TWIN FALLS — Alice Ball doesn’t drive anymore.
She gave up her license after having a panic attack while driving. The streets of Twin Falls became too hectic for the 87-year-old woman.
Ball is disappointed that she can’t get around on her own, but she knows who’s there to help.
“Thank God for these volunteers,” Alice said, smiling softly at Oleta Bybee, who was waiting to take Alice to a medical appointment. “It’s tough when you can’t do for yourself.”
Bybee volunteers with Interlink Volunteer Caregivers, a nonprofit group that assists the disabled, elderly and chronically ill. The organization’s primary duty is providing transportation for people like Ball, who can’t get behind the wheel anymore.
“I haven’t met any one of the volunteers who is not wonderful,” Ball said.
Bybee has volunteered with Interlink since 2002 and puts an average of 1,000 miles on her car every month. She drove one patient to dialysis treatments three times a week for more than two years.
Interlink reimburses her mileage costs. The payoff for her volunteerism is the relationships she builds with her clients.
“I meet so many nice people this way,” Bybee said.
In addition to providing transportation, volunteers assist with shopping, light housekeeping, simple repairs and yard work. They also provide companionship, and give respite for family caregivers.
The services come at no cost to the client.
“It’s important to keep going as long as we can,” Ball said. “I can’t say how invaluable this is.”