Life-saving service gives “peace of mind”
Althoughthe Pair Program has been operating in this region for many years, it is a service that could be of benefit to a lot more people, especially in the Stanstead area.
The Pair Program is a free, automatic telephone service for people fifty-five and older living alone, senior couples if one of the couple is not able to use a telephone for whatever reason, or a younger person suffering from a condition such as diabetes or recovering from an accident. “People who register with the program will get one or more automatic phone calls every day, at the time of their choosing, to make sure they are OK. It depends on the person and their needs; there’s no limit. They can also get phone calls to remind them to take their medications,” explained Paul Tear, the Community Officer with the Regie de Police de Memphremagog, who is in charge of the local Pair Program. “We’re very flexible and it’s free.”
A subscriber to the Pair Program must first decide how many times a day they want to be called by the service and when. If the person does not answer the automatic call, the service tries again in ten minutes, and again ten minutes later. If there is still no answer, the service will contact designated neighbours of the subscriber’s choosing, who have a spare key to the home, to go and check on the person. If the neighbours can’t be reached right away, the service will send the police to the subscriber’s home. “Once a lady went into a diabetic come and the Pair Program probably saved her life,” said Mr. Tear.
“The only thing we ask of our subscribers is that if they are not going to be home at the time of their calls, to let us know to avoid any false alarms. But there aren’t any fees for false alarms,” mentioned Mr. Tear.
Dorothy Gillick registered herself with the Pair Program after hearing a presentation by Paul Tear at the Ayer’s Cliff Fifty Plus Club, of which she is the president. “Now I get a call at 7:00 every morning. I use it as my alarm clock,” commented Mrs. Gillick who has been using the service since January. “But you can get more than one call a day if you want. The service is reliable and it’s free. You don’t get many things for free anymore,” she added.
Because there were only about fifty subscribers to this useful program last year, it was re-launched last November with a new spokesperson, famous Quebec singer, Michel Louvain. “After we re-launched the service we got about twenty-five new members. There’s
Officer Paul Tear (left), who heads up the local Pair Program, with the program’s spokesperson, famous crooner Michel Louvain.