Katherine is walking for ITNAmerica, to bring dignified transportation for seniors to every community in America!
Archive for June, 2010
I am leaving in a little while for the 24 Hour Walk for Rides. Send me messages if you are walking, too. My wonderful staff is going to give me a Twitter lesson later so I can send messages as I go. I’ll meet you in the air up there, wherever these communications float…
This was my last training walk and I am glad Dougie could join me. He’s been sidelined with an injury, but he will be back to walk with me again on Friday, June 18, for my 24 Hour Walk for Rides. We did an easy walk part way around Baxter Boulevard, but the Celtics were playing at 8PM, so that was it for Dougie’s interest in walking. Looks like my grand total mileage for training is just shy of 50 miles. See you all in person or in spirit at Baxter Boulevard, in Portland, Maine, for the day we all stand up for dignified transportation for the older people in our lives who have given us all so much, and who now need us to stand up for them, for the mobility they need to lead full and active lives, whether or not they drive a car.
(.2 miles, 49.5 miles total)
After walking with Senator Susan Collins on Capitol Hill, I took the night train back to Hartford, Connecticut, where I left my car, and drove back to my mother’s place to spend the night. The next day, I drove to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I walked along the Charles River with Andrew Wolk, of Root Cause.
(0.5 miles, 47.5 miles total)
I caught a late train to Washington and arrived at the Hart Senate Office Building at 10:30am for my walk with Senator Susan Collins. Senator Collins has supported dignified senior transportation for more than a decade, first through the years of sustainable ITN model development in Greater Portland, then through the planning of the national organization, ITNAmerica, and now for the national rollout as we work to support communities across the nation. In this year’s budget, Senator Collins has introduced a $5 million appropriation for amendments to Title IV, Section 416, of the Older Americans Act. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut has sponsored a similar appropriation request in the House of Representatives.
In her appropriation request Senator Collins said:
Most older Americans depend upon the private automobile for transportation. But for older drivers with diminished capacity, driving can become difficult, or dangerous. Older people who continue to drive face the highest fatal crash risk of any group except teenagers. Those who stop driving outlive the decision by as much as ten years, and become dependent on family and friends. So great is the need for transportation options for older Americans that delegates to the December 2005 White House Conference on Aging selected it as the Conference’s third highest policy priority, ranking it ahead of reforms to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Despite this pressing need, more than half the nation’s older citizens live in communities with no public transportation, and where transit does exist, the magnitude of this need outstrips the public resources available to meet it.
Amendments to Section 416 of the 2006 reauthorization of the Older Americans Act are specifically designed to bring the principles and practices of social enterprise to senior transportation through:
- “volunteer driver programs;
- economically sustainable transportation programs; and
- programs that allow older individuals to transfer their automobiles to a provider of transportation services in exchange for the services”
The 416 amendments define “economically sustainable transportation” as “demand responsive transportation for older individuals—
- that may be provided through volunteers; and
- that the provider will provide without receiving Federal or other public financial assistance, after a period of not more than 5 years of providing the services under this section.”
This approach to sustainability sidesteps the creation of additional transportation services that will add to the future tax burden or compete with existing transportation providers that rely upon public funding for on-going operating expense. Instead, funding for economically sustainable senior transportation projects uses federal funding to leverage voluntary local community support and creates, instead, social entrepreneurs who turn to consumers, their families and their business communities to build sustainable solutions that will bring private resources to bear. Private expenditures for transportation actually outnumber public expenditures 5 to 1, so by guiding development toward private resources, Section 416 uses a small amount of public dollars to leverage a far larger pool of private resources.
To address the long term mobility needs of America’s aging population, we really do need a public/private partnership. Neither alone will be sufficient, and neither alone will be as strong as they are together.
To support Senator Collins and Congresswoman DeLauro’s appropriation request for Section 416, contact your Senators and Congressional Representatives.
To support ITNAmerica and our work on behalf of dignified transportation for older Americans across the nation, pledge here.
