Howland police look in on elderly

HOWLAND — The Howland Police Department has launched a townshipwide “Are You OK?” program to make sure older residents and others who live alone are being checked on.

“There are many times someone may not see their elderly neighbor outside or the mail may start to get piled up,” Howland police Chief Nick Roberts said. “It is important to know they are OK and that is why this program is in place.”

Trustee Chairman Rick Clark said, “It is a great program. This will benefit any senior or elderly residents living alone who just need to be checked on. We support any program that will help our residents.”

The program involves phone calls on designated days and times and follow-up visits as necessary. People who are eligible include those with non-life-threatening illnesses or severe medical problems, Roberts said.

This is the first time the township has had such a program, he said. He said he knows other communities have also started similar programs.

Brochures explaining it will be available at the police department, fire station, township hall, senior center and other community locations. To apply, a resident may call the police department at 330-856-5555 to schedule an appointment.

While the program is aimed to assist people 60 and older living alone or with someone not able to provide care-giving services, it also can help other residents under special circumstances who do not have caregiving services, the chief said.

Roberts said the program is not designed or intended to take place of home health care. He said eligibility of applicants will be determined by police.

The Are you OK? program consists of three categories:

l “Call In” program for senior citizen who may live alone. The resident will decide on the day and time to call police. If the senior citizen does not call during the designated time, the police secretary or volunteer will call. If the resident does not answer the phone, a police officer will be sent to the residence to check.

l “Senior Call” program is for senior citizens who elect to be put on a call list. On the designated days and times, usually Monday mornings, the police department will call the senior citizen’s home. If no contact is made, a police officer will be sent to the residence to check on the senior citizen.

l “Elderly Watch” program is for the elderly who may need police help more than others. These senior citizens may not have family to check on them or provide assistance. A member of the police department will visit the senior citizen once a week.