Crime Prevention Corner - Take time to reach out to seniors who may be feeling isolated

Ron Craig, Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer

        While many of us are staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can affect seniors more than any other segment of the population because of feelings of loneliness.
        This is especially true of seniors who are widowed or for other reasons are living alone. Since my chief directed me to work from home in mid-March, I have been calling members of our township’s four Neighborhood Watch groups on a nearly daily basis.
        That call list has mushroomed to include others who have themselves requested or had friends or relatives request they be added to the list. I have prioritized the call list so that I more frequently contact seniors who live by themselves. Most of the conversations start out with my asking if they have enough groceries to get them by or have any other needs which require immediate attention. I have had several churches in the township inform me they may be able to assist others in a time of need, and for that I thank them.
        I have also been fortunate to have been able to help some Neighborhood Watch members and residents of the township by taking them gasoline for a vehicle to get to an out-of-town doctor’s appointment or getting them needed groceries. I have been able to do these things without making personal contact so as not to violate social distancing guidelines we have all been asked to maintain.
        The most important parts of these conversations have come when we just converse. I feel the frustration some of these folks are enduring as they tell me of the “cabin fever” they have developed.
        While some of these phone calls last only a short time, many have lasted up to half an hour. I don’t cut anyone short, however, as I feel if the conversation takes that long, it’s because they need it. And as anyone who knows me can tell you, I like to talk, too.
        It is my hope these conversations have helped in some way to alleviate the feelings of isolation some of these folks are experiencing. I know the conversations take up only small parts of the peoples’ days, but the non-contact socialization seems to be doing some good.
        It doesn’t take a community policing officer to do what I am doing. We all know others who are feeling isolated during the stay-at-home order we are under, not all of whom are seniors. Take a few minutes to call someone else to check on them and to have a meaningful conversation.
        There are also uplifting activities seniors can take part in while practicing social distancing. One senior residential complex in Lake Township has picked a certain day at a certain time when many of the residents go outside and wave at one another. Some of those residents have told me how good it feels to do this, and that they look forward to it each week.
        If you would like to be added to the call list, or if you know of someone who might benefit from being added to it, just call me at 419-481-6354.
        This article is a public service from the Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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