A new program is being developed through the Macon County Sheriff’s Office that is geared to assist our area’s growing senior citizens population.
The program, entitled SCAN, or Senior Citizens Awareness Network, is being implemented with the help of the Macon County Three Star Committee and committee member Brenda Hiett.
According to Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons, the SCAN program will require local volunteers with a desire and love for senior citizens.
“Our office is initiating the SCAN Program as an umbrella program under the sheriff’s department. A program director along with four or five other volunteers will wear uniforms that will differ from those worn by deputies, but will still represent the sheriff’s department.”
These volunteers will travel to the homes of senior citizens who need assistance in a vehicle provided by the MCSD. The vehicle will include a yellow light bar on the roof and the SCAN logo on the side.
“These volunteers will go through a background check just like all officers and will have policies and procedures to follow,” said the sheriff.
The program will work like this - Macon County citizens will be able to contact the sheriff’s department regarding any senior citizen (age 55+) they believe is being neglected or needs assistance and a volunteer will perform an at-home check to make sure they have the things they need. Depending on what the individual needs, funds from the program’s account may then be used to purchase groceries, fans, etc.
“We’ve witnessed over the last several years, seniors being taken advantage off,” the sheriff remarked. “People are coming into their homes and stealing their prescription medication as well as bank account scams. Some seniors aren't able to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Others may not have the food they need. Senior citizens are known to be a proud population, who may not want to ask for the help they need, and this program allows them to receive help without having to ask for it.”
Sheriff Gammons says the program will require the support of Macon County residents, businesses and community leaders in order to be successful.
“Public service organizations such as the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, have continued to recognize that our older citizens represent both valuable community resources and unique constituents with very specific needs,” he stated. “The SCAN Program will strive to provide an opportunity for citizens to become involved in public service while helping to meet the needs of a growing population.”
Sheriff Gammons added that the senior population is estimated to double between now and 2030 and as the senior population grows in record numbers, so do the issues related to their needs.
“Many seniors are isolated, lonely, at-risk and/or financially challenged,” the sheriff said. “The challenge to address these needs in our community falls on us at the Macon County Sheriff’s Department and on the citizens of Macon County.”
A grant received through the Macon County Three Star Committee has allowed the funds needed to start the SCAN program up by purchasing uniforms and tube vehicle light bar and logo, but additional funding will be required to continue it and allow it to grow.
“As the program grows, we will need more volunteers and donations,” the sheriff said. “Clothing and food drives hosted by local clubs and organizations will also benefit the program. With assistance from the community to help fund this program, I believe it can be a great success for our seniors.”