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JCHE's Van: A Lifeline to Independence

Posted: July 16, 2013

JCHE's Van
Residents enjoying a trip in the JCHE van

JCHE’s wheelchair-accessible van provides a lifeline to independence for residents who no longer drive. And ask those who use it what they particularly like about the experience and they are likely to respond "Randolph, the van driver." Residents fondly describe Randolf as being infinitely patient, unfailingly helpful and an overall special person!

Residents who once jumped behind the wheel or relied on relatives to run errands can continue to have access to markets for groceries and drug stores for prescriptions. Bob, for instance, uses a walker. Before he moved to Shillman House, he was dependent on his family for shopping and errands. He was often reluctant to ask them for assistance so he frequently went without basic items. Bob is enjoying the independence he now experiences when he uses the JCHE van to do his own shopping.

The JCHE van is a nexus for social connections. After losing her son, Sophie felt too sad to leave her apartment. Her neighbor invited Sophie to join her for a shopping trip on JCHE’s van. After several weeks of encouragement, the neighbor finally convinced Sophie to join her for a shopping excursion. The trip sparked her previous love of bargain shopping and prompted her to begin to venture out of her apartment. Within a few weeks, she joined an ESL class, began participating in other JCHE-sponsored activities and continued to hunt for sales!

Residents often take the van on excursions to art museums, the public library, botanic gardens, and even Symphony Hall. Ed, a Coleman House resident, enjoyed a recent day at the MFA and plans to go on the next available trip: “It's been years since I was at the museum. I must have talked about it for an entire week. There's no way I could have gone without the use of the van!"


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