|Allen County programs support older and disabled adults|
|Thursday, January 23, 2014 9:17 PM|
BY STEPHANIE GROVES
ALLEN COUNTY — The Allen County Sheriff’s Office offers two free and confidential programs to assist the older and disabled adult populations of Allen County live a more independent lifestyle. The Senior Visitation Program (SVP) was created to help people who may not have family members living close to them and want to remain on their own. Allen County Sheriff’s Department Administrative Assistant Rhonda Montgomery said there is no set criteria to meet for the Senior Visitation Program.
“We visit people who have no family or who have very little contact with others,” Montgomery detailed. “Basically, they don’t have a support system.”
Montgomery said anyone wishing to enroll or have a loved one or friend enrolled in the program can call and have the paperwork mailed to them or come to the Sheriff’s Office and fill out the paperwork.
At this time, there are 125 residents enrolled in the SVP program.
After enrollment into the SVP program, a visitation team comprised of volunteers, including a restricted special deputy — who has been given a background check, training and sworn in by the sheriff — and a volunteer, visit the resident’s home. The team conducts a Home Security Survey, documents emergency contact information and assists with the evaluation of any urgent needs.
“During the visit, the team will check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for operability,” Montgomery said. “They also give safety recommendations to the resident.”
After the visit, all documentation is turned over to Montgomery, who takes the necessary steps to acquire help for the resident and monitor any patterns that may develop.
If the resident needs new smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors, which are generously donated by local businesses, team members can install those.
“Depending on the circumstances, I may contact Crime Victims Services or the Council on Aging,” Montgomery detailed. “These residents may not know there are resources available to them.”
The second program, Are You Well? — funded through a federal grant called Experience Works — is a Monday through Thursday check on at-risk older and disabled adults via a phone call from the sheriff’s office. Each day between 10 a.m. and noon, a call is made to the resident and if there is no response, the officer will attempt to contact an emergency contact person. If the contact is unable to be reached, an officer will be sent to the home to check on the resident.
“There are an average of 75 phone calls made on a weekly basis for the Are You Well? program,” Montgomery said.
If a resident who is signed up for the program will be away during the scheduled call time-frame, the sheriff requests the resident call and notify officers at the Sheriff’s Office at 419-993-1412.
Montgomery said Sheriff Sam Crish strongly supports continuing these programs and has a great deal of compassion for the population of folks it serves.
“We are always looking for volunteers for the program,” Montgomery said. “Currently, we have three restrictive special deputies and two volunteers working in the programs.”
For more information or to become a volunteer for the programs, call Montgomery at 419-993-1412.