By NATALIE MILLER
When caring for the people of Hanover County, local law enforcement ensures to care for the area’s growing aging population. Hanover County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), the Ashland Police Department (APD), local AARP chapters, various government departments and human services agencies make up TRIAD, a program whose aim is to reduce crimes against seniors.
Hanover County Triad works closely with Hanover’s senior programs to distribute this information to area seniors.
HCSO and APD participate in the Adopt-a-Senior program in which patrol officers check in on a senior about once or twice a month. According to APD Sergeant Marie Kemp, an officer may be assigned to a senior who reaches out to the department for assistance.
The officers check that their senior has a safe living environment and proper temperature regulation. If the senior needs assistance for heat, air conditioning, or some other issue the officer can contact other local programs better suited to solve the problem.
“A lot of the folks that we reach out to, or who reach out to us, really appreciate the program,” Kemp said.
HCSO and APD participate in Project Lifesaver, which serves the elderly and vulnerable citizens who tend to wander from their homes. According to Project Lifesaver International’s website, participants may have Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, dementia, or any number of cognitive conditions.
The program’s participants wear a personal transmitter on their wrist or ankle that emits a tracking signal. This tracker helps Project Lifesaver agencies locate a client if they wander or go missing.
According to the Project Lifesaver International website, recovery time averages about 30 minutes.
Kemp said that APD assists families in transmitter battery or band changes.
“It’s important for us to take care of our community as a whole, and we can’t forget the elderly community,” Kemp said. “We want them to feel save and that we’re here for them and that we can provide the resources they need.”
Hanover AARP chapter president Apphia Downing says programs like TRIAD keep seniors safe and bring their needs to the community’s attention.
“Sometimes we can feel like we’re left behind,” Downing said. “We just really need as much help as we can get and still make us feel independent.”
At their May meeting, the Hanover AARP chapter hosted over 30 veterans.
“We went away feeling that we learned and benefitted from the veterans probably more than they did from us,” Downing said.
According to Downing several other programs and organizations in Hanover advocate for and assist seniors. The Hanover Council on Aging is one such body advocating for senior’s rights. The council meets monthly to discuss issues and programs in the county, and consult other county boards and agencies.
Senior Connections, the Capital Area Agency on Aging, is a non-profit organization that offers programs to assist seniors. The Information and Assistance program receives about 25,000 phone calls from seniors and caregivers seeking resources.
“They can point them in the direction they need, and that’s a big thing,” Downing said.
More information on TRIAD’s services and how to get connected with resources is available on HCSO’s website.