October 10, 2018

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The Johnson County Senior Center plans to implement a program to make senior lives a little easier. My Ride Johnson County will be a non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) program for seniors age 60 and up. According to the CDC, many seniors become uncomfortable or unable to drive due to declining vision and cognitive functions. Reuters studies suggest that adults who no longer have the ability to be mobile freely have a much higher risk of depression. This program allows seniors to maintain their independence without undue risk.

“I’m so excited to receive this grant for the senior citizens of Johnson County,” declared senior center Director Kathy Motsinger. “I feel this will truly make a difference in peoples lives.”

My Ride Johnson County is a step towards a better future for Johnson County. Small areas such as Mountain City are seriously lacking in public transportation. Through My Ride Johnson County, seniors can get rides to pretty much anywhere in the county. Some examples include doctor’s offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, beauty shops and more.

My Ride Johnson County is akin to programs such as Uber or Lyft. The main difference is cost. My Ride Johnson County depends on a network of volunteers who provide this service to local seniors for only $6. The service is designed to benefit seniors regardless of financial means. Offering this service at a low cost means that any senior can participate.

My Ride Johnson County is possible in part because of generous donations. Johnson County Bank recently donated $500 to the cause, and Farmers State Bank donated $1000. Not everyone is able to donate money. Locals can make a difference by donating time. My Ride Johnson County is in need of volunteer drivers. Special vehicles are not required however seniors may have trouble with certain types of vehicles. For example, a vehicle such as an SUV or truck with a high step would not be easy to enter.

“I’m still hoping to reach more volunteers,” said Motsinger. We are having a MyRide Launch Day at the Senior Center on Friday, October 26th at 1pm. I encourage everyone to come out and learn more about this program. We are hoping to start the transportation the first of November.”

My Ride Johnson County launches on Friday, October 26. Membership applications are available for both volunteers and riders at the Johnson County Senior Center. Find out more information about the program at 423-727-8883. The Johnson County Senior Center is a nonprofit organization that provides services for people 60 and older in the Johnson County area.