FAMU partners with Elder Care Services

Photo Courtesy of Moriah Iglesias, Volunteer of Elder Care Services

Elder Care Services is collaborating with FAMU’s COVID site in order to provide vaccination shots to seniors ages 60 and over.

Elder Care Services is working to provide transportation for seniors to this vaccination site at then Lawson Center with the help of volunteers and a desire to help seniors in the Tallahassee community.

Elder Care Services has had a grant for seniors in volunteerism since 1991 that allows for this program to host seniors who are willing to volunteer for other seniors in the Tallahassee area. With volunteers ages 55 and up, the transportation program that is in place under this grant is called Seniors Transporting at Risk Seniors (STARS).

“All of the volunteers have received their shot and are excited about coming back,” CEO/President of Elder Care Services, Jocelyn Fliger said in regard to the STARS program being tabled since the start of the pandemic. “We saw how perfectly it [the STARS program] complemented what we were trying to accomplish and that’s how it all transpired.”

Fliger says that, according to studies, seniors are “happier, healthier, and live longer” if they were to volunteer. The application of this concept during the pandemic made this program more amplified and effective in encouraging more seniors to volunteer.

The first line of service is seniors who serve as volunteers for Elder Care Services, who have been vaccinated. Elder Care Services has a coordinator who sets up the appointment for the senior who is looking for transportation and the volunteer. Once the day and time are set, the volunteer takes the senior to the Lawson Center and takes them back home.

Group rides are also available. Last week, three seniors were picked up as a group by Fliger.

According to FAMU spokesman Andrew  Skerritt, “Already 88 seniors have indicated their willingness to get vaccines at the 1800 Wahnish Way location. Seniors will be transported individually by volunteers who have been vaccinated.”

Thus far, Elder Care Services is pleased with the turnout, especially since it was just recently introduced.

“We’ve been able to give seniors rides with a respectable turnaround time,” Fliger said.  “The FAMU component of the program is more reliable than having to schedule appointments with their doctors.”

If there were any mobility issues, the director at FAMU made sure that those issues were confronted. There is also a drop-off spot for seniors who use wheelchairs.

“Transportation is already an issue for many seniors in normal times,” Fliger said. “But I think this is a way to address transportation concerns for seniors.”

Elder Care Services is encouraging seniors in the community to give them a call if interested in transportation services provided by volunteers and employees.

“We’re so excited to get this program going and help our community get the vaccine,” said Nicole Ballas, the director of Fund Development at Elder Care Services.  “We want to make sure that everyone knows that they can call Elder Care if they need transportation or if they want to know how to sign up for in-home administration.”

If seniors are interested in receiving transportation to FAMU’s Lawson Center COVID-19 vaccination site, all that is needed to set up a date and time for transportation is a phone call to Elder Care Services, Inc. The number to call is 850-921-5554.