For 20 years, the St. Charles Parish TRIAD has pushed forward with the goal of reducing crime against senior citizens. TRIAD was born from a national concept that sees sheriffs, police chiefs and senior citizens join together to find ways to provide services to the elderly, including pre and post victimization assistance, largely by supplying resources and amplifying communication to shield seniors from the dangers of crime.
One way these plans are created is through a local advisory panel called Seniors and Lawmen Working Together in which law enforcement personnel and senior citizens exchange ideas and brainstorm solutions to reduce the criminal victimization of the elderly. TRIAD members meet multiple times a year to discuss measures that go toward meeting that goal.
TRIAD offers a senior citizens self-defense class where seniors can learn how to verbally and physically defend themselves.
Another effective measure has been its “Adopt a Senior” program in which an officer meets with eligible senior citizens on a regular basis to provide reassurance of safety and keep an open line of communication. The officer assists his or her senior with their questions or concerns. For example, if a senior doesn’t answer a call from their officer, the latter would likely go to their home to check on them. The program is intended to supplement care already being provided by other persons or agencies.
Deputies will make arrangements to call on his or her adoptee on a regular basis. During each visit or phone call, special attention will be paid to the seniors’ needs. In the event that additional help is required, TRIAD will be notified.
While curtailing crime is a central goal, teaching general safety measures is also something TRIAD accounts for. Its drug disposal program reinforces the safe use and disposal of expired and unused medications of all types.
TRIAD’s File of Life sees senior citizens given a card, free of charge, designed to hang from a senior’s refrigerator. It contains a resident’s complete medical history, including medications he or she may currently be taking.
The idea behind the practice is that in the event of an emergency, having instant access to that medical history could save time and be the difference between life and death. Knowing a woman is a diabetic, for example, would inform the paramedic on scene that the patient’s sugar level needs checking.
TRIAD also maintains several outreach programs. The nonprofit organization has been supported by United Way of St. Charles funding since 2002, allowing the group to expand the services offered to the community.