Rose* is 87, and lives on her own with impaired mobility. Rose talks about the difficulties of travelling to important hospital appointments when family are not available, especially now they are further afield, the personal convenient service she receives and how it enables her to be independent Volunteer Link Up is a lifeline.
I have two sons, but they don’t live locally and therefore can’t always help. I do think it’s sad that families move away, but it’s due to the housing problem. Plus, people used to work near where they live, now people often work nowhere near where they live. Society has changed. It’s essential to have friends; a support network as you get older.
In recent years I have been diagnosed with two medical conditions – macular degeneration, which is quite a common issue and involves having regular injections at the hospital, and a heart block where I needed a pacemaker fitted. I thought, I can’t cope with this, but you do. People call me the bionic woman now.
I heard about Volunteer Link Up when I volunteered at Arthritis Care, so I have known about Volunteer Link Up for some time, but not contacted them until I needed to use its transport service, to go to the hospital in 2015. I sometimes feel embarrassed when I phone Ruth up and I think she’s going to say oh it’s that Rose again. But she never does.
When I go with Volunteer Link Up it is brilliant as they can drive where the ambulances go and park and when you go to reception and say you are using volunteer transport, they give you a sticker and so I know I’m not going to get lost.
The driver leaves their card with me so that when I’m finished, I go to reception and ask them to ring my driver. They come and find me. It’s wonderful. It’s reassuring to see the same people, the same volunteer.
After the pandemic, everyone is catching up. There used to be more appointments locally, but many medical appointments are now in Oxford. When I needed to see a doctor for varicose veins at her clinic in Wantage instead of locally, Volunteer Link Up took me to Wantage.
I was amazed really. It saved my son having time off work. A nurse there said people are going all over the place for treatments. I tell my friends about Volunteer Link Up and I have some friends that have used it and say how wonderful it is. I am just so grateful to get transport. It is simply great. If I know of any able drivers not doing anything I’ll send them down to you!
*Rose is a pseudonym to protect the client’s identity