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Mobility 4 All driver Tom Whelan picks up Haven Homes resident Bernadine Smith to take her to her appointment.(Todd Abeln/Laker Pioneer)

Haven Homes resident Bernadine Smith was the first to use a new service offered at the senior living community in Maple Plain.

Smith needed to get to a doctor’s appointment and took advantage of a new service offered by Haven Homes and Mobilty 4 All.

Smith made one phone call to Mobilty 4 All and set up a time for the service to come pick her up and drive her to the doctor’s appointment and back Haven Homes.

Mobility 4 All’s driver Tom Whelan showed up to Haven Homes on the day off the appointment and picked up Smith and drove her to her doctor’s appointment and back.

“This is a real treat,” Smith said of the new free service offered by Haven Homes and Mobilty 4 All. “Its nice to get out.”

The Mobility 4 All service is offered for all residents of the new Haven Homes residence in Maple Plain that opened on Dec. 21, 2020 and gives the residents the chance to gain back some independence from a long year due to COVID restrictions. Nickell said they currently have 36 residents in its new building at 4848 Gateway Blvd.

“Moving into this new community we had the opportunity to pilot a bunch of cool things and Mobilty 4 All is one of them,” Haven Homes marketing director Cassandra Nickell said. “Its totally free for anybody within nine miles. So they can use that for leisure outings, doctor visits, or going out to run errands. It’s a nice way for our residents to keep that level of independence while living in a senior community.”

Whelan wants the service to be more personal experience than either a bus or taxi.

“We treat riders like family,” he said. “Over time we build a relationship and all of sudden I know all kids of stuff about the rider and they know all kinds of stuff about me.

It really is like treating your aunt or uncle, or mom or dad. It’s a very personal thing. Its very satisfying. This is kind of like your relatives showing up and picking you up. Its not honking at the end of the driveway. Its come in pick up the rider get them in the car, go to the doctor appointment and walk them into the office. Often times, I’ve gone into Cub or Target and done shopping with the residents. That’s what you would do with your mom or dad. It gives them a chance to get outside where they haven’t been able to get out before.”

Nickell hopes that the service gives its residents and future residents some of their independence back.

“Its nice for families because just moving into a senior community is a big step and they feel like they are giving up their independence,” Nickell said. “But this is a tool we have where you can still go out and be independent and do things without giving up everything.”

With COVID restrictions slowly being lifted and vaccination rates high amongst seniors and in senior living communities both Whelan and Nickell anticipate the residents to take full advantage of the opportunity to get out and catch a ride.

“Now that people have been vaccinated people are coming out for more and more rides,” Whelan said.

Cassia, which runs Haven Homes, and provides housing, health care and community services to older adults ahs also teamed up Mobility 4 All to offer the service at Cornerstone Assisted Living in Plymouth and Okalee in Medina.

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