Greene County Sheriff Peter Kusminsky has announced plans to develop a county-wide call-in program for senior citizens.
The program has existed in the town of Windham for over 30 years, Kusminsky said. Two senior citizens in Windham are currently using the program.
“I think it’s a very good program,” Windham Town Supervisor Thomas Hoyt said. “If we have something that can work for the rest of the county, they can use [our program] as a template.”
Senior citizens enrolled in the program will are required to call in to the sheriff’s office by 10 a.m. each day. The sheriff’s office will have a dedicated line for this program, Kusminsky said. If the citizen does not make the call, the sheriff’s office will attempt to contact the resident first by phone and if the resident cannot be reached, a deputy will be dispatched to the residence for a welfare check, Kusminsky said.
“Greene County has several elderly people who reside alone and may be homebound with little to no regular daily contact,” Kusminsky said.
Kusminsky is still working out the eligibility details, he said, adding that the program will likely extend to individuals with disabilities who live alone, even if they are not elderly.
Population demographics in Greene and Columbia counties skew statistically older than other areas, according to Pattern for Progress’ “Out of Alignment,” a year-long study funded by Central Hudson.
In Columbia and Greene, more than 40 percent of the population will be age 55 and older by 2030. By 2030 almost 25% of Columbia County residents will be age 70 or older, according to the study.
Hudson has a similar program, called the Elderly Call-In Program, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said.
Family members can fill out a form to have their loved one checked on once a day, Moore said.
About a dozen seniors are registered to use the program, Moore said, adding that enrollment peaks at about 24.
Kusminsky expects the Greene County program to be finalized next month, he said.
In addition to being featured on the Greene County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page and the county website, greenegovernment.com, the Department for the Aging will include the announcement in its newsletter, Kusminsky said. Circulation for the newsletter is about 1,800 seniors. To enroll, seniors will fill out the accompanying registration form, Kusminsky said.
In addition to the senior citizen call-in program, the sheriff’s office has been working on updating all of its policies and procedures since Kusminsky took office in January, collaborating with community resources on the opioid crisis, and will be giving monthly updates at the Greene County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee meetings each month, Kusminsky said.