Volunteer programs and addressing the concerns and safety of elderly Londonderry residents were the main topics of discussion during the Senior Resources Committee’s latest meeting on December 19.
The committee’s meeting started off with a special guest visit from Lisa Fitzgerald, head of the Londonderry YMCA. Fitzgerald stopped by during the meeting to discuss the results of their latest community forum held at the YMCA a couple of weeks prior. Around sixty people, mainly community leaders, were in attendance, and although the goal of the forum was to focus on members of the community of all ages, strides were made to figure out how to get seniors involved with the organization.
More specifically, the potential for a foster grandparent program, where volunteers fifty five or older serve as role models, tutors and caretakers for children and teenagers with varying needs, was discussed as a possibility in the future. The committee applauded the idea and how simple it would be to establish such a program.
“(The program) would certainly not involve a lot of space or resources,” Committee Chair Bonnie Roberts noted.
Several members of the committee, including Vice Chair Susan Haussler, also thanked Fitzgerald for her teen-oriented programs helping Londonderry youths make more productive use of their free time.
The committee also continued discussion on the possibility of starting their own Reassurance Program for Londonderry seniors, which would help to keep tabs on mostly homebound residents, routinely checking on their welfare. Roberts suggested that the group continue to analyze other similar programs, including the Londonderry Police Department’s program, to come up with more ideas of their own.
Finally, members of the committee brought up the AARP’s volunteer programs. In the same vein as the foster grandparent program, these volunteer programs would cover a wide assortment of possibilities for seniors to consider, including a driver safety program, a program fraud prevention education program, and a senior leadership program.
Referring back to the leadership program, Committee Secretary Dolores Stoklosa felt that it may be a smart idea for members of both the committee and the community to get involved with a group such as this, as it would allow them the chance to gain a better understanding of the legislative process and noted that they may be able to present bills that would aid seniors at the state level.
“There’s opportunities for us to use these groups as a resource,” Stoklosa stated.