Seniors' check-in program available in Bridgewater

(Original text may be viewed here.)

13 October 1999

Lisa Brown
Lighthouse staff

BRIDGEWATER - It's a program aimed at giving seniors a little extra peace of mind every day and help should they need it.

The seniors' check-in program recently expanded into the Town of Bridgewater. It began in this county a few years ago, initiated by the Lunenburg - Mahone Bay Police Service, then expanded into the areas covered by Lunenburg and Bridgewater RCMP detachments and as far east as Chester.

The free service is provided through Whynacht Security and Survival, located in Lunenburg. The police make people aware of the program and assist seniors with registration.

"It's been very successful. It has gradually made its way through the county and now we're adding it to the Bridgewater town police repertoire of crime prevention programs," says Cst. John Collyer, the town force's community relations officer.

The check-in program works through an automated phone system. The funding for that was originally provided by the Mahone Bay and Area Lions Club."An officer helps you with the registration form. Basically, you put your preferred check-in time and the computer dials you up at that time," Cst. Collyer explains.

If the phone is answered, the computer considers the senior to be fine. It plays a pre-recorded message to tell the senior it's the system that is calling.

To alter getting the phone call if you don't plan to be home, you simply dial a number and notify the service. Otherwise, if the computer calls and doesn't get an answer or gets a busy tone, it alerts a dispatcher. The dispatcher then tries to reach the senior again. If there is still no contact, the dispatcher calls a pre-arranged contact person - a neighbour, relative or friend - and asks that that person check on the senior.

But not everyone has someone living nearby to call. That's the greatest benefit of the check-in system. If no contact people are available, a police officer is dispatched to check on the home.

"If you fall down and break your hip in the house, you're not going to be lying there in pain for any great length of time," Cst. Collyer says. "We've had some seniors where they've been days trapped in their home unable to get to a phone.

"These days, even here in town, you've got people who don't know their neighbours. Unfortunately, we deal with an awful lot of seniors who don't have relatives living close by. They're basically on their own. They're kind of scared. There's nobody around checking on them," Cst. Collyer says.

Even if they do have someone checking on them once a day, the check-in program could be at a different time.

"There you have two checks a day, which is even better," the constable says.

Bridgewater police will be talking with different seniors groups around town and also plan meetings through the Bridgewater Inter-church Council. Seniors are also welcome to drop by or telephone the police station to arrange to register.


100 High Street,
Suite 111
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
B4V 1V9