Local News

January 16, 2013

Measures to improve senior safety

PLATTSBURGH — With a layer of snow already covering the region, North Country residents may face a long winter waiting for the first buds of spring.

For senior citizens, that may translate to more time spent indoors and more obstacles to face when going outside. But seniors can take several steps to improve their safety and reduce the potential for accidents.


One important source of support is the Lifeline personal-response system.

“Lifeline services certainly can be a service to (seniors), especially at this time of year,” said Elthea Stiegman, coordinator of Lifeline Services for North Country Home Services. “Just knowing there is help at the push of a button can be very reassuring for people.”

North Country Home Services provides the Lifeline personal-response system for more than 1,000 residents across upstate New York, including Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. The service allows people to send an emergency signal from wherever they may be in their home without having to reach a phone.

“A person has to have a land line (phone) in the home, but they wear the button on a necklace or wristband,” Stiegman said. “If a person happens to fall, all they have to do is push the button, and they will receive immediate attention.”

A monitor allows the person seeking help to talk with personnel at North Country Home Services, who can then take the appropriate measures to alert emergency-response personnel if needed.

“A majority of the time, the seniors will tell us what they want or need,” Stiegman said. “Maybe they’re not feeling well, or they do need rescue. We’ll keep the subscriber on the line, talk to them while getting them help at the same time.”

Lifeline staff will also have the phone numbers of a subscriber’s neighbors to contact when the system is activated. 

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