By Joe Levner
As a Town Councilman, I find that one of the most rewarding aspects of serving my neighbors in the Town of Fallsburg is being in a position to bring about changes to ensure our residents are safe and to help improve their lives.
I’m proud to work with a smart, progressive group of business people and educators on the Town Board and our town employees who are constantly exploring how to make the quality of life better for residents in the Town of Fallsburg.
In the aftermath of the fire at the Grandview Palace Condominiums, it was discovered that many of the people who were living there were “shut in” seniors having little or no communication with the outside world,
The Town of Fallsburg is a tight-knit community that has always respected and cared for its elderly.
Chief Simmie Williams and our police department became concerned about other Fallsburg seniors and others who may not have enough contact with friends, relatives, or neighbors to ensure their physical and mental well-being.
With a growing population of seniors struggling with limited incomes and higher housing and living expenses, the care of our elderly, particularly those in poor economic circumstances, has become a concern not only here in Fallsburg, but nationwide.
Last year, the National Institute of Health issued an important report detailing the health and economic status of the nation’s elderly population that touched on many of the problems faced by the elderly in the Town of Fallsburg.
The findings in the study included trends and concerns about housing and health care delivery to an aging population, which is expected to increase in the US from a 2010 figure of 40 million to 72 million in 2030.
The report found that as people age, their independent functioning may become diminished as a result increased vulnerability to illness, chronic disease, or injury that limits their physical and/or mental abilities.
As a result, some of these older people become what is termed “shut-ins,” where they either become unwilling or unable to leave their residences because of their physical limitations or because of certain mental conditions such as social anxiety and agroraphobia.
The availability of visiting services that may include meal preparation, laundry and cleaning services, and help with medications can help these older residents maintain their independence and avoid institutionalization and end of life difficulties.
Experts stress that visiting these elderly or sick people who have lost their ability to leave their homes is an important step in ensuring that they continue to enjoy life and make sure they are receiving-and taking medications and eating correctly too.
Chief Williams and the Town of Fallsburg Police Department studied the problem and came up with a great solution. To better help and serve our senior population, particularly those who are “shut-ins,” they launched a new program entitled the “Are You OK?” initiative.
Our police officers, working with the Sullivan County Office of the Aging, will begin checking on elderly and home bound residents on a monthly basis, and build a database of emergency contact information of our elderly and home bound residents. Officer Jason Edwards is the policeman in charge of the program.
The Town Board commends these efforts of the police department to help devise and implement this important program.
Do you know someone, a relative, a neighbor, or a friend in the Town of Fallsburg, who is a senior who could use a visit?
As I said, I love the feeling and satisfaction of helping Town of Fallsburg residents. This is a great opportunity for you to experience it too.
Please call Officer Edwards at (845) 434-4422 today if you know someone who can benefit from this program and help make a life of a Fallsburg senior better-and safer too.