a Bolinas and Stinson Beach Seniors' Group

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Car Trouble in Paradise

The Marin Commission on Aging holds one meeting a year in West Marin, usually at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station. In 1994 the agenda was a presentation of the status of the aged in West Marin, with emphasis on their special needs, for presentation at the decennial Whitehouse Conference on Aging in 1995 (Bush declined to attend the conference in 2005 - res ipsa loquitur).

I told the Commission that West Marin was in many ways a wonderful place to grow old in - beautiful, peaceful surroundings, small towns where nearly everyone knows nearly everyone, where people are genuinely concerned for the welfare of their townsfolk and so on. The trouble is that these virtues come at the price of a degree of remoteness, that to get necessary services, from food shopping to medical care, travel is required, which is not too serious as long as one can drive.

Anyone who is concerned with caring for the elderly (such as the Coordinators for West Marin Senior Services) will tell you that the hardest duty they have to perform is taking the car keys from a senior. This adds one more disability, both actually and metaphorically, to those already endured: the loss of independence and freedom, the necessity of relying on others for transportation. The most intractable problem is finding those others. (One irony here is that The Stagecoach which was originated by an initiative from WMSS has turned out to be unsuitable for nearly all requirements of the area seniors.)

About fifteen years ago there was a handful of volunteers, all men, who provided driving service for our seniors. The problem was that they were all retirees, seniors themselves. In the years since that pool has dried up – the drivers became clients (or died). We have not been able to replace them and the lack of suitable transportation has reached crisis proportions.

I am hoping that this page can be the beginning of some relief in recruiting volunteers for services for our aged, driving and others. If you are able to give a little time – one day a month, or a quarter, whatever – please contact Jody Timms.

Other than that I am looking for ideas on how to get some participation using this website. Should I set up some sort of data base for people to sign up? A calendar for requests for service and offers of service? Or? Please send me your suggestions.

Roger Kovach