April 9, 2012
(De Soto, Kansas) Receiving a driver’s license brings the American Dream of independence for the rest of your life. With a car, most mobility needs can be dealt with in a matter of minutes whether it is a trip to the grocery store or to the doctor’s office. However, the ranks of those age 65 and older has grown to approximately 10% of the population. When the last of the 77 million baby boomers joins the ranks of those 65 and older approximately 20% of the population will be seniors. Mr. Goodcents Foundation for Senior Independence provides a voice and support for senior mobility.
“Mobility is about dignity and quality of life,” said Jim Courtney, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “Loss of mobility is the # 1 issue for senior independence.”
Community mobility is a huge opportunity. Seniors travel primarily within their community; shopping, medical visits, social activities and more. Seniors regulate driving avoiding heavy traffic, freeways and more but statistically men outlive the ability to drive safely by 6 years and women by 10 years. What will communities do?
- Destinations are often too far to walk.
- Less that half of households in urban and suburban areas are within a half-mile of a transportation stop or station.
- Does your community have sidewalks or trails that encourage walking or biking?
- Doing nothing is a risk – when a senior is no longer able to move about the community:
- The risk of depression increases as they become isolated.
- The risk to good health and welfare increases as the ability to obtain needed goods and services is restricted.
- The risk to mental health increases as dependence increases.
Joe Bisogno, founder of Mr. Goodcents Subs & Pastas, understood this issue first hand while in high school. He watched his father lose much of his mobility as he grew older. Young Bisogno had to carry his father into the football stadium to watch him play games. It was a time in his life he would not forget and would directly lead to the formation of the Mr. Goodcents Foundation.
Today, Mr. Bisogno’s mobility vision is seen in community public transit services that have helped seniors in the communities of Olathe, Mission, Merriam, Roeland Park, Fairway, De Soto, Shawnee and Spring Hill, Kansas. The “Good Rides” vision grows as a result of partnerships with Johnson County Transit, Johnson County Area Agency on Aging, cities, volunteers and others. Community mobility provides what many of us take for granted?the freedom to live and enjoy life!
The vision grows with “Good Ride” group trips in cooperation with Johnson County Transit – groups of seniors visit designated locations for social outings. These include holiday lights, museums and regional points of interest that create a wonderful day trip.
The Foundation has had a profound effect on seniors, according to Courtney.
“Many seniors had to depend on family members or friends to help them do everything from going to the doctor to shopping at the grocery store,” said Courtney. “We’ve been able to partner with great communities to create alternatives that give seniors the gift of dignity.”
As the Foundation continues to expand mobility it is studying the next great challenge to seniors independence – Housing. “It’s an issue of affordability and safety,” said Courtney. “We want to help seniors and the communities in which they live find solutions.”
For more information on the Mr. Goodcents Foundation, or to learn how you can help, contact The Mr. Goodcents Foundation for Senior Independence at 913.583.8444 or visit the Foundation’s website www.mrgoodcentsfoundation.org