New citizens group aims to help elderly

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 19, 2001

A joint group of senior citizens and law enforcementrepresentatives is looking to provide a little assistance to theelderly in times of emergencies.

After receiving a $3,000 grant, the Seniors And Lawmen Together(SALT) Council of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Triad isdistributing “refrigerator cards” for older citizens to place intheir homes. The cards can be filled out by seniors to providequick information such as medications they’re taking, doctors’names and who to contact in an emergency.

Fronie Qualls, SALT Council co-chairman, said the cards havebeen distributed by council members through their churches.

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“Now we’re in the process of finding other locations where wecan leave them,” Qualls said following a council meetingThursday.

Qualls said the council hopes to reach as many of the county’sapproximately 3,500 senior citizens as possible. She said thoseinterested in receiving a refrigerator card can contact thesheriff’s department and an auxiliary deputy will deliver it if thesenior does not have transportation.

Qualls said Clifford Galey, volunteer firefighter associationpresident, had instructed first responders and firefighters to beaware of and look for the cards when they respond to an emergencycall.

The $3,000 grant came from the state Division of Public SafetyPlanning and the Mississippi Leadership Council on Aging. Fundsmust be spent by June 1, but the council plans on seeking anothergrant after that.

“This will be a continuing process,” said Sheriff Lynn Boyte.”It’s not a one-time shot.”

Triad, which was formed last year, is a made up of county andcity law enforcement officials and senior citizens, such as membersof the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Its goal isto address crime-related issues important to seniors.

“We work with them (law enforcement) to plan projects thatseniors will benefit from and help them overcome their fears aboutcrime,” Qualls said.

Boyte said Triad is also in the process of completing a surveyabout issues that are important to senior citizens.

The survey asks seniors to rank their concerns about such issuesas fears of going out after dark, of con artists, of robbery orburglary. The survey also asks for seniors’ input on what can bedone to help them feel more secure.

“We’ve sent some out and gotten feedback from about 100 people,”Boyte said.

The sheriff said the council is going through churches and otherorganizations to distribute the survey. Copies of the survey areavailable at the sheriff’s office.

Initial survey response has pointed the SALT Council toward itsnext project: posting of 911 addresses.

“That’s one of their main concerns,” Boyte said.

Council members have begun the process of identifying seniors’homes in need of the numbers and how to proceed with posting them.Further discussion on the project is expected at the council’s nextmeeting in February.