Check-in program succeeds in assisting downed senior

(Original text may be viewed here.)

24 May 2000:

Susan Corkum-Greek
Lighthouse staff

COUNTY - A Mahone Bay resident is quietly touting the benefits of Lunenburg County's Seniors Check-In Program after falling in her home May 14.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was discovered shortly before 9:30 a.m. by a police officer dispatched to her property after she failed to answer her regular morning check-in call.

She was taken to South Shore Regional Hospital for examination and is now resting at home.

Dispatcher Randy Whynacht notes this was the first actual emergency discovered through the check-in system, set up more than 16 months ago as a free service to area seniors, and says "everything went like clockwork.

"I designed the procedures and it even surprised me," he says.

Mr. Whynacht was actually the dispatcher on duty when the computer-automated system reported the woman had failed to answer her regular 8:30 a.m. telephone call. He immediately instructed the system to place two more calls at 10-minute intervals and when neither of these were answered, placed a third manual call.

"We generally give things about a half hour," says the dispatcher, who at 9 a.m. contacted the third-party key holder listed when the senior signed up for the program. Unfortunately, this individual was not at home and her husband was unsure as to where the key was kept, he says. However, he did offer to go to the house to look for signs of the woman.

When the man called back saying he had been unable to raise the woman, Mr. Whynacht contacted the Lunenburg-Mahone Bay Police Department which sent an officer to the house. The officer was able to obtain a key and upon entering, found the woman had fallen.

"She was not seriously injured but was taken to hospital as a precaution," he says.

Mr. Whynacht reminds county seniors they are welcome to sign up for the cost-free service and can do so by contacting either Whynacht Security or their local police agency.

"We don't recommend it for people with severe medical problems," as the checks are only conducted on a once-a-day basis, he says. Still for many seniors who live alone and don't have friends or relatives checking on them, it's a good safeguard.

A total of 56 seniors currently subscribe.


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