DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

October 25, 2012

Elder Affairs plans for the worst

Packet planned for older residents

LONDONDERRY — In an effort to better communicate with new senior citizens, the Elder Affairs Committee is planning a welcome packet.

In addition to the informational packet, the brainstorming process behind an emergency system for seniors has also begun.

While nothing is going to print just yet, the committee’s session did provide some ideas to welcome future senior citizens to Londonderry, as well as helpful information in the case of an emergency.

Special attention was paid to seniors who may not be able communicate or maneuver well if the power goes out or if a sudden snowstorm hits.

“We should include as much information as we can,” committee chairman Stacey Thrall said. “This can be anything we want it to be.”

In most cases, seniors do not bring proper medication or medical equipment with them when they visit emergency shelters, health coordinator for the Greater Derry Health Network Garret Simonsen said.

Senior citizens who live alone are the most vulnerable when it comes to emergency preparedness, committee member Dolores Steklosa said.

Members from ALERT, A Londonderry Emergency Response Team, also weighed in on what the emergency packet should provide.

“We do try to visit as many seniors as we can,” ALERT member Patricia Hamann said. “We have information on about 100 or so seniors right now.”

Lori Silva, another member of ALERT, said many times seniors do not provide all of their information, which is why ALERT members prefer to help seniors fill out the forms in person.

But, Silva said, not too much information on seniors should be exchanged with too many people, as much of the information is private.

Joe Green, the Town Council liasion, brought up the idea of block captains, saying being a good neighbor can go a long way.

“That old-fashioned communication of driving around and knocking on a door is sometimes lifesaving,” he said.

Everyone in attendance agreed the sooner an emergency packet is put together the better, citing the dangers associated with winter, which is fast approaching.

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