Troy AARP works to improve
Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 7, 2000
safety of residents
By BETH LAKEY
May 6, 2000 9 PM
Some lives just may have been saved on Friday.
Members of Troy’s chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons put safety equipment in homes of aging neighbors as part of Independent Living Week.
Along with Troy fireman Patrick Lucas, the group stopped at 15 homes to check smoke detectors and distribute sensor night lights and handle grips.
What they found in some homes where these elderly women were living was disturbing because some of the smoke detectors weren’t working properly and four homes didn’t even have an alarm. The Troy Fire Department checked smoke alarms in the homes and replaced batteries, when necessary. In those homes where the smoke detectors weren’t working or weren’t installed, AARP will purchase new ones, which will be installed by the fire department.
"We could have saved a life," Bill Ingram, AARP chapter specialist, said of checking the smoke detectors to find malfunctions.
Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford recently gave the project his approval by signing a proclamation declaring May 1-7 AARP Independent Living Week in Troy.
"If each of us in Troy agrees to do one simple project to help an aging family member of neighbor, think of the impact we can have on their lives," Lunsford said.
He said he would like to see students, churches, civic organizations and businesses get involved in this effort with AARP.
"AARP Independent Living Week gives local AARP volunteers like me an opportunity to raise public awareness about how easy it can be to help an aging parent or neighbor stay in their homes," said Mary Holland, president of the local AARP chapter.
"We hope Troy will follow the mayor’s suggestion and learn about how easy and inexpensive it can be to make a home fit someone’s changing vision or mobility needs."
A recent AARP housing survey showed 83 percent of all older Americans want to remain in their homes as they age.
By participating in simple home improvement projects like the one AARP is doing, accidents and injuries to parents, grandparents and older friends can be prevented.
"It’s a good thing and I hope, in time, we can get it into more communities,"
AARP district coordinator Pauline Lane Cobb said the visits are really two-fold.
"It makes people happy," Cobb said of the visits to elderly citizens, who are often alone.
Troy’s Independent Living Week visits were co-sponsored by First Missionary Baptist Church and Bethel Baptist Church.