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Arts & EventsA Wheel to the Wise – Plan Ahead: Winter is on the Way!

A Wheel to the Wise – Plan Ahead: Winter is on the Way!

A Wheel to the Wise – Plan Ahead: Winter is on the Way!

With winter approaching and the cold weather settling into our bones, isolation and loss of independence is a reality for far too many senior citizens and for those living with special mobility needs in Ottawa, one of the world’s coldest and most snowbound capital cities.

As our mind fills with these foreboding thoughts, it is important to start planning a safe and reliable mode of transportation in order for seniors and the mobility-challenged to attend medical appointments and social outings, and to complete vital errands. Knowing what means of transportation are available to suit each individual’s specific needs, early preparation cannot be stressed enough – particularly for the loved ones and caregivers of those who suffer from any form of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Wheels for the Wise, a new service now available in Ottawa, specializes in providing safe and reliable chauffeured accompaniment for seniors and for those with special mobility needs to and from their weekly responsibilities, appointments and errands. The Chauffeur-Companions at Wheels for the Wise are retired professionals – offering clients physical and emotional assistance for the entire duration of the outing. In addition, they are trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and are First-Aid- and AED (automated external defibrillator)-certified. They have also been cleared by an Ottawa Police Service records check for working with vulnerable individuals, and hold a clean driver’s abstract issued by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

A spokesperson for Wheels for the Wise says the service even offers audio recordings of medical appointments to those who have power of attorney so they will know exactly what the doctor said if they could not be present due to prior obligations.

To highlight the organization’s commitment to improving the transportation options for seniors and people with special mobility needs in Ottawa, Jana Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Wheels for the Wise, is one of the service providers invited to participate in the roundtable discussions being held by the Council on Aging on November 23. These Age-Friendly Focus Groups have been coordinated as a continuation of the recent Mayor’s Seniors Summit, which was held on October 3 at Ottawa City Hall. The information and recommendations gathered during these roundtable discussions will be used to formulate an Older Adult Plan to go before City Council in 2012.

Mitchell will address, among other issues, the cost of insurance for small businesses to operate, particularly commercial auto insurance. “We have to charge a minimum of $45 per hour, in large part because our insurance rates are very high”, Mitchell told Ottawa Life Magazine.

Considering the time it will take to implement any such recommendations, Wheels for the Wise has launched a donation and sponsorship program that allows businesses and individuals to sponsor a person living with special mobility needs who lacks sufficient income to access their services. Mitchell states: “The stories we hear daily are heartbreaking and we have to do our part to prevent isolation and prolong independence for as many people as we can.” Wheels for the Wise allocates all donated funds based on a waiting list of recipients who have been screened though an application process to confirm their financial eligibility.

For more information, contact Jana Mitchell, Founder/CEO, Wheels for the Wise Inc., 613.709.WISE (9473); jana@wheelsforthewise.com; www.wheelsforthewise.com.

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