Marion Sheriff announces expansion of Senior Watch program

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is expanding their Senior Watch program that has been active in the Village of Prospect for several months now, according the Sheriff Tim Bailey. The program will now be expanded to the whole county so that Marion County’s elderly and special needs population can be better protected.

A deputy sheriff checks in on those enrolled in Senior Watch on a regular basis to make sure that they are safe and are taking care of themselves. Beyond the safety aspect, visits are important because for some seniors this is the only regular interaction they have with other people. Bailey explained that a visit can help the senior stay connected, feel less lonely and can help ward off any depression, social isolation or stress.

Senior Watch visits can also help prevent elder abuse or self-neglect, in the case they are having trouble caring for themselves, whether the issue is declining cognition, health or mobility. Lastly, visits are a chance to check up on their happiness and health, and make sure nothing has changed to cause a concern since the last visit.

Bailey said that many seniors manage just fine without any outside assistance due to not having underlying health issues or by having strong family support. However, he said, many seniors and those with special needs live alone with little to no assistance. Some struggle with day-to-day activities, managing medications or simply not having regular contact with other people who can check on their health and welfare.

“As Sheriff of Marion County I am committed to the safety and welfare of all of our citizens,” stated Bailey. “It is my hope that if a senior citizen in Marion County has no family or caregiver available that they have the resources available to insure that they are safe and their basic needs are met.”

A prospective senior, neighbor, or a family member can fill out an application for someone in need, but the senior has to want to participate and welcome the visits. The application asks for pertinent information and special needs the client might have. Once the application is forwarded to the sheriff’s office, it will be entered in a database and a visitation schedule will be set up. Social service agencies may also be contacted if a client has a special need not being met.

The Senior Watch application and pamphlet are available by going to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office website and clicking on the “Senior Watch” tab. Applications and pamphlets will also be available in the villages, senior centers and other government offices around the county.

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