IONIA — There is plenty area seniors can do to protect themselves from harm. Many of them just don’t know about the information or the services that are here to help them stay safe.
On May 5, representatives from the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office, Ionia County Emergency Management, Ionia County Central Dispatch, LifeEMS Ambulance, Sparrow Ionia Hospital and the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired were on hand at the Ionia County Commission on Aging Senior Center to offer tips on how seniors can be alert, stay safe and prepare for emergencies.
Presentations covered the gamut from Smart911 and the RAVE alert system to advance directives and personal response buttons, and from severe weather, identity theft and scams to safe driving tips — and even information about electronic pillboxes that can send text messages to family members to ensure their older relatives are using their medications safely.
Seventy people attended either the morning session, the afternoon session or lunch — and some stayed for all three. Lunch was a “South of the Border” selection of homemade tacos with all the toppings, rice and beans, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, prepared by the ICCOA’s food staff.
Director Carol Hanulcik was pleased with the presentations and the turnout, especially considering the event lasted from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“It was a long day, and we didn’t anticipate everyone staying for all of it. You could tell participants paid attention because of the questions they asked — they were getting a lot out of it,” said Hanulcik. “It provided an opportunity for the presenters to meet one on one with people, too.”
ICSO Sgt. Stan Hoskins said he also thought the day was a success and that it engaged the audience.
“It went really well and was well received by everybody we talked to. We heard from a number of people that they learned about a lot of things they didn’t know were available to them,” Hoskins said. “There was good participation. We’ll do it again.”
Hoskins added that presenters plan to set up a date in the future, in collaboration with the Commission on Aging, when they can assist seniors who don’t have a computer, or access to one, with setting up their own Smart 911 profile.