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Struthers poised to launch Senior Watch program



Published: Fri, September 13, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.

Program instituted in Struthers modeled after Liberty’s

By EMMALEE C. TORISK

etorisk@vindy.com

STRUTHERS

The primary objective for members of the Struthers Rotary Community Corps is to identify, then solve, any problems in the areas in which they work or live.

So, when Capt. Pat Bundy of the Struthers Police Department, who also belongs to the community corps, realized that Struthers lacked a consistent way to look after its senior citizens, he began to formulate a plan for the city’s first Senior Watch program.

“Over the years, we’d respond to elderly citizens who’d been injured in their homes, and no one knew for days at a time,” Bundy said. “We somehow needed to keep an eye on them.”

Mayor Terry Stocker said the Senior Watch program, which should begin within the next month, goes “far and beyond” the welfare checks that already are performed by police officers, and is something that the city’s senior citizens, as well as their family members, will greatly appreciate.

“We have an aging community in Struthers,” he said. “A lot of people have moved on, but their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles still live here.”

The Struthers Senior Watch program — which involves the Struthers Rotary, the community corps, city administration and the city’s police and fire departments — is modeled after a similar program in Liberty Township, started there about four years ago.

Bundy said he worked closely with members of the Liberty Township Police Department to get Struthers’ program started and added that it has similar features.

For example, as in Liberty, those interested in becoming part of the Struthers Senior Watch program can choose among the check-in, elderly call and senior watch programs, the latter of which is the most comprehensive.

Regardless of which of the three is selected, the Senior Watch program as a whole will help the city’s senior citizens tremendously, said Catherine Cercone, president of the Struthers Rotary Community Corps.

“It offers a sense of comfort, a sense of security,” she said. “They’ll know somebody’s looking after them.”

Clients who select the check-in program decide on a day and a time that they will call and check in with volunteers. If a call is missed, a volunteer will contact the client, simply to make sure that all is well. The elderly call program is comparable, though volunteers will call participating seniors on designated days and times.

Finally, the Senior Watch program, geared toward those who don’t have family members who live nearby to check on them, involves volunteers’ visiting clients weekly.

Other components of the program include the installation of smoke detectors in clients’ homes and emergency lock boxes on their doors.

Overall, Tom Baringer, president of the Struthers Rotary, said that at this point, he doesn’t really have any specific goals in mind for the Senior Watch program, except for one.

“It could be one or 100 [who participate in the program],” he said. “The whole idea is as long as we’re helping somebody, we’re doing our job.”

For more information about the city’s Senior Watch program, call the Struthers Police Department at 330-755-9849.


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