(0.5 miles, 47 miles total)
I got up at 4am, left my car at the Hartford Amtrak station and took an early morning train to New York City to meet Dr. Robert Butler at 5:20 in the afternoon at the International Longevity Center on 86th Street. With a whole day to walk in a beautiful city, I decided to walk from Pennsylvania Station on 34th Street and 7th Avenue to the Lower Eastside, a mythic place to a second generation immigrant family who came through Ellis Island. So I set off for the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street in the Lower Eastside, a 2.5 mile walk. I bought a ticket for the 1:00 museum tour and headed for Yonah Schimmel’s, a local restaurant famous for a 100 year old recipe for potato knishes. Yum. When the tour was over, I decided to walk uptown from Delancey Street to the International Longevity Center. I made it as far as 45th Street before I ran out of time and took a taxi so I wouldn’t be late. The taxi driver was great. We got into a conversation about the 24 hour Walk for Rides, and agreed that people can all always do more than we think we can. That is actually advice from one of my valued Advisors—my mother.
Dr. Butler planned our walk through Central Park to his apartment, where we both gulped tall glasses of iced water. We talked transportation, children, staying fit as we age, and the transportation needs of people who outlive driving by a decade—most Americans. Dr. Butler has not owned a car in 27 years because he has lived in New York City. That makes perfect sense, but we both know it is not the norm in our country, where more than 90 percent of trips for people age 65 and older are taken in the private automobile, either as a driver or as a passenger. I downed my glass of ice water as I looked through the doctor’s newest book, The Longevity Prescription, just reviewed in the Los Angeles Times (book review: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/06/book-review-the-longevity-prescription-by-robert-n-butler.html). I had such a good time walking through the Park, I forgot to take a picture, but Dr. Butler graciously allowed me to snap one in his apartment, before I left for Penn station and the next leg of my journey.
(6 miles, 46.5 miles total)
My folks moved to Connecticut this year and decided to stop driving at the same time, for safety reasons. But that doesn’t mean my 85 year old mother, Betty Abrams, sits home, or that she is not fit. She walks practically every day, a 1.25 miles loop through the grounds at MacLean in Simsbury, or, if the weather is bad, she walks indoors, a similar amount. Many people where she lives keep little tables or chairs outside their doors and change the decorations with the season. My mother takes note of them all on her indoor walks. We did the indoor and the outdoor loops, so I am guessing we did about 2 miles. Why am I including my mother as an advisor? She’s a very smart lady, but more than this, because we all have older people in our lives who are trying to remain active and engaged when they limit or stop driving. No dialogue about mobility for older people is ever complete without the full engagement of the older people.
(2 miles, 40.5 miles total)
It’s been awhile. I’ve been walking; I just haven’t been blogging. I would estimate the miles I have walked since I last logged in at about 12. Not great, but better than nothing. Two complete Baxter Boulevard laps on two different days, and several one mile walks with a few different people.
Last week I traveled down the east coast by car and train for visits and training walks with my Council of Advisors, my mother, and Senator Susan Collins. My 24 hour walk is just a few days away, and the visits boosted my strength and built my sense of adventure for the big day, June 18-19.
My trip was a small adventure, but I loved it. The 24 hour walk is also an adventure, a simple way to take a stand for something I believe in—dignified and sustainable transportation for older people. I like walks—fundraising walks, leisurely walks, competitive walks. There is something so simple and democratic about standing up and being counted, like the impulse to jump to your feet for a standing ovation, an impulse that propels you vertically, a jolt of enthusiasm. A walk in support of something we believe in is like a standing ovation in motion.
The ITNAmerica Council of Advisors is only three people, so each member is so very important to us. The first person to join our Council of Advisors was former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta. Next, after we completed our business plan for the national roll out of ITNAmerica, the architect behind the plan, Andrew Wolk of Root Cause (on the picture), agreed to join our Council of Advisors. He was also very kind and said he would always be there for us. Andrew is in Cambridge.
Finally, Dr. Robert Butler, CEO of the International Longevity Center in New York City is a member of our Council of Advisors. Dr. Butler is probably the most famous geriatrician in the United States, perhaps the world, so when he agreed to join our work in senior transportation, I was deeply honored. And when he agreed to walk with me, I was just tickled.
Here’s my gallery of Walking Advisors:
- Betty Abrams, my mother—Simsbury, Connecticut
- Dr. Robert Butler, International Longevity Center—New York City
- Secretary Norman Mineta—Washington, DC
- Senator Susan Collins—Washington, DC
- Andrew Wolk, Root Cause—Cambridge, Massachusetts
Could anyone wish for better advisors?
(12 miles, 38.5 miles total)
Andrew Wolk, member of the ITNAmerica Council of Advisors