Dr Leslie Bella retired in 2005 from a career in Canadian social work education, and now lives in Bayfield, a village on the shore of Lake Huron in south weatern Ontario. There she has worked with local volunteers to develop Home4Good, a community based initiatives to ensure that everyone can continue to live in their homes for as long as possible.
Surviving without Wheels: Community Based Strategies for Overcoming Transportation Challenges for Rural Seniors
Bayfield is a village of about 1,000 on the shore of Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada, with charms that attract many seniors to retire here from large urban centres and from life on the farm. However, as seniors age driving can become a challenge, and many find they have to leave their chosen home and community to live somewhere with public transportation and closer to community services. What seemed age friendly to start with becomes less so as people get older. Home4Good, a community based organization supported both by community volunteers and by local professionals, was created 5 years ago, to respond to the challenge of helping residents “survive without wheels”. We have (1) developed a survival guide for those without wheels, and will publish a new edition in 2018, (2) co-sponsored a successful safe driving workshop for local seniors, (3) experimented with smart phone and open source software (Libre-taxi) developed by Roman Pushkin to link those needing rides and those able to give rides in rural Siberia., and (4) collaborated with local organizations exploring feasibility of a public transportation system to link residents of this remote and rural area with employment opportunities, shopping and services and (5) collaborated with other local organizations to enhance walkability within the village. The existence of Home4Good, and its many initiatives, inspire confidence in residents that Bayfield is an age-friendly community in which they can confidently look forward to ageing-in-place.