Though she is homebound and losing her sight, Elizabeth Taylor doesn't worry too much about living alone.
Her sense of safety comes from knowing her neighbor will check on her and that she is part of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office senior citizens watch program.
The program, which presently helps approximately 10 people, was created six months ago to keep in touch with elderly residents who live alone and would like assistance, Capt. Jim March said.
Every weekday morning, the people on the list receive a call in which a recording asks them to push a button on their touch-tone phone that will tell the system whether the person is OK or in need of assistance.
"We haven't had anyone be injured, but it's good to have someone to be able to check on you," Capt. March said. "We just thought that would be useful for a lot of people from the community."
If after a short period of time no button is pushed, Capt. March said, the system calls the emergency contact number for that person.
"My neighbor and I are the backup for each other," Taylor said. "We look out for each other."
If the emergency contact isn't available, the system calls an emergency dispatcher, who then sends a deputy to the residence.
Taylor said she has yet to need assistance from the system, but said it is very comforting to know that the department cares enough about county senior citizens to have such a program available.
"They won't let me drive anymore, so this is a great help," Taylor said. "It's been very helpful for me and I appreciate it a lot."
Capt. March said residents such as Taylor are exactly who the department would like to help. He said many senior citizens in the county live alone but are very active and don't need checking.
Anyone interested in joining the program can call the community services division at 541-4027.
"All they have to do is contact us, and we'll put them in the system."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.