August 21, 2019 11:09 PM
About one in three seniors experience loneliness according to the latest “National Poll on Healthy Living”. But a program that’s sweeping the world is looking to socialize and uplift the elderly, all while taking them on a trip down memory lane.
“Cycling Without Age” started in Copenhagen in 2012. Essentially, trained volunteers drive seniors around on electric bikes called trishaw bikes.
“Two people can fit on the front of the bicycle,” said Alyssa Huisenga, the Activity Director of Fairview Care Center in Dodge Center. “So they will have a nice view of everything around them.”
Soon, the program will be in 30 nursing homes in Minnesota including the Fairview Care Center. This week, the assisted living home learned they secured a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
“The grant will fund up to half of the cost of the trishaw bike and then it will train the pilots of the trishaw,” said Jane Sheeran, the Administrator of Fairview Care Center. ”But [the grant will] also train us on ‘How do we take care of this trishaw?’ It is an electric bike so there is a lot of maintenance.”
The state grant program is providing each nursing home about $6,000 to get started. However, Sheeran says each trishaw costs $8,000 - $10,000 so Fairview will do some fundraising. The joy staff hopes to bring to residents makes it all worth it, though.
“Our main goal is to have the residents decide where they are going,” said Huisenga. “Going throughout the community, going maybe throughout a neighborhood they grew up in. Maybe their grandchildren grew up in the community, going to see them play outside on a nice summer day.”
“Kind of thinking back to the days they were young and got their first bike, I think it will spark a lot of good memories for a lot of people,” said Sheeran.
Fairview is looking for qualified volunteers to ride seniors around town. There is a training process. For information on how to help out email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairview hopes to have a trishaw up and running in the spring of 2020.
Created: August 21, 2019 11:09 PM
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