Spreading the word

TRIAD discusses programs, services for local senior citizens

Members of the TRIAD group, a collaborative effort between Retired Senior Volunteer Program volunteers and local law enforcement personnel, gathered May 2 for their regular meeting at the RSVP offices at the Marquette County Health Department. TRIAD members discussed a number of programs, services and actvities for senior citizens at the meeting, all which have the goal of improving safety and well-being of local senior citizens. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

MARQUETTE — TRIAD, a partnership between the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and local law enforcement agencies, has been working hard to spread the word about services and programs that can help improve safety for local seniors.

“I think we have an opportunity as a group together (of) law enforcement and RSVP volunteers, we have an opportunity to showcase a lot things to help seniors,” said Rich Johnson, chairman of the TRIAD board.

As covered in the May 3 Boomers’s article, TRIAD works to reach senior citizens with tools that improve their quality of life, safety and well-being. TRIAD also aims to reduce criminal victimization of the elderly while enhancing the delivery of law enforcement to senior citizens in Marquette County.

The group, which consists of RSVP volunteers and local law enforcement members, meets regularly to discuss programming, events and areas of concern for seniors in the community.

At the May 2 TRIAD meeting, the recent National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Smart911 and spreading the word about local programs and services for seniors were all topics up for discussion.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which took place in April, encourages people to anonymously surrender unwanted, unused or expired prescription pills by dropping them off at a Michigan State Police post or participating local law enforcement agency, with the aim of reducing number of expired, unused and unwanted prescription pills that are kept in medicine cabinets.

Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt commented that the recent National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was successful locally, with many pounds of unneeded prescriptions turned over to law enforcement agencies.

Johnson says safely disposing of unneeded medication is particularly important for seniors and caregivers, especially if there are others who can access the medicine cabinet — even though National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has passed, prescription medication can be anonymously surrendered at any Michigan State Police post from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Marquette County Central Dispatch’s new Smart911 service was also a topic for discussion at the meeting, as TRIAD is working to spread the word about the service to seniors.

Smart911 can help emergency responders and dispatchers aid callers in a quicker and more efficient way, as it a allows individuals to create a safety profile online and enter information that they want emergency responders to know immediately, such as allergies, disabilities, phone numbers, addresses or vehicle details.

“You can put information that the dispatcher will get, who lives in the house, any medical condition they might have, you can put information about your pets,” said Undersheriff Dan Willey of the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office.

Willey said the service is particularly helpful for cell phone users, as people can put their home and cell phone numbers on their Smart911 profile, which means that the information a person has entered into their profile will be available to dispatchers if a call is made from a cell phone or landline associated with the profile.

“All of your information (comes up), instead of just getting an anonymous cell phone with your name, your information will pop up, where your home address is, emergency contacts, all kinds of things that will help the dispatchers get you aid,” Willey said.

Smart911 works throughout the entire Upper Peninsula and Smart911-equipped dispatch centers across the nation, which TRIAD members noted can be helpful for snowbirds and those who travel frequently.

“It’s good nationwide too, so if you’re on the road headed to Florida and you make a phone call, it will go to the local dispatch with all that information that you have,” Zyburt said.

TRIAD has been working to spread the word about Smart911 and other services to seniors throughout the area by offering presentations at area senior centers.

The group enjoys visiting senior centers across the county and is happy to travel to senior centers to offer presentations, programming and education, Johnson said, noting that he encourages any interested senior centers to reach out to TRIAD, especially if they have a particular safety issue they’d like to discuss with the group.

The group is also working to increase awareness of legal services available for seniors locally.

Johnson said Legal Services of Northern Michigan can provide a range of legal services for people who are 60 years of age or older and/or meet federal poverty guidelines.

According to Legal Services of Northern Michigan’s website, they can provide legal representation in civil law areas such as: elder law; healthcare; application, denial or appeal of public benefits such as Food Stamps, Supplementary Security Income, State Disability and Medicaid; consumer issues, such as unfair or deceptive sales practices, debts, repossessions and unlawful debt collection; housing and domestic relations.

To contact Legal Services of Northern Michigan in the Marquette area, call 906-228-5620. For more information on services and other locations, visit http://www.lsnm.org/.

For more information on TRIAD or RSVP, which seeks to find retirees volunteer positions at nonprofit and health institutions in Marquette County for retirees, with the goal of providing positive volunteering experiences, call 906-315-2658 or 906-315-2607, or visit http://www.co. marquette.mi.us/departments/aging_services/rsvp_(retired_senior_volunteer_program).php#.WvMEKoVhtmo.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.