Giving seniors a lift

Yetta Miller, 90, uses her senior transportation vouchers to travel to the JCCSF, where she plays Mahjong every Wednesday

For decades, Yetta Miller zipped around San Francisco with ease, taking the Muni bus to and from her nursing job, or to social engagements with friends. But at 90 years old, Miller – who suffers from high blood pressure, dizzy spells, and crippling arthritis – can no longer ride the bus. These days, Miller is more or less confined to her condominium in the Western Addition, where she lives with her 61-year-old handicapped son. Were it not for four free taxi vouchers that Miller receives each month from the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, she would rarely make it out of the house. “It gives me a reason to go somewhere,” Miller said of the voucher program. “Otherwise, I just stay home.” Every Wednesday, Miller uses her taxi voucher to travel to the JCC, where she plays Mahjong with a room full of seniors. It gives her a chance to socialize for a few hours, and it brightens up her otherwise monotonous week. Her energy level has plummeted, she said, so it’s tempting to just stay home. “But when I know I’ve got the voucher, I say to myself, ‘don’t be silly, go!’ It’s a real inspiration for me to get up and out of the house.” Compared with older adults who drive, non-driving older adults make 65% fewer social visits, family, or religious trips, and 15% fewer trips to the doctor. And among Jewish seniors, transportation is the number one unmet need. That’s why the Federation, in partnership with a network of Jewish communal agencies, is committed to providing rides for homebound seniors. In 2009 and 2010, the Federation and local communal agencies provided more than 2,000 rides to homebound seniors. Through the Senior Transportation Initiative – a new program designed to better meet our seniors’ needs – and ongoing support of voucher programs at five JCC’s throughout the Bay Area, the Federation will continue to ensure that our seniors stay active and connected to our Jewish community.

Categories: Seniors


June 23, 2010


The Federation