Se­nior safety co-or­di­na­tor role ex­pand­ing as needs grow

The Casket - - Local - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­mac@the­cas­ket.ca

Se­nior safety co-or­di­na­tor Anita Stew­art is see­ing the scope of her work change.

Hired for the po­si­tion, which falls un­der the Antigo­nish Town and County Crime Preven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion um­brella, last March, Stew­art said her job is be­com­ing more “far-reach­ing and ex­pand­ing as our pop­u­la­tion ages and peo­ple are faced with more and more chal­lenges.”

“There are bar­ri­ers to health­care as some peo­ple do not have a fam­ily doc­tor,” she said, in a pre­pared let­ter.

“There are wait lists to re­ceive home­care for es­sen­tial ser­vices, as well as wait lists to be placed in long term care fa­cil­i­ties.”

She talked about the na­ture of phone calls she is re­ceiv­ing.

“(They) can range from a se­nior look­ing for a pro­gram about fraud and scam aware­ness to a fam­ily mem­ber, liv­ing out of prov­ince, look­ing for help for an el­derly par­ent who lives alone and has se­vere de­men­tia due to Alzheimer’s. I also re­ceive calls re­gard­ing men­tal health is­sues and con­cerns about wait times from peo­ple in­quir­ing for loved ones or them­selves.”

Stew­art said she wel­comes the calls and the op­por­tu­nity to ad­vo­cate on be­half of a se­nior who is be­ing given a run-around or just be­com­ing tired of an on­go­ing bat­tle.

“When I was hired, I was told I would be a con­duit; call this per­son, that per­son, but, more and more, I’m that per­son,” she said. “Be­cause they (se­niors) don’t want to fight any more; they want me to be their voice.

“No longer is it enough to pass along in­for­ma­tion to peo­ple, there seems to be an in­creas­ing need to go one step fur­ther and be that voice or find some­one will­ing to take on that risk.”

Stew­art added fa­cil­i­tat­ing and or­ga­niz­ing work­shops, pro­grams and ed­u­ca­tional ses­sions, on a wide range of top­ics, is still a big part of her work. The topic list in­cludes; fire safety and preven­tion, le­gal in­for­ma­tion ses­sions per­tain­ing to wills and es­tate plan­ning, fi­nan­cial well­ness, falls preven­tion, fraud and scam aware­ness, the driv­ers’ re­fresher course Op­er­a­tion Boomers, and a home warm­ing pro­gram.

“To name a few,” Stew­art said of the list. “I part­ner with other or­ga­ni­za­tions and peo­ple to bring th­ese pro­grams to our com­mu­nity. My goal is to reach more ru­ral ar­eas and pro­vide pro­gram­ming in the com­mu­ni­ties where se­niors live.”

She talked about a cou­ple of ses­sions she re­cently par­tic­i­pated in where she part­nered with the Antigo­nish Women’s Re­source Cen­tre for a pre­sen­ta­tion in St. An­drews and Antigo­nish RCMP com­mu­nity polic­ing of­fi­cer, Cst. Morgan Macpher­son, for one in Auld’s Cove.

“Peo­ple are en­joy­ing hav­ing th­ese pro­grams of­fered in their lo­cal com­mu­nity cen­tre or fire hall,” Stew­art said. “It also en­cour­ages a greater turnout since peo­ple are not hav­ing to travel too far to re­ceive valu­able in­for­ma­tion.”

To con­tact Stew­art, call 902-318-0372 or email se­nior­safe­ty­coor@gmail.com.

No longer is it enough to pass along in­for­ma­tion to peo­ple, there seems to be an in­creas­ing need to go one step fur­ther and be that voice or find some­one will­ing to take on that risk.”

Anita Stew­art .....................................................

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Anita Stew­art is the Antigo­nish Town and County Crime Preven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion’s se­nior safety co-or­di­na­tor. Stew­art sees her job tak­ing on more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

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