Wheeling Township Helps Seniors and Disabled Remain Independent
With more than 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day across the U.S., the senior population surge is certainly on an upward trend - across the country as well as locally. Out of all Cook County Townships, Wheeling Township ranks #1 relative to the total population of residents who are 60 years of age or older -- representing nearly one quarter of the Township's population. Serving the needs of seniors continues to be vitally important to the Township Board, and transportation is at the top of that list. In addition to senior citizens, residents with disabilities are also able to utilize transportation services provided by the Township.
By offering safe, simple and easy-to-use transportation, the Township's program helps residents remain engaged and active in their community, which are both linked to living longer. Helping seniors and residents with disabilities get 'out and about' is a good thing for everyone.
Wheeling Township provided more than 23,000 rides in 2018-2019. For a minimal fee of $2 each way, residents can use the program to get to medical and dental appointments, including checkups, physical therapy, mental health appointments, medical tests, and dialysis. Medical ride requests fill up quickly and should be placed at least one week in advance, but can be made up to 30 days in advance.
"We provide a link for so many residents who may be in wheelchairs or are homebound and would otherwise be unable to easily and safely get to various locations," said Wheeling Township Supervisor Kathleen Penner. "Our drivers are kind and compassionate, which is at the heart of this program's success and we are very proud of it."
In addition to medical rides, the Township provides 'Dial-A-Bus' services for personal errands, including to the grocery store, hair salon, post office, bank, and more. These 'lifeline' rides help residents to remain as independent as possible. Ride requests for the Dial-A-Bus service must be made two days in advance.
Rides are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The Township's service boundaries are Lake-Cook Road (north); Wilke Road (west); Central Road (south); and River Road (east). Passengers must reside within the Township and be 60 years of age or older, or permanently disabled and over the age of 18. Riders must be registered with the Township before services can be utilized. Call the Transportation office at 847-259-7743. Registration forms can also be found on the Township website at www.wheelingtownship.com.
For residents who need transportation to medical appointments outside the Township, Wheeling Township is part of a five-township transportation program called TRIP (Township Riders Initiative Program). This program provides medical rides across Township lines to VA Hospitals, University of Chicago Medical Center, Loyola Medical Center, dialysis centers, Northwestern, Good Shepherd, University of Illinois, Rush and a variety of other medical facilities located in surrounding Townships. Rides are provided by a Pace-supported vehicle, but reservations should be made through the Wheeling Township Transportation Department. TRIP provides these services at a reasonable cost; rides cost a maximum of $10 each way, depending upon the location. Hours of service for TRIP are Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
For more information about Wheeling Township's Transportation program, call 847-259-7743 or email Lynndah Lahey, Director of Senior & Disability Services at LLahey@wheelingtownship.com.