FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. CONTACT: Barbara Lohr 513.559.2333.
(November, 2009 – Cincinnati, Ohio) Each year, more than one million Americans age 70 and older stop driving. More than half of non-drivers 60 or older stay home on any given day partially because they lack transportation options. The Deaconess Vital Signs Forum, “Seniors Ride—Community Thrives,” will introduce a new transportation option to keep seniors and adults with visual impairments safe and active. Deaconess Associations Foundation, in partnership with the Vision Coalition, will introduce ITNGreaterCincinnati™, an Independent Transportation Network® affiliate, at a December 9 breakfast at the Kingsgate Marriott. The Cincinnati affiliate will be the 14th site to join the national organization, ITNAmerica®. And the woman from Portland, Maine, who devised this innovative system is coming to explain just how it works.
ITNAmerica was founded by Katherine Freund, who was named “one of the twelve people who are changing your retirement” by the Wall Street Journal. In 1988, Freund’s three-year-old son was seriously injured when he was struck by a car. The driver was 84 years old. Freund became dedicated to identifying an attractive alternative to driving for older adults. The ITN model is membership-based, and the private cars are driven mostly by trained volunteers, 24/7. “I want it to look like your daughter has come to pick you up,” says Freund. Volunteers may bank their mileage credits to pay for their own rides in the future if they move into the passenger seat. The first ITN model began in Portland, Maine. A total of 14 affiliates now extend to San Diego.
A pre-paid membership program, ITN is a door-through-door service which includes help with steps and packages, doors and walkers. Now in its fourteenth year, ITN recreates the comfort and convenience of private auto ownership and will supplement existing transportation systems in Greater Cincinnati.
“Deaconess focus groups indicated that transportation ranks as the number one issue for older adults.” says Pat Ward, Executive Director of the Deaconess Associations Foundation. “They want to remain active without inconveniencing relatives and friends. Studies pointed to ITNAmerica as a solution. Coincidentally, members of the Vision Coalition were also studying ITN, and it made sense to work together to offer this service to Greater Cincinnati.”
As an introduction to ITNGreaterCincinnati, a Vital Signs Forum is being sponsored by Deaconess Associations Foundation on December 9 at the Kingsgate Marriott to discuss the impact transportation issues have on the community. Katherine Freund will speak, followed by a panel of Cincinnati experts on aging and transportation. For more information, go to www.DeaconessFoundation.org.
Deaconess Associations Foundation is a member of Deaconess Associations, a multifaceted healthcare corporation which owns and operates one acute care hospital, 23 long term care facilities and The Heimlich Institute.
Note: Katherine Freund will be available for phone interviews prior to the December 9 event and personal interviews the day of the forum. Please contact Barbara Lohr at (513) 559-2333 to make arrangements.
For more information, visit http://www.deaconessfoundation.org/events.php?article=34.