In April of 2020 we received an anxiety-ridden call from Mr. John Counts of Falls Church, VA. He suffered a cardiac event and needed help getting to multiple doctor appointments, as well as rides to pick up his pharmaceuticals. He could not afford taxi or ride share services to get to the host of appointments he needed to navigate in a very short timeframe. He had no family in the area who could help him.
The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown upended life as we knew it in so many ways. For older adults who live alone, it became a real challenge, especially when unforeseen events unfolded. Many were afraid to venture out themselves and needed extra support with things that they normally felt comfortable handling on their own. Friends and neighbors who may have helped in the past were not as willing to put themselves at risk.
For those who did not have younger family in the area who could help, life immediately became much scarier. Without those built-in support networks, many people had to rely on the kindness of others during those difficult months. During this time NV Rides regularly fielded calls like the one we got from Mr. Counts, from community members looking for resources and help.
After we had a robust conversation to assess Mr. Counts’ needs, we connected him with the discounted taxi voucher program through Fairfax County Human Services Transportation that helped get him where he needed to go. At the time, his local volunteer driving program, The Shepherd’s Center of McLean, Arlington, Falls Church was not operational and therefore not taking new clients due to the lockdown. When that program reopened, we referred him to get to onboarded as a client so he could request rides in the future.
Mr. Counts was extremely appreciative that we were able to help him, as it was an especially difficult time to navigate these challenges considering we were still in lockdown status. After his medical needs were met, he followed up and left a voice message for us saying, “I just want to let you know that I truly appreciate all of the help that you were able to provide for me. I think that when you are dealing with someone personally and helping them in a time of need you should always know when you are doing a good job.”
For over a year now, nonprofits have been collaborating to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Whether our volunteers are delivering food pantry items to a quarantined family, or helping an older adult navigate medical appointments, we find ourselves working together to meet the moment.
“I just want to let you know that I truly appreciate all of the help that you were able to provide for me. I think that when you are dealing with someone personally and helping them in a time of need you should always know when you are doing a good job.”