A lengthy drive to the hospital can be a lonely experience and somewhat frightening or even dangerous if you happen to be elderly or unwell.
Few people know this better than Oona Proffitt, who spent years as a caregiver for senior citizens.
To take out the stress in such situations, she recently founded Absolute Companion Driving based in Snells Beach – a service that provides a car and friendly driver to take clients to important medical appointments, or indeed anywhere they might wish to go.
She can stow client’s wheelchairs and walkers in her car as necessary.
Oona is also happy to sit and chat with clients if they feel like it, as they sit in waiting rooms before seeing a specialist.
While older people form the bulk of her clientele, her service is available to take children to sporting events or pick up a teenager from a party – indeed any time a responsible, reliable driver is required.
Oona underwent required training on subjects like driver fatigue before starting her business, plus a more advanced driving test to establish she could drive more safely and successfully negotiate road hazards.
This earned her a “P” endorsement on her license, which allows her to carry paying passengers.
“It’s important to have the training because you have other people’s lives in your hands,” she says.
Oona says the best part of the job is meeting and chatting to new people and finding out what makes them tick.
She often finds clients open up about their lives and families – a sign that they feel relaxed and comfortable.
And if bringing along a beloved pet dog for the ride helps reassure a client, that’s fine with Oona.
Oona does not charge for driving from her location to the pick-up point, and her research has shown that her prices are extremely competitive.
“If people can be made to feel safe and happy, my job is done,” she says.