware, they could call RideConnect and it would give them the resources in the community. They might even have names of taxi services that have discounts and vouchers for senior.”

Veith said the idea for RideConnect began two years ago.

“Different towns got together with Family Services of Westchester to brainstorm ways we could better serve the senior population,” she said. “Out of this RideConnect was born. What is nice about it is [RideConnect has] already done all the research for you. They’ve connected with towns and churches and established this list of resources where seniors can find transportation. It’s just getting off the ground. What we really need now are more volunteers.”

Volunteers must be 55 or older, enjoy being with older adults, have patience, a flexible schedule and a valid and clean driver’s license. Those interested can contact Karen Ganis, RideConnect’s program director, at 914-864-0955 or e-mail kganis@fsw.org .

Westchester County’s Department of Senior Programs and Services (DSPS) underwrote part of the RideConnect initiative after a Priority Pulse survey it conducted found that transportation was the greatest need for seniors today and their greatest anticipated need in future years.“Mobility is essential,” said DSPS Commissioner Mae Carpenter.  “Not being able to get out can lead to depression and all sorts of bad stuff.”

Besides Lewisboro, Ride Connect also serves seniors in Mount Kisco, Katonah, North Salem, North Castle, Pound Ridge and Somers.

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