Conversations on Aging ~ Kelsey Maddox

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Trickle down? Not far enough

Posted on September 5, 2018 by Kelsey Maddox

Remember the 2017 Federal tax breaks? The ones that promised to return cash to taxpayers through a trickle-down process, and increase spending by consumers to boost the economy? Well, they’re here.

Local Independent Mobility Options (LIMO) was launched eight years ago to address transportation needs for seniors in Sonoma Valley. Its volunteer drivers offer non-medical transportation to older adults (over 60 years of age). It serves seniors who can no longer drive, or who have temporary transportation needs for shopping, hairdresser, post office, or other destinations.

The LIMO program is valued by riders for its personalized service as much as for offering contact with friendly volunteers. Volunteers, in turn, love the program for its personal satisfaction and engagement in helping others.

Transportation for seniors is a growing need throughout the country, especially in rural areas where inadequate bus service or lack of taxi service fails to meet needs. It now seems that Federal funds aren’t available to provide communities with the previous support they offered. Why are we surprised, given recent governmental changes? Not even Amazon can get us to the grocery store.

We don’t even have to discuss how the 2017 “tax breaks” harm both children and older adults. I recently spoke with an Impact 100 board member who commented that the nonprofits in Sonoma Valley are unprepared for what lies ahead. She talked with me about the significant financial losses for social service programs that have previously relied heavily on Federal funds for survival.

So what happens? How do we make up this significant loss of revenue for a much-needed program? What happens to the many who benefit from LIMO in our beautiful, geographically extensive Valley?

Now the question becomes, how will we make up for the loss of funds? Will the public donate to and support programs like LIMO? Realize that seniors’ needs are growing disproportionately to the general public’s needs. As a segment of society, we are living longer and have more limited financial resources than any retiring group of Americans since the Great Depression. What will Sonoma Valley do as transportation options and other services begin to disappear as funding disappears?

You can make a start by helping fund rides for seniors. Will you drive for LIMO?

If you’ll help, specifically with LIMO, contact Denise Wilbanks, the LIMO coordinator at Vintage House, 996-0311. And communicate with other nonprofits to explore what they need in the near future.

 

 



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