MILWAUKEE — A new transportation service has been launched in Milwaukee with the goal of making the city more friendly to people with dementia.
Dr. Bashir Easter is the founder of Melanin Minded LLC.
His organization strives to equip people of color with resources, services and support. It led him to design a ride-share app called “My Melanin Nav” that is uniquely equipped to transport those with dementia.
He unveiled it Saturday at Unity Gospel House of Prayer in Milwaukee.
“My mother was impacted by the disease at the age of 55," he said. "Me and my two sisters, we struggled for five years trying to figure out what to do to care for her because no information was given to us by the doctor at that time, but there was a family that we had interacted with that had the services. The issue that they had was transportation."
Dr. Easter explains that African Americans are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s; with those who are Hispanic at one and half times more.
He also said they are working to train drivers that can transport those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“We are working with the Alzheimer’s Association and other entities to make sure they go through the understanding of what the disease is and what it isn’t. What is dementia? What it is not? How is it in that individual and how can they function through it? They go through that training and then they will be qualified to be a dementia capable driver at that point,” said Dr. Easter.
Jeffery Johnikan, who has a family member with dementia, is already signed up to be one of the drivers.
“My goal is to bridge the gap. A transportation service for family members to the physicians, getting them there safely and sound is something I’m committed to because once again, it’s a need service for those in our community because at times there is no one else to help them,” said Johnikan.
Dr. Easter said the Melanin Minded ride share program will be a partnership between the faith based community, government and hospital systems.
“This service is now something to give all of our individuals in our community freedom who have been impacted, not just individuals but the caregivers. Now they have a way to give someone that can get into the vehicle, take them where they need to go and they know that they are going to get into their place safely and get back to the home safely,” said Dr. Easter.
Dr. Easter hopes more people will sign up to be drivers through Melanin Minded. He believes this service will make a big difference.
Those interested in applying can go to www.melaninmindedllc.com.